The report was recently forwarded to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which is currently hearing the trial of Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal organization accused of plotting to overthrow the government. The court is examining whether the brigade could be working for Ergenekon.
The brigade is believed to be behind a number of assassinations and unsolved murders. The group sent threatening e-mails to a number of intellectuals who signed a criminal complaint against Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ in October. The e-mails stated that the intellectuals had been included on the group’s “to-be-destroyed list.”
According to the MİT report, the brigade is a covert organization used by ultranationalist to intimidate leftists in Turkey. The report pointed to the testimony of a number of nationalists who testified after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup that the group did not exist and the name of the organization was used by ultranationalists as a “motto.” The MİT report also suggested that the illegal group had no organizational structure.
Voice recording that launched the Ergenekon investigation made public
The recording of a tip-off call to the police that started a raid on a shanty house in İstanbul’s Ümraniye district in June 2007 and which culminated into the ever-expanding Ergenekon investigation has been finally made public.
The voice recording features a conversation between Şevki Yiğit -- the father of Ali Yiğit, one of the suspects in the Ergenekon trial -- and a gendarmerie officer. In the recording, Şevki Yiğit gives the address of a building in Ümraniye’s Çakmak neighborhood, saying there are C-4 explosives and hand grenades in the house.
The conversation is as follows:
Şevki Yiğit: I would like to provide information on a potential crime in İstanbul. There are hand grenades and C4 explosives at a building on the corner of Mithatpaşa Street and Samanyolu Street.
Officer: Sir, have you seen these yourself?
Ş.Y: Yes, I have.
Officer: When was this?
Ş.Y: Ten days ago.
Officer: Who does this building belong to?
Ş.Y: It belongs to Mehmet Demirtaş and a noncommissioned officer who was the superior of Mehmet Demirtaş in the military.
Officer: Do you know who uses the building at this time? Does anybody live there?
Ş.Y: Currently, nobody lives there. Mehmet Demirtaş and the NCO use this place.
Officer: Do you have any information on why they might be hiding these bombs there?
Ş.Y: Well, I don’t really know. I’m just calling you as a concerned citizen.
Officer: I understand. Where are the bombs inside the building?
Ş.Y: At the bottom of the electric pole on the roof. (Officer heard repeating these out loud as he apparently notes down the information).
Ş.Yiğit: I’m giving you the exact address. It is the one-storey building across from the muhtar’s office in the Çakmak neighborhood.
Officer: Do you remember the color of the building?
Ş.Yiğit: Well, not the color but there is something like a kiosk in front of it.
Şevki Yiğit hangs up as the officer notes this information down. İstanbul, Today’s Zaman
The brigade claimed responsibility for an armed attack in 1998 on Akın Birdal, who was president of the Human Rights Association (İHD) at the time. Birdal is now a pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy. The politician was severely wounded in the attack. The armed group was also allegedly behind a bombing at Diyarbakır’s Koşuyolu Park in 2006 that left 10 dead.
A notice sent to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court by the Security General Directorate on Dec. 16, 2009 stated that some illegal groups were believed to have used the pseudonym “TİT” for their acts before 1980. One of the most common criminal acts the groups carried out was to send threatening letters to individuals. “Cengiz Ayhan, who was captured in 1979 in [southern] Mersin on suspicion of leading the TİT, denied the claims and argued that he was blamed for leading the group due to his fight against leftist groups in Turkey,” the notice read.
The Security General Directorate also listed around 40 illegal activities in which the alleged members of the brigade were believed to have been involved.
Two of its members were later convicted for the crimes they committed. Among those acts were an assassination attempt against Birdal and gun shots fired at the Democratic Society Party (DTP) building in 2007.
Gendarmerie: Brigade behind acts of violence in recent past
The Gendarmerie General Command also sent a report to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court in which it stressed that the group was believed to have been behind a number of acts of violence that shook Turkey in the recent past.
Among those acts, the command cited the killings of 10 individuals in Diyarbakır in a bomb attack and threats against officials of the Armenian weekly Agos and members of the now-defunct DTP. “Similar signatures were seen on threatening letters sent to both Agos and DTP officials,” the report read.
The Gendarmerie General Command also stated that it had no information available about Abdullah Öcalan other than that he was the founder of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).