16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Ultranationalist Ergenekon suspect is of Armenian origin, magazine reveals

16 June 2009, Tuesday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
Retired Gen. Veli Küçük, who is known for his ultranationalist statements, has Armenian roots, the biography magazine Chronicle has revealed.

In its June edition, the magazine covered the biography of Küçük, one of the prime suspects in the case against Ergenekon, a shadowy crime network that has alleged links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government. In an article titled “Küçükoğulları and Veli Küçük,” the magazine noted that the village where Küçük was born, the village of Türkmen in the western province of Bilecik, was an Armenian settlement, contrary to what is generally believed.

Küçük, who was born in Türkmen on May 9, 1944, was the son of a farmer who had four children. He was named after his brother, who died when he was a baby.

Referring to records from the Ottoman Empire, the magazine said 85 percent of the residents in the village were of Armenian origin, but no Armenians reside in the village today.

Examining the tax records of Armenian families in the village, the magazine analyzed Küçük's ethnic roots. The tax records show that Artin from the Küçükoğulları family paid a tax of Kr 30; Minas from the same family also paid Kr 30. It is not known today what happened to the Küçükoğulları family or the Armenian residents of Türkmen. There are no documents showing that they left the village during the Armenian deportation in 1915. After the adoption of the surname law following the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, some village residents adopted the surname “Küçük,” the magazine revealed. Veli Küçük speaks Armenian fluently, the magazine noted.

Küçük is currently in prison on charges of being a leader of Ergenekon. Küçük is also believed to be the founder of JİTEM, a clandestine and illegal intelligence group inside the gendarmerie that is believed to have carried out hundreds of unofficial and highly criminal operations against targets that were deemed by JİTEM leaders as a threat to Turkey's national interests for one reason or another.

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