New evidence has emerged as the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization charged with plotting to overthrow the government, deepens. Police reports and assailant confessions have revealed that retired Gen. Veli Küçük, who is currently a key suspect in the trial of Ergenekon, ordered a hand grenade attack on the Cumhuriyet daily’s İstanbul offices in 2006 and that Alparslan Arslan and Osman Yıldırım were given the hand grenades for the attack by retired Capt. Tekin, another defendant in the Ergenekon trial, in a house rented by Recep Özkan in İstanbul’s Ataşehir district.
Today’s Zaman spoke with other residents of the Ataşehir apartment building and asked them about the flat rented by Özkan in 2006, when the meeting was held. Levent Pehlevan, a downstairs neighbor, said Özkan was having parties involving alcohol in his home with his friends, contrary to earlier claims that Özkan was a pious man. Pehlevan said Özkan used to avoid eye contact with his neighbors. The apartment supervisor, Muharrem Aslan, also said Özkan rarely spoke with his neighbors.
The Council of State shooting case was merged with the Ergenekon trial earlier this year. Yıldırım and other suspects in the Council of State shooting are also accused of directing hand grenades at the Cumhuriyet headquarters a few days before the Council of State attack. The daily was attacked three times in 2006, on May 5, 10 and 11. The attacks were followed by the Council of State shooting on May 17.
Late last year, Yıldırım, who had been convicted in the Council of State case by an Ankara court, confessed that he and Arslan, the Council of State gunman, made the decision to stage the top court attack and another hand grenade attack on the Cumhuriyet daily together with Ergenekon suspect and retired Gen. Küçük in an apartment in Ataşehir. He said the attack was perpetrated with the purpose of dragging the country into chaos.
On Feb. 11 the İstanbul 13th Criminal Court, which is hearing the Ergenekon trial, ordered a probe into Özkan’s residence. The court also ordered the police to take statements from other residents of the building. A police report prepared at the request of the court and signed by four police officers indicates that eyewitnesses in the apartment building were able to identify some of the suspects in the Council of State shooting. One of the eyewitnesses, Nadiye Önay, who resides in the building, was 90 percent sure she had seen suspect Mehmet Zekeriya Öztürk, 70 percent sure she had seen Yıldırım and 50 percent sure she had seen Gen. Küçük. Another witness, Muharrem Aslan, who works in the building, identified suspects Erhan Timuroğlu and Orhan Kadı.