Joined: 25 Oct 2003
| Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 pm Post subject: TZ | Scale of Ergenekon operation reveals broad consensus
|July 3, 2008 | Today's Zaman | Fatma Disli
Scale of Ergenekon operation reveals broad consensus
The detention of four retired generals along with dozens of others early on Tuesday as part of a widening investigation into the Ergenekon gang, a shadowy criminal network that is believed to have links to the state and is suspected of plotting to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in 2004, has returned everyone's attention to the subject. While some have argued that the AK Party government, which is currently facing a closure case in the Constitutional Court, is aiming to intimidate groups that oppose it with this operation, others have dismissed such allegations, saying that it would be impossible to carry out such an extensive operation without a consensus among state institutions.
Star's Şamil Tayyar, who has been closely following the Ergenekon case, does not think the investigation into the Ergenekon network is an instrument used by the government to intimidate its foes. Giving some background about the gang's rise to prominence, he suggests that it was a total coincidence that the network surfaced in a police operation in 2007 when weapons and explosives were found at the home of a retired officer with ultranationalist leanings in İstanbul's Ümraniye district. "As the operation continued, the emerging picture was startling, leaving the prosecutors at a crossroads. They would either stop the investigation and be smashed beneath, it or they would go ahead with it until the very end," Tayyar explains. In this regard, he interprets the detention of 14 individuals from left-leaning ultra-nationalist groups, including Workers' Party (İP) Chairman Doğu Perinçek, Cumhuriyet daily columnist İlhan Selçuk and former İstanbul University Rector Kemal Alemdaroğlu, over links to the Ergenekon gang in March, as the indication of the prosecutors taking the second path. "From that point on, there was a great need for consensus among the government, military and judiciary for the operation to deepen," he suggests, stressing that it would otherwise be impossible for the retired generals to be taken into custody. He says this consensus has shown that the Ergenekon gang has become a threat not only for the government, but for the military as well.
Sabah's Emre Aköz strongly believes that such an extensive operation cannot be carried out without information from and even the approval of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). "The military does not just protect its active members, but also the retired ones. It benefits from them. It is even said that retirement is not possible for some posts in the military. If senior generals are taken into custody, this could only be possible with a consensus among state institutions," says Aköz, noting that a big fuss would be made over it otherwise.
Radikal's İsmet Berkan hails the fact that for the first time in Turkey's history, those who attempted to carry out a coup will appear before a court and give an account of their illegitimate actions. He says perpetrators of coups have gone unpunished so far in Turkey; however, these recent detentions have brought along an opportunity for Turkey to settle its accounts with those who try to change the constitutional order in the country with the use of force. Thus, he says, Turkey should make use of this opportunity.
Original article: Today's Zaman