According to the indictment against the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, drafted by Col. Dursun Çiçek to undermine the government and the faith-based Gülen movement, Çiçek has stated that Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ had pressured the top judiciary to have the prosecutors investigating the Ergenekon terrorist organization removed from the case.
A phone call made by Çiçek on Nov. 25, 2009 to a friend of his included in the indictment and a brief note allegedly written by him suggest Başbuğ’s involvement in efforts to hide the alleged Ergenekon gang so that those accused of plotting to overthrow the government would not be punished. “The entire General Staff is behind me,” Çiçek told his friend.
The revelations bring to mind the coverage of the liberal Taraf daily on Nov. 14 of last year, 11 days before Çiçek said the General Staff was behind him. In an article published that day, the newspaper alleged that Çiçek had lunch with six generals, including Gen. Başbuğ and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Aslan Güner as well four force commanders.
In the note, Çiçek detailed how Başbuğ intervened to have Ergenekon prosecutors changed. “I knew I was going to be arrested. We were ready for all possibilities. The General Staff was late to realize the [significance of] the Ergenekon investigation. They never calculated that it would expand that much. İ.B. is aware of everything. He is following the situation himself. The decree on judges and prosecutors is very important. Members of the top courts were spoken with. İ. Pasha talked to them himself. There may be a significant change in Ergenekon prosecutors. Contacts have been made regarding the changes within the police. Some changes have happened; they will continue,” he states in the note. The note was titled “information note Dursun Çiçek.doc” and was found on the computer of Ufuk Akkaya, another defendant listed in the indictment against the action plan.
Jurists: Probe should include Başbuğ, too
The revelations led to jurists reacting to the chief of General Staff. They say the prosecutors should expand the investigation to include Başbuğ, too. Boğaziçi Lawyers’ Association President Bilal Çalışır said what Başbuğ did is certainly a crime. “That the General Staff talked to members of the judiciary as stated in the indictment is a crime in itself. The prosecutors conducting this investigation can launch another investigation or expand the current one. The articles in the Turkish Penal Code [TCK] are crystal clear at this point,” he noted, adding that there was a connection between Başbuğ and Çiçek. “If there was no connection, they would not have protected him that much. They know if Çiçek fails, then those who gave him orders will also fail.”
Defense Lawyers’ Association member Hayel Özenç also demanded an investigation be launched into Başbuğ. “This is an obvious intervention in the judiciary. No one, regardless of who they are, can make remarks that affect the judiciary. That ‘the chief of General Staff is behind me’ remark is a crime in itself. Prosecutors can launch another investigation based on that, and a new indictment will be issued,” she said. Former Public Prosecutor Necati Özdemir joined the two in criticizing Başbuğ. He said high-ranking military officers are protected from the law, also adding that those holding power use it to protect themselves, too.