Ergenekon is a clandestine network of individuals that appear to be nested within the state hierarchy, some of whose members are currently on trial for multiple counts of murder and causing public disorder, that ultimately aimed to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.
The first investigation into the organization was launched on June 12, 2007, when 27 hand grenades were seized from a house in İstanbul's Ümraniye district belonging to Oktay Yıldırım, a retired noncommissioned army officer currently under arrest in relation to the case. However, the name of “Ergenekon” came to light after retired Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük was detained in January 2008. Some documents regarding the structure of the organization were seized from Küçük's house during police raids. The initial hearing in the first Ergenekon case started at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court on Oct. 28, 2008. The first probe was then followed by the second and third investigations into the organization in 2009, when the court merged three cases into one main case. Apart from the three main Ergenekon cases, there were also 16 other Ergenekon-related cases conducted separately, such as the cases into the 2006 murder of a Council of State judge, the Action Plan Against Reactionaryism and an anti-government Internet campaign. The court had ruled out merging all these individual cases within the main Ergenekon case on various occasions since 2009.
One detail regarding the merging rules of the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court stands out. The court merged the cases into the second Ergenekon case instead of merging them into the first one. However, the normal procedure is to merge related cases upwards according to file number: The case with the earliest file number absorbs the later cases. However, the court merged later indictments into the second Ergenekon file rather than simply merging them all into the first, which raises the suggestion that the intention of the court is to put the spotlight onto the second case file, making it the key file in the case.
The main suspects in the second Ergenekon case were retired Gen. Şener Eruygur and retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon, who face charges of being senior members of Ergenekon, encouraging military personnel to disobey orders, acquiring sensitive and classified information concerning state security, damaging military documents, possession of firearms and ammunition, attempting to destroy Parliament and attempting to prevent it from performing its duties, inciting revolt against the government of the Republic of Turkey, attempting to destroy the government of the Republic of Turkey and attempting to prevent it from performing its duties as well as violating the privacy of individuals.
The court has combined all the Ergenekon cases and 16 other indictments together on the basis that there are many links and parallels between the cases and that the suspects may be connected to each other.
One main case to give results in shorter time
With the cases now merged, the judges will have a chance to assess all Ergenekon cases together and to see the overall structure of the terrorist organization as well as the links and relations within it. The prosecutors will prepare only one closing statement regarding the Ergenekon case suspects for delivery to the court. The court will not have to operate separately for each case, which will save time in the judiciary process, meaning the final ruling of the court will come more quickly. After the statement of the prosecutors, the court will hear the testimonies of all 256 Ergenekon case suspects and deliver its final ruling. After the court's final ruling, the Supreme Court of Appeals will have the chance to assess all evidence in a sole file which will ease the decision-making process. Taking all these points into consideration, the court made a good decision to merge all these related indictments and cases into one main case.