Secret witness sheds light on murky corridors within state

The Ergenekon investigation began after police found a cache of hand grenades in the summer of 2007.

August 22, 2009, Saturday/ 17:00:00
A witness who testified as part of the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization charged with various attacks and plotting to overthrow the government, has shared details of what he calls a “secret organization” within the state.

His testimony is included in the new evidence folders that are part of the third indictment against the organization. The evidence the prosecution has compiled in 184 files was shared with the suspects' attorneys for the first time on Thursday.

The testimony of a witness codenamed Anadolu -- a former member of the group who testified under Turkey's partial amnesty laws -- was also included in the evidence folders. Anadolu's real identity is being withheld due to security concerns and in accordance with the legislation in force.

In his testimony, Anadolu said, “I wanted to share, as needed by my conscience, some of the events I have lived in the past and witnessed in jail to help bring about justice.” In his testimony, he said he overheard two Ergenekon suspects -- Mehmet Demirtaş and Oktay Yıldırım -- worrying out loud that the police might figure out that hand grenades used in a 2005 attack belonged to them.

He also said in his testimony a brigade commander named Reha Taşkesen in Kayseri in 2004 told him about a concept called the “deep state.”  Taşkesen told Anadolu about a secret organizational structure embedded in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and organized together with civilians. He said military officers were heading this formation and that some civil society organizations and bureaucrats were part of it and that they were planning to overthrow the government via a military coup d'état because they were not pleased with the government's actions. “After this, I made some research on the deep state and gave some speeches at various panels,” Anadolu said.

The Ergenekon investigation began after police found a cache of hand grenades in the summer of 2007.

He also said this information was confirmed by former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu, who said that there was a secret structure inside the military since 1996. Kıvrıkıoğlu also told Anadolu that an organization calling itself Encümen-i Daniş (Consultation Council), whose members frequently came together in İstanbul's Moda district, where they had meetings and made certain decisions. Anadolu also said that according to Kıvrıkıoğlu, the decisions of this group were secretly submitted to the National Security Council (MGK) and higher bureaucrats in the capital. He said he met with Kıvrıkoğlu at the Fenerbahçe Orduevi, a dining facility for military members, in 2005.  “I had gone there on some other business, but he told me about these when we stopped talking about some of the articles I had written. He said there were higher ranking commanders, former chiefs of general staff and İsmail Hakkı Karadayı [also a former army chief], former bureaucrats as high as the ministerial level were part of Encümen-i Daniş. This might have been in June of that year,” Anadolu said.

Anadolu also said that in a meeting with former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hurşit Tolon in 2006 at the Ankara Central Orduevi, Tolon also stated that there was a clandestine formation inside the TSK, supported by civil organizations. Anadolu said he was given this information during a visit to Tolon asking for his help regarding a problem Anadolu was having in university. Anadolu said Tolon named the Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD), the Contemporary Education Foundation (ÇEV) and the Support for Modern Life Association (ÇYDD) as organizations acting together with this formation. “He had told me that they were planning massive rallies with these organizations to apply serious pressure on the government ahead of the presidential elections. This meeting we had in mid-February 2006. He said he first joined the Türkiyem [My Turkey] Association but had gotten out and had formed another neo-nationalist organization at the time. He said the organization he was establishing in Ankara was carrying out activities that would create the right milieu for a military intervention and make such an intervention legitimate. He also told me that the best time for such actions was the time of the presidential election,” Anadolu said.

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