Naval forces junta planned to undermine AK Party with non-Muslim assassinations
The plan was detailed in a CD seized in the office of retired Maj. Levent Bektaş, who was arrested in April for suspected links to a large cache of munitions unearthed during excavations on land owned by the İstek Foundation in İstanbul's Poyrazköy district. That discovery came as part of the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine gang whose suspected members are currently standing trial on charges of having plotted to overthrow the government.
Police raided Bektaş's office shortly after the discovery and seized a large number of documents and CDs. A technical analysis showed that a sinister plan against the country's non-Muslim population was detailed in one of the CDs, called the “Cage Operation Action Plan.” The plan was signed by Lt. Col. Ercan Kireçtepe and was planned to be put into operation by a team of 41 members of the Naval Forces Command. The hoped-for result from the assassinations of prominent non-Muslim figures and propaganda and would be an increase in internal and external pressure on the AK Party, leading to its demise in politics, according to the plan.
A CD seized in the office of retired Maj. Levent Bektaş, an Ergenekon suspect, revealed that a junta nested within the Naval Forces Command detailed a plan, called the Cage Operation Action Plan, to assassinate prominent non-Muslim figures and put the blame for the killings on the governing AK Party
The action plan would be implemented to lend support to the suspects arrested so far as part of the Ergenekon investigation; render ineffective so-called psychological warfare waged by the AK Party and its supporters (against the military); change the course of the agenda in Turkey; boost the morale of the junta within the Naval Forces Command; and win the appreciation and support of the public. The blame for each of the assassinations by the junta would be put on the AK Party.
The plan was divided into four phases; “Preparation,” “Raising Fear,” “Shaping Public Opinion” and “Action.”
As part of the “Preparation” phase, the names and addresses of the country’s prominent non-Muslims would be determined. Then it would be ascertained to which newspapers and magazines they subscribe; which schools non-Muslims work for or send their children to; which associations or foundations they are members of; which places of worship they frequent; and where they hold their religious celebrations and rituals.
Then the action plan would jump to the second phase, which consisted of posting the subscribers of a Turkish Armenian biweekly, Agos, on a number of Web sites, especially the “reactionary” ones. The editor-in-chief of Agos, Hrant Dink, was shot dead in 2007 by an ultranationalist Turkish adolescent. Letters that included threatening messages would be sent to Agos subscribers, and they would also receive threatening phone calls. Similar messages would be written on a number of walls of buildings in the Adalar district, which is home to hundreds of non-Muslim families.
In the “Shaping Public Opinion” phase, the list of Agos subscribers would make its way into some newspapers, and fabricated reports on the list would feature in those newspapers. TV debates would focus on the reports and columnists would be urged to write columns on them. The AK Party government would be accused of ignoring the “approaching threat” to the country’s non-Muslim population in the debates. Media would recall the Sept. 6-7, 1955 incidents, a state-sponsored campaign designed to transfer capital from minority businessmen to Muslim Turks and to intimidate non-Turkish communities into leaving their homeland to clear the way for a homogeneous Turkish state. Several Web sites would be established to disseminate propaganda against the AK Party and criticize its domestic policies. The Web sites would have such names as “www.tehditaltindayiz.com” (We are under threat) and “www.agosasahipcikalim.com” (Let’s protect Agos).
In its headline story on Thursday, the Taraf daily reported on an anti-democratic formation within the Naval Forces Command seeking to damage the government by assassinating prominent non-Muslim figures in Turkey.
The most appalling phase of the plan, “Action,” would include the assassination of prominent non-Muslim figures. As part of this phase, bomb attacks would be launched in Adalar; figures who defend the rights of non-Muslims would be assassinated; percussion bombs would be planted in places close to Agos; boats carrying passengers to the Adalar district would be bombed; prominent non-Muslim businessmen and artists would be kidnapped; and their homes and offices would be set on fire. Individuals would claim responsibility for the incidents on behalf of “reactionary terrorist organizations.”
At that point, propaganda would step in, pointing to the AK Party as the cause of the incidents. The party would be accused of falling short of ensuring the security of non-Muslims in the country. The action plan defined Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an “enemy.”
The action plan called the killings of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, Catholic priest Andrea Santoro and three Christians in Malatya an “operation.” The group aimed at fomenting chaos in society with those killings, but complained that the plan failed when large groups protested the killings in mass demonstrations. “The operations created a large public outcry that non-Muslims in the country were the target of reactionary groups. But society stood by non-Muslims with a ‘We are all Armenians’ campaign. Now, we will continue the propaganda, showing that the cause behind the killings was the AK Party and reactionary organizations,” read the plan.
The plan also revealed that the anti-democratic formation within the Naval Forces Command was being led by three admirals, identified with their initials F.Ö., K.S. and M.F.İ. Retired Maj. Levent Bektaş, Lt. Col. Ercan Kireçtepe, retired Col. Levent Göktaş and Maj. Emre Onat also worked for the junta. All of them were arrested as part of the ongoing Ergenekon probe.
Among other members of the formation were sergeant majors Halil Cura, Saddetin Doğan, Feridun Arslan; Maj. Emre Sezenler; and Maj. Emre Günay. All of them were employed at the Marmara Regional Command. Other members at the same command were identified by their initials, sergeant majors D.E, T.V.A., H.D. and İ.B.
Among the members of the group at the Marmara Regional Command were Col. M.S., Col. Levent Gülmen, Maj. Erbay Çolakoğlu, Maj. A.A.S., Capt. B.A., Lt. Gen. B.Ç., Sgt. Maj. M.A., Sgt. Maj. M.A., Maj. G.Y., Capt. Ü.Ö., Capt. B.K., Sgt. Maj. D.M., Sgt. Maj. H.E., Sgt. Maj. M.I. and Sgt. Maj. A.B.
The group also had members from the Black Sea Regional Command, including Capt. I.Z.T., Capt. İ.L.O., Maj. Ö.E., Sgt. Maj. T.D., Sgt. Maj. M.A. and Sgt. Maj. M.K.
Ammunition excavated in Poyrazköy
Ten light anti-tank weapons, 20 percussion bombs, three other bombs, 250 grams of C4 explosives, 19 emergency flares, 10 hand grenades, 800 G3 bullets and a large number of cartridges for revolvers were found on the İstek Foundation land. The discovery followed the unearthing of similar underground weapons caches in January during digs based on maps found in the homes of two suspects -- former Deputy Police Chief İbrahim Şahin and Mustafa Dönmez, a lieutenant colonel who turned himself in a few days after a warrant for his arrest was issued.