01 February 2008

2315) Media Scanner 1 Feb 2008 (71 Items)

  1. Turkey should condemn American Indian Genocide
  2. Erdogan's Insulting Words About Obama May Haunt Turkey After The Elections By Harut Sassounian
  3. Dink's Assassination Is The Result Of The "Dangerous Thinking" In Turkey
  4. To Keep Track Of Gangs
  5. Clinton, Too, Vows To Recognize 'Armenian Genocide' As President
  6. Promise To Support So-Called Armenian Genocide Is Election Policy In Us: Experts
  7. Operation Takes 'Deep State' Under The Spotlight
  8. Ergenekon, Where Are You?
  9. Clinton Follows Obama, Pledges Recognition Of Armenian ‘Genocide'
  10. Ergenekon Investigation Gets Deeper
  11. What About The World? By Richard N. Haass*
  12. Hostile Turkey is NATO’s Representative In Region
  13. Turkish University Planning Courses In Armenian, Greek And Hebrew
  14. There Are Always Gangs In This Country, Only Their Structures Change
  15. Turkey Lays Down In The Therapy Chair
  16. Police Launch First Remarkable Crackdown On Deep State
  17. Hopes Shallow In Fight Against Deep Gangs
  18. Young Activists Question Judiciary Over Youtube Ban
  19. Foreign Ties In Ergenekon
  20. Detox For The State
  21. Ex-Anti-terror General Sent to Jail, Along With Companions
  22. To Fight With Gangs Needs To Fight With Our Genes
  23. Wrong Logic Dogu Ergil
  24. Important Revelation By Babacan On Turkish-Armenian Relations
  25. Listening To Grasshoppers-Genocide, Denial And CelebrationBy Arundhati Roy
  26. Armenia Admits PKK Bases Operate in Karabakh RegionBBC Monitoring Central Asia
  27. Armenian Killings: Leave Its Discussion To Another DayBY: Marcy Oster
  28. Bayramoglu: Dink Would Say ‘justice Done’ Ali Bayramoglu
  29. Wanted: Backers of Ergenekon
  30. Gov’t, Opposition Face Critical Test Over Deep Gangs
  31. Turks Protest ‘Genocide Classes'
  32. Ankara Chides Clinton, Obama On ‘Genocide’
  33. [Sacred Sites]Surp Hresdagabet: An Example Of Architectural Pluralism In Balat
  34. 'Untouchables' Nabbed In Raid
  35. Return Of Petrosian, An Opportunity?
  36. Label Gangs And Him
  37. Coup Planner Ergenekon Gang ‘involved’ In Drug Trafficking
  38. The Gang: Usual Trouble Makers in Intellectuals' Trials
  39. The Shallowness Of The Deep StateAndrew Finkel
  40. [The ‘Deep State’ & Gangs] How does a Turkish gang survive? by Faruk Mercan*
  41. Turkey Criticizes Us Democratic Presidential Hopefuls For Armenian Genocide Comments
  42. How Far Will Ultra-Nationalist Organisation Be Unmasked?
  43. The Gang Could Be The Tip Of The Iceberg
  44. 70,000 Armenians Come to Turkey in Search of Jobs
  45. USA Won’t Allow ‘Armenian Genocide’ to be Recognized: Assistant to Former British PM
  46. Wanted: Backers of Ergenekon
  47. Denmark Does Not Recognize Armenian Historical Claims
  48. JITEM Hitman: Veli Küçük Conceals Masterminds
  49. Ergenekon Coup Planner Called Army Friends For Help
  50. Dauntless Gangs And Fainthearted Judges
  51. Dangers Of The ‘Create Chaos’ Project
  52. The Real Danger: Politics Of Fear
  53. Why Don’t They Fear A Lack Of Justice?
  54. Ergenekon Coup Planner Called Army Friends For Help
  55. Do ‘Those’ Know Why ‘They’ Are All Hrant?
  56. Turkish Diplomats Killed By Armenians Remembered
  57. Turkey Busts Alleged Murder NetworkBy Pelin Turgut
  58. "Armenia Will Never Become Switzerland"A1+
  59. A Sibel Edmonds Timeline "We Can't Afford to Let Them Spill the Beans"By Gary Leupp
  60. "Deep State" Lays Down CardsPanARMENIAN.Net
  61. The Ergenekon Terror Gang: Knowns And Unknowns Of History
  62. A Hell For Free Souls!Orhan Kemal CENGIZ
  63. "Ergenekon" Conspiracy Is Rooted In "Susurluk" Says Former Minister
  64. The State Of Cultural Heritage In Turkey Motion For A Resolution Presented By Mr Hovannisian And Others
  65. Armenia Is The Paraguay Of This Century: Says Former Assistant Of British Prime Minister
  66. Deputy Raises Eyebrows With Icj Proposal
  67. Ergenekon Gang-Linked Bogus Turkish Patriarchate In Spotlight
  68. Ergenekon Academic Called For Coup D’état
  69. Declare Ergenekon A Terrorist Organization
  70. Büyükanit Says TSK Not Crime Organization
  71. Million-Dollar Question: Who Is The Boss Of Ergenekon?
. .

Letters To The TDN Editor January 31, 2008
Turkey should condemn American Indian Genocide

Writing in connection with the article “Are American Indians Turkish?” that appeared in the TDN on Jan. 29, 2008. Regarding the interesting question of whether the American Indians had Turkish origins lends even more credibility for the Turkish Parliament to pass a resolution condemning this American genocide. And Spain too. Upwards of 200 million Indians lost their lives on the combined American continents after Columbus landed in 1492. The Indians in South America were mostly enslaved to extract precious metals. The Indians in North America were displaced, starved, and slaughtered to make way for the enormous flow of European immigrants. Vast numbers died from European diseases, perhaps the first weapon of mass destruction, in this case, biological warfare. Surely Turkey has the right to defend itself from the Western claims of genocide, given the historically bloody hand of the West!

From approximately 15-18 million North American Indians present in the days of Columbus, only 190,000 were left in the territorial United States in 1890. The destruction of the Southern Indians (the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek tribes) resulted in the seizure and clearance of their enormously fertile forest lands (the Southern black belt) in order to expand both slavery and cotton production in Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi). Thus the red and black races were displaced, enslaved, and murdered in order for white America to prosper. The proof of this assertion is fully documented and unassailable. Surely Turkey, a country who has welcomed the persecuted minorities of many nations, has the right, indeed the responsibility, to counter the orchestrated, poorly documented, rush-to-judgment of the United States Congress by the Armenian Lobby!

The horrific destruction of a sophisticated Native American cultural system was encouraged by the government of the United States, particularly under the administration of that so-called champion of so-called democracy, Andrew Jackson. By 1890, the American Indians were finished. Their numbers had been reduced by 98 percent over the 400 years since Columbus landed. By 1890 the United States government had seized 98 percent of their land. No greater genocide or land grab has existed in the history of the world. Surely Turkey has the right to challenge the unproven claim of genocide by affirming through parliamentary resolution the well-documented genocide of the destruction of a race of people by an act of policy by the government of the United States of America!

It is high time that Turkey takes the offensive on the matter of genocide. In this day of widespread destruction it is high time to remind America, and its government, that it is up to its elbows in the blood of American Indians. The Turkish Parliament should condemn the American Indian Genocide. That the American Indians may have been Turkish is speculative, that they were destroyed by U.S. government policy is not.

James Ryan, Istanbul

Appreciation: I live in England but every summer when I come for my three month stay in Altinkum (Didim) I buy the Turkish Daily News. It is a brilliant paperPauline White, UK


Erdogan's Insulting Words About Obama May Haunt Turkey After The Elections By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Armenians can always count on Turkish leaders to make berserk and emotional statements that inadvertently further publicize the issue of the Armenian Genocide.

Last week, when presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, former Sen. John Edwards, as well as Sen. Joe Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued statements reaffirming the Armenian Genocide, Turkish Prime Minister Rejeb Tayyip Erdogan made rude and insulting comments about Sen. Obama, thus attracting further media attention to the Genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey.

Sen. Obama called for Congressional passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution and pledged that he would recognize the Armenian Genocide, if elected President. He said: "I share with Armenian Americans -- so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors -- a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history. As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide. Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term 'genocide' to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide isnot an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distortthe historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide."

Sen. Obama also pledged to maintain U.S. assistance to Armenia, strengthen its democracy, seek an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, work for a lasting and durable settlement of the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh) conflict, promote growth and development through expanded trade and targeted aid, and strengthen the commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governments.

Sen. Joe Biden, who until recently was a presidential candidate, followed suit by officially announcing his support for the Congressional reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. He thus became the 34th Senator to cosponsor the Genocide Resolution. Sen. Biden is a longtime supporter of U.S. recognitionof the Armenian Genocide and many other Armenian issues.

Sen. Hillary followed by issuing her own statement supporting the adoption of the Congressional Resolution on the Armenian Genocide and pledging to recognize it, if elected President. She said: "Alone among the Presidential candidates, I have been a longstanding supporter of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. I have been a co-sponsor of the Resolution since 2002, and I support adoption of this legislation by both Houses of Congress. I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear caseof genocide. I have twice written to President Bush calling on him to refer to the Armenian Genocide in his annual commemorative statement and, as President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide. Our common morality and our nation's credibility as a voice for human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the President of the United States."

Sen. Clinton also said that she valued her friendship with the vibrant Armenian American community: "This is in keeping with my dedication to the causes of the Armenian American community over many years. I was privileged as First Lady to speak at the first-ever White House gathering in 1994 for leaders from Armenia and the Armenian American community to celebrate the historic occasion of Armenia's reborn independence. I will, as President, work to expand and improve U.S.-Armenia relations in addressing the common issues facing our two nations: increasing trade, fostering closer economic ties, fighting terrorism, strengthening democratic institutions, pursuing our military partnership and deepening cooperation with NATO, and cooperating on regional concerns, among them a fair and democratic resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. As President, I will expand U.S. assistance programs to Armenia and to the people of Nagorno-Karabagh."

Finally, presidential candidate John Edwards issued his own very supportive statement: "I am proud of my record in the U.S. Senate fighting hard for the concerns of our nation's one and a half million Americans of Armenian heritage. In the Senate, I stood against threats to Armenia's security, including the blockades it continues to endure. As President, I will prioritize our special relationship with Armenia and the goal of a lasting peace to Nagorno Karabagh and the entire region. I strongly believe that the United States must standfor telling the truth about all genocides. I support the Congressional resolution declaring the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 a genocide. We must also continue to strengthen our relationship with Turkey, an important democratic ally against the forces of tyranny in the region. The resolution should therefore be integrated with a comprehensive diplomatic effort to make sure that our friends in Turkey today understand that the resolution is not aimed at them but instead at atrocities committed almost a century ago by the Ottoman Empire."

The Armenian American community naturally welcomes all four statements. However, given the long chain of not kept promises by previous presidential candidates, Armenians should not judge these candidates by the above statements alone. They should evaluate the candidates' long-standing commitment to Armenian American issues and be suspicious of opportunistic statements made on the eve of the decisive upcoming primary elections. The Armenian American community should also judge these candidates by their circle of close advisors. If that core group includes individuals that have been antagonistic to Armenian issues in the past, there is a good chance that the next president would be dissuaded From carrying out his or her promises after the election.

Despite the distinct possibility that the statements issued last week may be useless after the election, they have already had a very positive effect on propagating the Armenian Cause, thanks to the rude reaction of Prime Minister Erdogan. According to the Turkish press, Prime Minister Erdogan called Sen. Obama "an amateur of politics. A day may come when you will have to choose between 70 million Turkey and two million Armenia. One has to think carefully before uttering such words. I suggest that he outgrow the amateur period of is political career." It appears that Prime Minister Erdogan is more concernedabout numbers than choosing between right and wrong -- truth and lies!

Should Sen. Obama be elected President, he may not look kindly at Turkish Prime Minister's insulting words. Armenians would hope that Erdogan would similarly lash out at all the presidential candidates who have issued similar statements. That way, no matter which candidate gets elected, there would be a backlash on U.S.-Turkish relations, lessening the likelihood that Turkish leaders would get away with blackmailing the White House again in the future!


Dink's Assassination Is The Result Of The "Dangerous Thinking" In Turkey
PanARMENIAN.Net 24.01.2008
Though Hrant Dink was assassinated firstly because of his political views, namely regarding the Armenian Genocide, his ethnical belonging was of no less significance in his assassination.

It's already been a year since the day of the assassination of the editor-in-chief of "Agos", yet its details are still unclear. Dink was killed by Turkey, which is the successor of the Ottoman Empire with all its intolerance towards "the infidels". Taner Akcam, who left for the USA in 1971 for some political motives, puts the blame for Dink's murder on "the submerged state".

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "The submerged state" is an underground organization and a part of the security services and officials, who are strictly against the democratization of Turkey. "Dink's assassination is the result of the "dangerous thinking" in Turkey," said Akcam.

Indeed, "dangerous thinking" is widely spread in Turkey, no matter how hard the Turks deny this fact in front of the whole world. This is also inherited from the Ottoman Empire, and is expressed not only through assassinations and persecutions of those having different way of thinking, but also in "made up" right of dictating its conditions to the entire world. And the most surprising and unpleasant thing is that the world sometimes gives up to it, and the case with blackmailing the US is a good example of the above mentioned. When in 2003 Turkey didn't allow the U.S. troops to Iraq through its territory, America didn't complain and didn't say a word about the "national interests and security of the soldiers." Four years have passed since then; Resolution 106 about the Armenian Genocide committed in the Ottoman Empire has been presented to the House of Representatives. And what happened, was that Turkey immediately started to threaten the security of the troops in Iraq, the very troops that were not allowed through its territory in 2003. The interesting thing is that the Resolution itself was proposed to the House of Representatives in two weeks after Hrant Dink's assassination.

Meanwhile the police department in Istanbul fighting against terrorism arrested 50 people, among which there is the member of the Parliament of Azerbaijan, the retired general Vali Kicik, "Aksam" contributor Guler Komurcu, lawyer Kemal Kerinciz and contributor of press-association of Turkish Orthodox Church Sevgi Erenerol. They were arrested for being involved in the assassination of the editor-in-chief of "Agos" Hrant Dink, in armed attack on the judges, and in attempt on the lives of the monks in Trabzon and Izmir.

At present the arrested are being interrogated by the police. It is not known yet whether or not accusations are brought against them. One of the leaders of the ruling parties the Justice and Development Dengir Mir Mehmed Firat announced that the police have held a significant operation.

Turkey demonstrates "commitment" to Dink's case to the world community and first of all to Europe.

Parliamentary Commission has been established, lawyers speak out against the police; in other words everything is as it should be in democratic countries.

However, Turkey is omitting one important circumstance: Istanbul is not the entire Turkey; moreover, it is not Turkey at all. "There are two Turkeys: European, situated on Taksim Square, which has about 50 thousand people, or may be a little more, and the other part of Turkey, consisting of 70 million people, who really practice Islam and consider themselves the followers of the Ottoman Empire. So one shouldn't speak seriously of European values in Turkey," thinks the political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan.

The trial proceeding on the assassin (assassins) of Hrant Dink will be followed by harsh verdict, after which in the eyes of Europe Turkey will look a "normal" country. But the trouble is that in Europe, unlike the USA, the value of the Turkish democracy is quite clear, and the article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code assures this in the best way possible.

Though Hrant Dink was assassinated firstly because of his political views, namely regarding the Armenian Genocide, his ethnical belonging was of no less significance in his assassination. Orhan Pamuk, Taner Akcam and many others proved to be luckier than Dink; they left the country. Hrant Dink in his last interview which was held two days before his assassination, said: "If I give up and leave the country, it will be a disgrace to everybody. My ancestry lived in this country, my roots are in this country and I have the right to die in the country I was born in."

In answer to the question whether it is bad being Armenian in Turkey, he answered: "If one holds his tongue, he is unlikely to have problems. But for me it was even difficult at school to sing in the school choir about how proud I am to be Turkish. Of course there are things to be proud of in our country, but still I am not Turkish. The representatives like to refer to the fact that there are many children's orphanages and Armenian schools in the country.

However, they prefer to keep silent about the fact that many of the schoolchildren are fired for being involved in political life..."


To Keep Track Of Gangs
The Ergenekon gang operation is continuing, and here’s what I think: I wonder what the underground, hidden motivations are that drive people to the point of saying “I am the state,” or “I love this nation more than others.”

There are many stratified layers of reality that face us today in this all. These gangs, whose roots are clear, base themselves on two large traumas that have taken place. The first of these is the blow struck to the group of people who saw themselves as nationalists and patriots and who had in an extreme sense identified themselves with the state during the Sept. 12 coup. The second large trauma was the reigniting of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) movement in the 1990s. Around this time this faction of people began to shoulder what they perceived as being their “duty,” a perception that slowly began to spread and take root. And thus the Special War Department, which used to be under NATO control, became inseparable from groups such as Ergenekon.
26.01.2008 Hasan Bülent Kahraman, Sabah


Clinton, Too, Vows To Recognize 'Armenian Genocide' As President
Ümit Enginsoy Washington - Turkish Daily News January 26, 2008

Two top Democratic presidential candidates are vying for the ethnic Armenian vote

Top Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton, following in her rival Senator Barack Obama's footsteps, has announced that she will recognize World War I era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, if elected as U.S. president.

"I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide," Clinton said Thursday in statements sent to two leading U.S. Armenian groups. "I have twice written to President (George W.) Bush calling on him to refer to the Armenian genocide in his annual commemorative statement and, as president, I will recognize the Armenian genocide," she said. Clinton also called for the passage of two genocide resolutions, one pending in the Senate and the other in the House of Representatives.

In a weekend statement, Obama also pledged to recognize what he called the Armenian genocide and voiced his backing for the passage of the same resolutions in Congress. Obama additionally promised to work to put an end to "Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades" of Armenia. Clinton did not mention this point.

Close race:

These remarks by Clinton and Obama came days before critical primaries and caucuses in 24 states over the next couple of weeks. Ethnic Armenians are a considerable factor in some of those states, most notably California. U.S. Armenian groups have called on fellow Armenian voters to back candidates supporting the Armenian cause.Clinton, leading the race so far, has won primaries in New Hampshire and Nevada, and Obama got the Iowa caucuses. But their competition is tight.As a senator since 2002, Clinton has co-sponsored genocide legislation, but at a meeting with editors of The Boston Globe in October she voiced reservations about the adoption of the pending House resolution, prompting Armenian criticism. But top officials from the Armenian National Committee of America and the Armenian Assembly of America, the two largest U.S. Armenian organizations, have praised Clinton for her latest position.

Former presidents:

In spite of pro-Armenian statements during election campaigns, no U.S. president in the last 20 years has ever supported the passage of genocide resolutions in Congress. For instance Bush, when he was a presidential hopeful in February 2000, pledged to recognize the Armenian incidents "in the proper way," but has consistently opposed genocide resolutions throughout his seven-year presidency, angering the Armenians.Bush's predecessor and Hillary's husband, Bill Clinton, also made a last minute effort in October 2000, preventing the passage of genocide legislation in the House of Representatives.

Turkey makes it clear that any congressional adoption of such bills will hurt relations with the United States beyond repair and in a lasting way. However, analysts say that although Clinton and probably Obama may also change their positions if elected president, their present statements favoring the Armenian cause are pretty strong.

Among Republican contenders, Rudy Giuliani had issued genocide proclamations when he was mayor of New York in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He is seen as the most pro-Armenian candidate. Among others, Senator John McCain has consistently opposed genocide resolutions, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney are not close to the Armenians.


Promise To Support So-Called Armenian Genocide Is Election Policy In Us: Experts
24 January 2008, Trend Az

The statements pledging to support the so-called Armenian genocide by Barak Obama, the candidate for presidency in US are aimed at winning the support of the Armenian lobby in the upcoming elections, Merve Kavakchi, the American expert said.

Last week Obama announced that once he is elected US president, the White House will recognize the Armenian genocide committed in 1915 to 1918 by the Ottoman Empire and will further develop relations between US and Armenia.

“The statement of Obama pledging to recognize the Armenian genocide is a step aimed at winning the votes of the Armenians living in US,” Merve Kavakchi, the expert of the George Washington University and the former Turkish MP said to Trend by email on 24 January.

According to Kavakchi, the promise of Obama to recognize the so-called Armenian Genocide points out that he is an inexperienced politician unlike Hillary Clinton, the other presidency candidate. “Even if Obama is elected president, the so-called Armenian genocide will not be recognized. By recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide US could lose its ally in Turkey,” Kavakchi said.

“While Turkey and US are allies, the recognition of the so-called Armenian Genocide by the US Parliament is impossible. Every year 25 April is recognized in US symbolically as a so-called Armenian Genocide,” the political scientist said.

The words of Obama are nothing more than an election pledge, Arif Keskin, the director of the Eurasian Center of the Strategic Investigations said. “The statements made by Obama to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide confirm that he is an inexperienced politician,” Keskin said to Trend during a telephone interview from Istanbul on 24 January.


Operation Takes 'Deep State' Under The Spotlight
Istanbul - Tdn with wire dispatches January 25, 2008

Retired Brig. General Veli Küçük's name has hovered over many political scandals, but has remained virtuallyuntouchable, has since a traffic accident been dubbed 'Susurluk scandal.'

As the echoes of Tuesday's extensive police operation against a shadowy group, referred to by some as the “deep state” continues, Turkey is once again haunted with memories of assassinations, bombings and mass provocations of the distant and not-so-distant past.

Some 33 people, among them former generals, lawyers, two “mafia” leaders, rank-and-file soldiers and even a journalist have been apprehended in a nationwide operation that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blessed with the words “The government is working” Tuesday. The state has imposed a ban on press reports on the issue, but yesterday nearly all newspapers' headlines were full of disturbing details about the operation against the gang known as “Ergenekon.”

Those under custody may be accused of plotting to assassinate senior figures such as Leyla Zana and Ahmet Türk, two prominent pro-Kurdish politicians, and novelist Orhan Pamuk, according to media reports.

Provocations:

It is also suspected that they are linked with various provocations, including three bomb attacks against the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet in May 2006, the assassinations of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink last January and nationalist writer Necip Hablemitoglu on Dec. 18, 2002.

The name “Ergenekon” implies an ideological link to the Turkish far-right, as in Turkic genesis mythology, it is believed that a gray wolf showed the Turks the way out of their legendary homeland “Ergenekon.” Turkish ultranationalists have used the name “Grey Wolf” for decades.

Nevertheless, those under police custody have a different profile than an ordinary “ultra nationalist on the street.” The most prominent name is Retired Brig. General Veli Küçük, whose name hovered over many political scandals - but remained virtually untouchable, since a groundbreaking traffic accident in Nov. 3, 1996, dubbed as the “Susurluk scandal.”

The scandal broke out when the identities of four people in a Mercedes were revealed after an accident in Susurluk, approximately 400 kilometers southwest of Istanbul. The three dead were Hüseyin Kocadag, a former deputy chief of Istanbul police, Abdullah Çatli, an ultra nationalist convicted of the massacre in which seven students were murdered brutally in Ankara in 1978 and his girlfriend. Sedat Edip Bucak, the Sanliurfa deputy from the True Path Party (DYP) and a local leader of a practically private “army” of village guards used by the state against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was wounded. The scandal kept the public awake for months, revealing shadowy relations between various powers within the state apparatus and ultra nationalists. For some, the accident revealed the tip of the “deep state” in Turkey.

Defending the ‘official line':

Veli Küçük is the alleged founder of JITEM (Gendarmerie Intelligence), whose existence was denied by governments for years. Others in custody are no less interesting than him: Lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who came in the spotlight as one of the leaders of protests in front of Turkish courts against prominent writers and intellectuals such as Orhan Pamuk and Hrant Dink, is one of them. Kerinçsiz is known to be a staunch supporter of the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, and he has, on various occasions, accused those who spoke against the “official line” in issues such as the Kurdish problem or the alleged Armenian genocide of “treason.”

Three other detaines are Güler Kömürcü, a columnist at Aksam daily, Fikri Karadag, the President of the “Kuvayi Milliye” (National Forces) Association, Ali Yasak and Sami Hostan, two alleged “mafia” leaders, and Fuat Turgut, lawyer of Yasin Hayal, the alleged instigator of the murder of Dink.

Another figure that press reports linked to those is Retired Captain Muzaffer Tekin, who is accused of instigating Alparslan Aslan into storming the Council of State on May 17, 2006 and killing one top judge. Tekin was arrested last year, after a police raid in Ümraniye that unveiled 27 hand grenades in a slum house.

Seeking money for murder:

The shadowy organization was seeking YTL 2 million (approximately $1.7 million) to assassinate renowned novelist Orhan Pamuk, according to yesterday's Hürriyet daily. The paper said telephone conversations of the suspects had been wiretapped for the last eight months. Another allegation is that an associate of those under custody was planning to murder a retired colonel, according to Hürriyet.

Meanwhile, daily Radikal focused on the “Ergenekon” organization itself. According to the paper, members believe they are the “real defenders” of the Turkish Republic, and are intent on doing everything possible to “pacify or even liquidate internal enemies.” The organization consists of four “command posts” and two “civilian presidencies” directly accountable to one “president.” The “civilian leaders” are responsible of “organizing civilian elements” in the society, while former officers and former intelligence officials are the “backbone” of the whole organization, Radikal wrote.

Core within a core:

According to documents confiscated last year, civilians constitute an “inner organization” within “Ergenekon.” This “core” is named as “Lobby” and is led by five civilians, who are in contact with the rest of the group through two “appointees.”

The documents claim that the “Lobby” aims to create a “counter-force” against “foreign non-governmental organizations operating in Turkey.”

Another function of the “Lobby” is, according to Radikal, “influencing trade unions,” while also gaining economic power through commercial companies.

Speaking to the “Haber 7” Web site, former police chief Bülent Orakoglu said the “final aim” of the operation is to destroy “Turkish Gladio,” resuscitating an old debate. “In many countries, operations against Gladio were launched and these relics of the Cold War were destroyed,” Orakoglu, a former police intelligence chief, said. “But such an operation had not been launched in Turkey. Now I am under the impression that Turkey has taken this step.”

“I think that the operation has some sort of preventive quality,” Orakoglu continued, strengthening allegations that the group was about to unleash a high-profile assassination.

Gladio, meaning “Sword” in Italian, was a code name given to a clandestine NATO operation in Italy during the Cold War, allegedly aiming to counter a “Soviet invasion” of Western Europe. However, the name passed to obscurity, as it was unveiled that all NATO members had created similar clandestine organizations, under alleged CIA supervision.

The suspects will be taken to court today.


Ergenekon, Where Are You?
We are living in a country that has passed through various periods of bloodiness and provocation, one that paid a serious price for the Cold War and which, because of its stance against Communism, allowed illegal inner-state structures and organizations to become legitimatized.

Those who are still searching for Ergenekon needn’t go far to find it. The story of the Turkish deep state is one that stretches from the murder of Abdi Ipekçi to the March 16 massacre, passing straight through Susurluk and even, no doubt, connecting to the bloody attack on judges at the Council of State. It is in fact the story of Ergenekon. It is a story that includes some of the darkest, bloodiest pages in Turkish history. But at the same time, it is not only darkness and bloodiness we are talking about here. We are also talking about the “deep picture” of an understanding that reigns in this nation that believes that “Susurluk and Feb. 28 are two sides of the same coin.” The same picture shows that the attack on the Council of State was in fact a “sortie” on the administration by those in charge.
26.01.2008 Ali Bayramoglu, Yenisafak


Clinton Follows Obama, Pledges Recognition Of Armenian ‘Genocide'
Days after her rival Barack Obama, US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also pledged to officially recognize the controversial World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide if she becomes president.

A written statement penned by Clinton and sent to an influential Armenian diaspora organization on Thursday was made public by the group yesterday. Last week, Obama sent a written statement to organization, the Washington based-Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), announcing his support of a resolution pending at the US Congress for recognition of the allegations on the controversial issue.

"I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide. I have twice written to President [George W.] Bush calling on him to refer to the Armenian Genocide in his annual commemorative statement and, as President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide. Our common morality and our nation's credibility as a voice for human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the President of the United States," Clinton said in her statement published on ANCA's Web site.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects these claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops who were invading Ottoman territory. In 1993 Turkey also shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan, which was at war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished nation.

Last year, despite pleas from the Bush administration, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a nonbinding resolution that described the events of 1915 as genocide. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives and an ardent supporter of the Armenian claims, has so far not brought the resolution to the House floor, after a strong appeal from the Bush administration that passage of the resolution would deeply harm relations with NATO ally Turkey.

As a senator, Clinton has since 2002 cosponsored successive Armenian genocide resolutions. She joined Senate colleagues in cosigning letters to Bush in 2005 and 2006 urging him to recognize the events as genocide.

In October 2000, weeks before a presidential election, Armenian groups came very close to a victory in the United States, with a genocide resolution reaching the House floor. Yet, only hours before a final vote, then President Bill Clinton, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton's spouse, personally intervened and urged Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert to withdraw the resolution on grounds of national security. Hastert agreed, prompting major disappointment among Armenians.
26.01.2008 Today's Zaman Ankara


Ergenekon Investigation Gets Deeper
The lawyer for the Yasin Aydin, one of the suspects charged in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, himself appeared before an I.stanbul court yesterday as a suspect in the Ergenekon operation.
A police investigation into a neo-nationalist gang believed to be the extension of a clandestine network of groups with members in the armed forces has discovered that the group was plotting to stage a coup against the government in the year 2009 and that suspects so far apprehended are only the collaborators of the real plotters in the military, Turkish newspapers reported on Friday.

Revelations emanating from the investigation thus far have shown that many of the attacks attributed to separatist or Islamist groups or seen as hate crimes against minorities were actually "inside jobs."

The investigation into the gang, 33 of whose members were taken into police custody earlier this week as part of an investigation into an arms depot found in I.stanbul in June of last year, has exposed solid links between an attack on the Council of State in 2006, threats and attacks against people accused of being unpatriotic and a 1996 car crash known as the Susurluk incident, which revealed links between a police chief, a convicted ultranationalist fugitive and a member of Parliament as well as links to plans of some groups in Turkey's powerful military to overthrow the government.

Meanwhile, 15 of the suspects detained on Tuesday on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization were taken to a courthouse in Istanbul's Bes,iktas, district under tight security on Friday, while one of them, retired Maj. Zekeriya Öztürk, was arrested. Three of the suspects were released on Thursday by the prosecutor after their interrogation was complete, while the court released one of the suspects.

The gang is a part of a structure named Ergenekon, declared a terrorist organization by the I.stanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office, an aggregation of many groups of varying sizes, many of which have in their names adjectives such as "patriotic," "national," "nationalist," "Kemalist" or "Atatürkist." Ergenekon is the name of a legend that describes how Turks came into existence.

A number of those detained in the recent raids, including Veli Küçük, Sami Hos,tan, Drej Ali and Muzaffer Tekin -- who was already in jail prior to Tuesday's detentions-- have repeatedly been named in many similar investigations.

The investigation has found that the Ergenekon phenomenon, also referred to as Turkey's "deep state," stages attacks using "behind-the-scenes" paramilitary organizations to manipulate public opinion according its own political agenda.

The Radikal daily has reported that pundits are divided on whether the recent operation will help Turkey end the actions of such unlawful groups. Optimists believe the recent police operation was a major blow to the formation, while pessimists say the individuals detained as part of the Ergenekon operation are only the visible tip of the iceberg.

Recalling that a newsweekly had uncovered generals' plans to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in 2004, most pessimists say there are still groups in the military who are pursuing coup d'état ambitions. "Since the civilians [currently in custody] cannot stage a coup, then who was going to?" asked the Taraf daily, urging the authorities to carry on with the investigation without fear. The prosecution is currently working on finding exactly those parts of the network that would hopefully link the current suspects to the bottom of the "iceberg."

Some of the allegations against Ergenekon

The investigation has so far found that the Ergenekon organization had plotted to kill Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and other public figures to drag Turkey into chaos to create the perfect environment for a coup -- not unlike the atmosphere of the pre-1980 period, which ended with a violent military takeover -- that was to be staged in 2009. Evidence so far also suggests that 700 kilograms of explosives found loaded on a van in I.stanbul belonged to this gang. An attack against the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), also a murky group with shadowy affiliations, in Diyarbak?r was actually staged by the VKGB itself, according the investigation. The attack had then been blamed on the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) organization. There is also evidence linking the Ergenekon gang to the assassination of Necip Hablemitog(lu, shot to death in 2002 after concluding that residents of the Bergama region campaigning against gold prospecting in the area were being manipulated by Germans protecting their economic interests, in a comprehensive study he conducted on the subject. Ibrahim Çiftçi, an I.zmir businessman questioned over the Hablemitog(lu murder as a key suspect, was later killed by a hand grenade thrown into his Alsancak office, which, according to the businessman's son, was the work of the gang to keep him silent.

Hopes for solving Dink murder

In a statement on Friday, Nusret Gürgöz, a lawyer for the co-plaintiffs in the murder trial of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, said the recent police operation into Ergenekon had given hope for finding the real forces behind the murder of Dink. "We are very hopeful now that the Ergenekon Operation has taken place. If light is shed on the Dink murder, this could be a start for the others."

The suspects and the hierarchy of the group

A large number of documents clearly showing the hierarchical structure of the group have also been seized in the recent operations. The organization's manifesto and even organizational charts showing the hierarchy of the group, future plans and lists of agencies the organization plans to infiltrate are among the documents Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz has already been through. According to a report from the Hürriyet daily, some members of the Ergenekon network were in the past active members of Hizbullah.

The suspects detained in Tuesday's operation included Veli Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag(, a retired army colonel; Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aks,am daily; and Sami Hos,tan, a key figure in the Susurluk investigation. Ali Yasak, a well-known gangster linked to the figures in the Susurluk incident, was also detained in the operation.
26.01.2008 Today's Zaman Istanbul


What About The World? By Richard N. Haass*
As America's primaries move forward it is simply impossible to predict who will be the Democratic and Republican nominees, much less who will become the 44th president of the United States.

But it is not too soon to address the question of what effect US foreign policy is having on the campaign and what it reveals about how Americans see the world. To the surprise of many seasoned observers, foreign policy is having only a modest impact on voters. This is unexpected, because only six months ago the war in Iraq dominated the political landscape. Although Iraq still matters a lot to Americans, its importance for determining how they vote has receded, partly because US casualties there are markedly down as the security situation appears to be gradually improving. As a result, there is considerably less public pressure to do something dramatically different.

Foreign policy has also become less salient than it was only months ago as the chance of war between the US and Iran has diminished, following the recently published National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear program. The judgment by America's intelligence community that Iran has suspended its nuclear weapon development program -- and, more importantly, that its large-scale uranium enrichment capacity is likely years away -- postpones the day when a US president may have to decide between living with or attacking a nuclear Iran.

A third reason for the modest impact of international issues on voters' choice of the next president is another surprising development: more agreement between and among the leading candidates than meets the eye. There is something of a consensus, for example, emerging around the notion that the US should remain in Iraq for some time to come, albeit with a reduced level of military forces.

There is also widespread acknowledgement that the US must do more both at home and diplomatically to address global climate change, that the US must work with its European allies to prevent Afghanistan from slipping back into anarchy and that the US must take the strongest possible stand against terrorism and those who would support it in any way. No major candidate is advocating anything remotely resembling isolationism.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the deterioration of America's economy is now overshadowing foreign policy. The greatest crisis facing many Americans is their increasing inability to meet their monthly mortgage payments. Recession, job loss and expensive oil, not war, is what Americans fear most for 2008.

This is not to suggest that foreign policy is absent from the campaign. Along with the economy, a dominant issue on the political agenda -- and one that has affected Republican politics in particular -- is immigration. There is growing opposition to illegal entry, but no consensus about what to do about those who have been in the country illegally for years or those who want to come to the US in the future.

It is also possible to see in the politics of both parties mounting concern about globalization. With tougher economic times inevitably come tougher positions toward foreign competition and outsourcing.

There may also be latent concern about foreign policy in the attention being given to the quantity and quality of candidates' relevant experience. A desire for "change" is a common refrain of the American debate, but it is far from the only one.

Renewed interest in foreign policy and the rest of the world could surface if there were a dramatic overseas development. We saw this a few weeks ago, when former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Democratic and Republican candidates alike were called upon to explain what they would be prepared to do if there were an opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden or a need to secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

Likewise, Iraq could return to center stage if the positive momentum of recent months were suddenly reversed, perhaps following a new outbreak of violence between the country's Sunnis and Shiites. The US and Iran could go to war not over nuclear issues but because of reckless behavior by the Revolutionary Guards (as occurred recently in the Strait of Hormuz), with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad possibly seeking to provoke a crisis in order to distract domestic attention from his economic failures. Order in Pakistan could break down irretrievably. A terrorist attack could remind Americans of their fundamental vulnerability. The possibilities are endless.

America's next president will face a host of pressing and difficult foreign policy challenges -- and how he or she responds will affect not only the US, but the entire world. In the meantime, though, foreign policy will have only an indirect influence on Americans' choice.

*Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course." © Project Syndicate, 2008.
26.01.2008


Hostile Turkey is NATO’s Representative In Region
25.01.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ NATO is represented in the region neither by France nor Belgium or Greece but by Turkey, a state that doesn’t conceal its hostility toward Armenia, RA National Assembly Vice Speaker, presidential hopeful Vahan Hovhannisian said in an interview with Military Diplomat magazine.

“As proved by surveys, the Armenian society tends to oppose the republic’s membership in NATO at the moment. However, I can’t assert that such a position will be maintained. Various societies throughout the globe have been inspired with the most unexpected ideas and the Armenian public is not an exception,” he said. “I would like to draw attention to Russia’s position which evidently thinks that its soviet satellite nations will always remain as such. However, the recent developments in the post soviet space do signal that the situation cardinally changed and Russia has to prove the expediency of being its ally.”

“I don’t think Russia comprehends this fact. Some Russian forces suppose that “Armenia has nowhere to go” and, therefore, can be dealt shortly. But there is an old rule: if you think that your friend is “in your pocket” you pave the way for distrust. This rule functions despite your growing oil income. That is why I refrain from assuring that the Armenian society will keep opposing NATO membership,” Mr Hovhannisian said.



Turkish University Planning Courses In Armenian, Greek And Hebrew
Nevsehir University is one of Turkey’s newest centres of higher education, having only been opened in May last year.

25 Ocak 2008
NEVSEHIR - A university in central Turkey is planning to open new departments offering courses in the Armenian, Greek and Hebrew languages, it was announced Friday.

According to Professor Metin Hulagu, the dean of the Faculty of Science and Letters at the Nevsehir University it will be the first time these three languages have been offered by a Turkish university.

“We want to open new departments on the three languages to promote Turkey’s relations with Armenia, Greece and Israel,” he said. “There is presently a lack of Turks speaking these languages fluently.”

Hulagu said that the university was waiting for permission from the Turkish Higher Board of Education (YOK), which controls universities and higher education, to officially open the language departments.



There Are Always Gangs In This Country, Only Their Structures Change
"Even if the structure changes by time, having gangs is in our political culture and it started even before the republic," say historian Avni Özgürel, retired military judge Ümit Kardas and journalist Mehmet Altan.

A statue of Topal Osman in the Black Sea province of Giresun is shown in this file photo. Topal Osman, a member of the special forces during the Turkish War of Independence, was a hero, according to some, while others consider him one of the most notorious gang leaders.

All of them agree that a tradition of political gangs starts with the Committee of Union and Progress (ITP), a secret organization when it was established in 1889. The ITP came to power after a coup during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Its remaining elements were eliminated only after the establishment of the Republic.

"The ITP was the first gang to come to power in world history," says Özgürel.

After coming to power, the ITP redesigned the Special Organization, Teskilat-i Mahsusa. Acts of this Special Organization are also under discussion today, their use of political power for their own personal interests, political assassinations and their self-perceptions as the "saviors" of the state.

"From then until the present, maybe the structure of the groups has changed a little, but the founding idea is the same," says Ümit Kardas. "The law is something easily forgotten." Mehmet Altan gives the example of Topal Osman, a member of the special forces. According to some, Osman was a hero. Veli Küçük, a retired major general, who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, agrees with this statement. Küçük is under detention because of his alleged links to the Ergenekon gang, which allegedly aimed to create a chaotic atmosphere in Turkey and to prepare the grounds for a military coup.

Özgürel, Altan and Kardas all speak of the story of Osman while evaluating the situation today, the Ergenekon gang, its structure, its culture and the possibility of getting rid of this gang tradition.

Although there are still many dark points related to the life of Osman, historians agree that since he became disabled during the Balkan wars, he was labeled “lame Topal Osman.

The Ergenekon terror organization allegedly had some links with the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. For example, Fuat Turgut, the lawyer of the main suspect of the Dink murder is also under detention for having links to the Ergenekon group. Dink’s murderers were from Trabzon, which neighbors Giresun, Osman’s hometown.

He was also active in the fight with Greeks in the Black Sea region. In those days, a deputy in the first Turkish Parliament wrote a petition against Osman and complained that he was distributing land left from Greeks to gang members and terrorizing the locals.

Among the detained Ergenekon organization members, there are some familiar names from a former gang, called Susurluk. The name stems from an accident that occurred in 1996 near the small town of Susurluk in which a police chief, gangsters, a deputy and Küçük were found to be in the same vehicle. The Susurluk gang was also accused for terrorizing the locals of southeastern and eastern Anatolia and gaining economic interests from these actions.

The Susurluk gang was also accused of being responsible for many assassinations and using brutal and unlawful methods in its fight with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). There were many discussions about these events in the media and Parliament at the time. Osman’s methods while fighting against the Koçgiri Kurdish clan’s uprising in 1921 led to furious discussions in Parliament at the time, too.

Ergenekon members were allegedly planning to kill some intellectuals and politicians, including the Democratic Society Party’s (DTP) former Deputy Chairman Ahmet Türk. Osman was the murderer of a deputy in his time, deputy Ali Sükrü, who was a strong opponent of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and was against the Lausanne Treaty.

“Ali Sükrü’s murder is the father of the Susurluk case,” says Mehmet Altan. He adds that there were some incidents which were not brought to the fore in the meantime.

“This kind of organizations has had a place in our culture since Ottoman times, like Osman. There were always groups in the political structure which claimed that they were saving the state,” Altan says.

Ümit Kardas agrees. According to him, this tradition has been inherited by the republic, too.

“The republic’s nationalism is problematic. It aims at assimilation and oppression,” he says. He adds that even the end of the one-party system did not bring this tradition to an end.

“When the multi-party system was introduced, the periphery moved to the center. Elites did not like that. So the negative attitude of these elites added to the problematic nationalism understanding and we came to this point,” Kardas says, summarizing the last half century.

According to him, the main ideology of the gangs has not changed as they still see themselves above the law and the people, but the structure of the gangs has changed a little bit.

“The structure is more complicated now due to technological developments. This apparatus also uses the mask of nongovernmental organizations, which are important in today’s political life,” Kardas says.

Among the Ergenekon members there are heads of some NGOs like the National Forces Association’s Fikret Karadag or Kemal Kerinçsiz, the head of the Hukukçular Birligi, the Lawyers’ Union. Another member who was under detention is Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for another NGO called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate.

The Ergenekon gang also has a columnist member

While elaborating on the gang culture Altan is also agreeing that the structure changed but the main reasons which led to the gang culture is the same:

“Since the establishment of the republic, as it was in the case of Osman, there is a clear cut difference between the understanding of nationalism and the superiority of the law. The defender of this tradition has the idea ‘if we need to, we can put the law aside.’ Not being respectful to the law is one of the main sources which feeds this understanding,” says Altan.

He also underlines that the Turkish economy is not putting production to its center so involvement by the direct state becomes inevitable, leading to economic clashes over capturing state power. He also underlines that the national education system is reproducing the “blind and problematic nationalism” ideology.

After speaking about the history of the deep roots, its culture and changing structure of gangs, Özgürel, Altan and Kardas share their different views about the future of the gangs.

Altan thinks if the government were brave enough, this problem could be solved. He also suggests that the attitude of the EU and the US will be important. According to him, they don’t want this corrupted structure anymore and recent murders of missionaries have definitely disturbed them. The Ergenekon group is also accused of involvement in these killings, including the killing of an Italian priest in 2006 and the murder of three Christians in the city of Malatya last year.

Kardas thinks that in order to end this gang tradition, the government should be brave enough to take an initiative and work to the end.

“Instead of facing this challenge, if the government prefers to compromise, we cannot go anywhere. But our government is not even brave enough to remove the obstacles in front of freedom of thought, restricted by Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK),” says Kardas, referring to an infamous article which regulates the denigration of Turkishness and state apparatus like the army.

Özgürel is skeptical about what is really going on. He thinks that the history of gangs shows that sometimes certain elements of gang are sacrificed for the continuation of the system, a good example of this being the Osman case.

After killing deputy Sükrü, the state decided to punish Osman. He got into a gun battle with state security forces and was captured after being wounded. But he died on the road to the hospital. He was beheaded and his body was shown to the public at Ulus -- at that time the center of Ankara.

Osman is considered a hero by people like Kenan Evren, the leader of the 1980 military coup and the person who re-popularized Osman in Giresun. There is also someone who really admired Osman to the point of ordering a sculpture of him to be made and erected in Giresun. This great fan of pioneer gangster Osman is now in detention. His name is Veli Küçük, allegedly the leader of the Ergenekon gang.

In Giresun, a sculpture of Osman still exists, though not the one made on the order of Küçük.
27.01.2008 Ayse Karabat Ankara


Turkey Lays Down In The Therapy Chair
Dr. Murat Paker from the Bilgi University Psychology Department thinks that Turkey has annihilation anxiety due to trauma -- the Ottoman Empire's last years.

Paker argues that instead of facing up to its trauma Turkey uses a dissociation defense mechanism, denying its heterogeneous character. Paker, a trauma expert, says that if Turkey continues to delay facing reality, there will be more to lose. He also elaborates on Turkey's attitude toward foreigners and the psychology of the European Union ascension process and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in an interview with Today's Zaman.

If Turkey comes and lays down in the chair for therapy, what would be your first impression?

It is difficult to answer this question based on one single Turkey. But it would most probably say that it did not come willingly but was forced to come. If a talented therapist convinced it to speak more, [the possibility] of which I have some doubts, Turkey's structure would paint a picture that is harsh, angry, confused and skeptical -- but behind this, it would be possible to see a structure which is very fragile, disturbed by its own inner contradictions. This is why it is trying to cover up its weak parts and refraining from confronting itself as much as possible.

Usually in therapies at some point the clients suddenly burst out with their feelings and start to cry. At what point would Turkey do this?

I think Turkey would cry in a less dramatic form but more frequently, instead of in sudden bursts. When it was facing up to the realities that it tried to keep away from its consciousness, it would have catharses. For example, while it cannot be expected from the nationalistic part of Turkey, those societal segments who fell victim to the Turkish-Kurdish problem, if there were to be a real confrontation [with Turkey's inner reality], would have very intense catharses. Very sentimental moments can be expected when problems deriving from non-recognition and lack of understanding begin to be solved.

What would be your diagnosis?

Instead of labeling, we could ask what kind of concepts would be used by psychology to define Turkey. It might be very useful to utilize the concept of a defense mechanism, namely dissociation, [for Turkey's condition] since the establishment of the republic and nation state. This mechanism is one of the mechanisms used by people when they encounter traumatic situations. When human beings are confronted with impacting and difficult situations they dissociate the reason for it out of their consciousness. For example, a person under torture feels that he is not the one under torture, rather that the torture is being done to another person and he is just observing it. The person's unity is harmed in this way. This is reflected in the Turkish political culture like this: Turkey is a nation established on a very long and heavy Ottoman state trauma. This trauma is the loss of 90 percent of the lands and population during the empire's last years. In the last stage of this [loss] process there was even a danger of losing it all. This means that there was also annihilation anxiety. This anxiety is one of the founding elements of Turkey's sovereign political culture. This anxiety still exists. According to the political elite this period was a real period of loss, but to mourn for it was not allowed. For example, in the education system the final years of the Ottoman Empire were not mentioned.

As another dissociation, Turkey turned its back radically to Eastern culture and Islam, which were considered as among the reasons for the empire's collapse and a Westernization effort. Also Turkey, with the idea that the empire's heterogonous structure was an important factor in the collapse, dissociated itself from this. Kurds and Alevis were affected by this. All these disassociated parts are actually still living and coming to us as nightmares.

What could be Turkey's most frequent nightmare?

Of course it would be [Treaty of] Sèvres paranoia. Internal and external enemies will divide us. They were not able to do it at that time but they have not forgotten this goal. They have only one aim, to divide us. Actually, in the past, there was such a situation. Now, although this is not the situation, the sovereign political culture has chosen traumas and victories. Any nationalistic discourse has founding myths -- in Turkish nationalism, the founder myths are Sèvres and the Independence War. ... Sèvres syndrome is there to be remembered at once with the national struggle during the Independence War. The indispensable part of the Serves syndrome is reflexes like "we should be on alert, we should defeat our enemies" and that if necessary we should not hesitate to do violent acts like slaughter missionaries, expel Kurds and so on.

How is Turkey's attitude toward "others," foreigners. Does Turkey like them?

Turks are very hospitable as long as the guests act like guests. But it has to be underlined that the limits are very clear. There is a host and there is a guest. The guest should never claim to be the host. If the guests violate the limits or if they are not temporary, they are not treated with hospitality. For example, immigrants and refugees are not welcomed because they are not perceived as well-behaving guests. The Armenians and Greeks, despite the fact that they are citizens, are considered as guests according to unwritten rules -- in other words, the subconscious. As long as they obey the limits, don't demand that much and show gratitude to their hosts, there is no problem. But if they say we are equal and we want to use our rights, we want to be partners with the host, there are huge problems. This is valid for the Kurds, now, as well.

Is it because of this reason that Turkey reacts to reform demands from the EU?

Outsiders, the 'others,' are pointing out our shortcomings. For example, imagine a foreigner says 'change the "x".' If Turks say this first and we held a referendum maybe 80 percent will agree on changing the x. But when an outsider says this, it hurts our pride, because Turkey is not mature enough to show its heterogeneity and its shortcomings yet. The distinction between us and them is very rigid. Of course I am not saying that categorically -- altogether we are not mature, a part of the state and society. I think that with time this is becoming more elastic.

Can it be the reason for the feet-dragging regarding EU reforms?

We cannot speak of a homogenous situation. There are certain segments of society who really wish to undergo the reform process. Turkish society in the past supported EU membership at a 70 percent level. When this 70 percent was asked about the reform process, when it came to the question of Kurds they did not want any change. There is an expectation of economic gain [from the EU process]. This is what makes the EU attractive. Plus, since the republic's establishment Westernization has been a very rigid ego idealism. The EU is the representative of this for the sovereign political culture. The Kemalist discourse is quite exemplary in this respect. They [the Kemalists] supported the EU idea until it came to the point of making concrete changes. They thought, of course, that to be a member of the EU was a right move for Turkey -- but when it became clear that a reform process was inevitable, they gave up. But the EU's attitude helped this a lot, too. Its negative attitude fed it. I'm not even talking about racist Europe, but Christian democrats and Turkish nationalism are feeding off of each other.

Where does the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) psychology stand with regard to the EU process?

Among the mainstream parties, the AK Party is the one which did not sever its relations with nationalism but maintained a positive approach compared to the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). On the other hand, it cannot show a firm attitude, so this is why it frequently pitches and makes concessions. For example, Cemil Çiçek is still a minister and there have been no changes related to Article 301.

What is the psychology of the AK Party in general?

It does not aim at a radical change in Turkey. Just the opposite, it just wants to change the composition of the power structure a little bit. It wants to just add the rural, more local bourgeois to the Western, secular and city-based ones. If there is no opposition from the former powers, it does not have any problem with the existing structure. This is why there is noise being made over secularism. The former ones do not want this new bourgeois represented by the AK Party. Otherwise, the AK Party is one of the very strong representatives of neo-liberal policies. The AK Party, in order to open a place for itself and strengthen its position, is catching the momentum of democratization to a certain extent. But as time passes, these two different powers are evaluating each other. Meanwhile there is only clash over the headscarf, apparently. But because of this evaluation the AK Party lost its motivation for democratization. It is more confident in itself so reforms are not an urgent need for them any more.

Has Turkish-Kurdish diversification crystallized?

We are on the road to this. On the Turkish side, anti-Kurdish feelings are intensifying. Parallel to this, on the Kurdish side there are also anti-Turkish feelings. Until the 1980s, the attitude of homogenization was able to develop. 'We can deny the existence of Kurds, we can deny the Kurdish language.' We could call them mountain Turks. But after many developments [the differences] came to the point of being undeniable. It did not develop itself save as a result of war and clashes. From the point of Turkish nationalism, Kurds are not in a position for assimilation. So there are two options: Either you will accept this and make a new definition of citizenship and a constitution suiting this, or you will take a very offensive position against the entity which it is not possible to assimilate. This offense can go to the point of physical extermination; this is a dreadful possibility. There were some writers, like Gündüz Aktan, who defended the idea of expelling Kurds.

But there is a discourse claming Kurds and Turks are interwoven despite there being some claims of a possible low-intensity civil war. How is this possible psychologically?

Unfortunately there is a possibility like this. To what extent is it serious? It depends on what will happen in the upcoming few years. Look, it has been said that 'we are recognizing the Kurdish reality,' but this is not sincere. If this was the reality then for example to open a Kurdish course would not turn into torture. If there was sincere recognition, then there should have been a discourse saying, 'We've denied it until now and now, let's face up to it.' If the current attitude does not change we could expect blind, intensive, angry outbursts from the Kurdish side, which could even originate outside the Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK].

In the last 20 years, the Kurdish population has shifted its residential demographics ... . A huge part of it is poor and victim to a violent atmosphere. Their children are grown up now and they are at the age capable of violent acts. They are a generation full of anger, cynical and severely disappointed. Turkish society did not do that much to make their lives better. There will be a price for this. We may even one day miss the car arsons. There are millions of youngsters in this country who do not have anything to lose. There must be something done immediately about this pessimistic view. The bombing in Diyarbakir can be the first signal of this; it seems that the incident was only partly under the control of the PKK, but to what extent was it a decision of the central PKK? There could be actions and attacks which even the PKK cannot restrain even if it wants to.

What is the cure then?

The only way out of this situation, despite everything, is to confront the pain that has been postponed for a long time. The first thing to do is take this confrontation to the center, to find a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish-Turkish problem.
27.01.2008 Ayse Karabat Istanbul


Police Launch First Remarkable Crackdown On Deep State
Thirty-eight members of a crime gang, part of a shadowy network known as Ergenekon, were arrested last Tuesday. Ergenekon’s members are believed to have masterminded many attacks in Turkey whose perpetrators have not been found.

Four of the suspects, who include retired military generals, journalists and underground bosses, were released on Friday. The others have not yet been charged as they are still being interrogated. Police have found documents revealing the group’s plans, including a list of people to assassinate. Some names on the hit list include pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies Ahmet Türk, Leyla Zana and Sebahat Tuncel, Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and journalist Fehmi Koru, a regular columnist for Today’s Zaman. The investigation has found that the gang is linked to a clandestine phenomenon referred to as the “deep state” in Turkey that stages attacks using “behind-the-scene” paramilitary organizations such as Ergenekon to foment public opinion according its own political agenda. Ergenekon is the title of a legend that describes how Turks came into existence. The suspects detained in Tuesday’s operation include Veli Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials, the controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals that were at odds with Turkey’s official policies, Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel, Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aksam daily and Sami Hostan, a key figure in an investigation launched after a car accident in 1996 near the small town of Susurluk that uncovered links between a police chief, a convicted ultranationalist fugitive and a deputy. Ali Yasak, a well-known gangster linked to the figures in the Susurluk incident, was also detained in the operation, which has boosted hopes in Turkey about an eventual crackdown on the deep state -- an issue many governments have so far avoided coming face to face with.

Jan. 19

* Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Agos daily in Istanbul’s Sisli district to mark the first anniversary of the death of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot dead by an ultranationalist youth in 2007. The protestors demanded that the investigation into his killing to be carried out thoroughly.

* President Abdullah Gül, in Syria for an official visit, and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, stressed the need to achieve peace in the Middle East in a meeting in Damascus. It was Gül’s first visit to Syria since assuming power in August.

* Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticized the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State, stressing that no one should see himself as above the will of Parliament. “No one should try to put pressure on political parties,” he said.

* A statement posted on the General Staff’s Web site said mistakes may be made within any institution, adding that administrative and judicial processes should be completed in regards to the Daglica attack, in which 12 Turkish soldiers were martyred last year. “The Turkish Armed Forces [TSK], which has the virtue to criticize itself when necessary, has been investigating the attack in full detail,” read the statement.

Jan. 20

* Three terrorists who escaped from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) surrendered to security forces in Silopi, in the southeastern province of Sirnak, a statement posted on the Web site of the General Staff announced.

* Human Rights Watch urged Turkey to press Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to end rights abuses in the remote Darfur region when he made his first state visit to Turkey this week. It’s surprising that the Turkish government has chosen to honor a foreign leader responsible for massive human rights violations, Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at the New York-based rights group, said in a statement.

* A Turkish court once again blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube, and reports suggested that the ban was a response to clips that allegedly insult Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the country’s founding father. This was the second time that access to the famous Web site was blocked in Turkey for similar reasons.

Jan. 21

* Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who came to Turkey for an official visit, defended the appointment of a suspected militia leader accused of atrocities in the Darfur region to a senior government position at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül. Gül called on “everyone to actively work to end the human tragedy in Darfur.”

* Several dead chickens tested positive for the bird flu virus in a northern Turkish village, Agriculture authorities said, adding that further tests were underway to determine the virus strain. The chickens were found dead in Saz, a village in Zonguldak province.

* The Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) published the results of a recently conducted census, showing Turkey’s population to be slightly over 70 million. Interior Minister Besir Atalay announced that according to the Address-Based Birth Recording System (ADNKS), Turkey’s population stood at 70,586,256 as of the end of 2007.

* Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit met with his British counterpart, Gen. Richard Dannet, in London for talks focusing mostly on Turkey’s fight against terrorism. Aerial strikes by the Turkish military against the PKK in northern Iraq, under way since mid-December, were an issue on the agenda of the closed-door talks.

* As changes proposed to the controversial Article 301 brought about serious conflict between Cabinet ministers as well as senior members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the justice minister decided to take the changes to Parliament as a Justice Ministry proposal, rather than a government proposal.

* Turkish stocks tumbled 6.40 percent on average amidst a regional market sell-off sparked by investor pessimism over a US government stimulus plan to prevent a recession. The Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) benchmark index, the IMKB-100, dove 3,113.38 points to 45,544.08 at the close of trading on Jan. 18; the index hit a low point of 44,704.73 points during the day, reaching 47,410.11 points at the highest.

Jan. 22

* The Supreme Court of Appeals nullified a local court ruling that dropped a civil suit against Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk for his controversial remarks about Armenian allegations of genocide that were published in a Swiss magazine in 2005.

* Thirty-three suspects accused of being a part of a gang that has links to renegade groups hidden within the state hierarchy were taken into custody by the Istanbul Police Department’s counterterrorism unit. The 33 individuals taken into custody included Veli Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials.

* Turkey was visited by 23.3 million foreign nationals last year, a 17.8 percent increase over 2006, according to a report released by the TurkStat. Last year 23.3 million foreign passport holders entered Turkey, compared to 19.8 million in 2006, according to the report.

Jan. 23

* Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a plan to attend the 2008 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, which was held in the Swiss resort of Davos. The last-minute cancellation by Erdogan was due to his packed schedule in Turkey, said officials from his office, without elaborating.

* Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who was the first Greek prime minister to visit Turkey in the past 49 years, met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The leaders discussed progress in relations between the former rivals as well as persisting problems in the political sphere plaguing the ties for decades. Karamanlis also met with President Abdullah Gül and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal.

* The ruling AK Party gave the cold shoulder to a proposal floated by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to amend Article 10 of the Constitution to resolve Turkey’s long-standing headscarf problem, saying that two other articles in the Constitution also need to be amended for an uncontroversial solution. After reviewing the MHP’s proposal, the AK Party said that amending only this article would not bring a final solution to the headscarf problem and that articles 13 and 42 also needed to be amended.

* Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan announced the final budget figures for 2007 at a press conference in Ankara. The Turkish economy is strong enough to respond to global crises, Unakitan stated, stressing that the current economic gloom can be handled properly and without panic.

Jan. 24

* One police officer and four suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in a clash as police raided houses allegedly belonging to the terrorist organization in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.

* The ruling AK Party and opposition MHP reached an agreement to lift the ban on the headscarf on university campuses, party officials announced. The parties decided to amend Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution to remove the ban.

* Access in Turkey to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube resumed, six days after a court ordered it blocked because of clips allegedly insulting the country’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Jan. 25

* President Abdullah Gül said he backed the government’s proposal to lift a ban on the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in universities during a visit to his hometown, Kayseri. “Universities should not be places of political controversy. Beliefs should be practiced freely at universities,” Gül told a news conference.

* Discussions on the details of amendments to two constitutional articles to abolish the headscarf ban at universities as agreed upon by the ruling AK Party and the opposition MHP on Thursday will take place next week, party officials said. The postponement of the talks resulted from the fact that the AK Party has not yet finalized its studies.

* Nearly 15 million children along with some 600,000 teachers wrapped up the first half of the 2007-08 school year, with students being issued their half-year report cards. The second semester of the school year begins on Feb. 11, with the three-month summer vacation starting on June 13.

* Turkey’s former European 1,500-meter champion, Süreyya Ayhan Kop, was banned for life from competition by the Turkish Athletics Federation’s Disciplinary Committee, after testing positive for banned substances last September.
27.01.2008


Hopes Shallow In Fight Against Deep Gangs
Shadowy networks within the state have long been an open sore for Turkish society in the eyes of most observers, but many experts doubt that Tuesday's police crackdown on a clandestine group called "Ergenekon," suspected of involvement in a number of killings, will encourage the state to act courageously to do away with such gangs.

Ret. Capt. Muzaffer Tekin (far left), together with Ret. Maj. Gen. Veli Küçük (wearing a cap), and lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz (second from right) at a ceremony on April 9, 2006.

Dozens of suspects were detained by the Istanbul Police Department's counterterrorism unit in the Ergenekon Operation on Jan. 22. Investigators believe they are members of a gang that has links to renegade groups hidden within the state hierarchy. Further investigation has suggested that the gang in question was plotting to kill Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk.

Despite this breakthrough, many experts remain skeptical. "I believe the Ergenekon Operation will not bring with it great success in rooting out gangs," says Mehmet Elkatmis, head of the parliamentary commission on the infamous "Susurluk" case.

The term "deep state," referring to renegade powers inside the state, became popular after a car accident in 1996 -- widely known as the Susurluk incident -- in which a member of Parliament and a senior police official were traveling together with a fugitive ultranationalist. The incident made it clear that national intelligence units employ gangs to do their dirty work. Several people have been taken into custody in the investigation of the Susurluk gang -- and in dozens of similar cases -- but most of the key suspects have been released.

Observers note that many of those detained in the Ergenekon Operation have suspicious links to the Susurluk gang.

"When I remember what happened to people who attempted to take courageous steps to eliminate gangs, I lose my hope that such illegal groups will be rooted out one day," Elkatmis says.

According to data recently released by the national police, more than 4,000 operations have been launched against criminal gangs in the last ten years, resulting in the detention of approximately 35,000 people.

"In fact, everyone is aware of the existence of gangs. It is not such a big burden to crack down on these illegal formations as long as the state acts courageously to this end. Gangs have connections inside the security forces, the judiciary and in political circles. Gangs cannot exist without their support," Elkatmis said.

In 229 operations carried out in 2006, approximately 3,000 gang members were arrested.

95 gangs were broken up in operations last year, and 1,230 people in connection with these criminal formations were arrested, which increased the number of those arrested for suspected links with gangs in two years to 4,273.

However, data released by the Justice Ministry reveals that Turkey is not successful in punishing those captured for suspicious links to criminal organizations. Out of about 75,000 inmates kept in Turkey’s prisons, only 1,500 are members of criminal organizations, proving that a great majority of those detained in these police crackdowns are quickly released.

A former police chief assigned to protect former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit and Democratic Left Party (DSP) Istanbul deputy Recai Birgün say gangs have always existed in Turkey and that governments sometimes conduct operations against these illegal formations.

“We all know that an operation has recently been carried out against a gang -- specifically the Ergenekon gang. But we all ignore the reasons that entice people toward gangs. Unemployment prepares a unique ground for gangs and other illegal organizations. The ones who administer criminal gangs and mastermind assassinations are all wealthy people. But the assassins are usually poor and unemployed youth. They usually come from families with shoestring budgets,” Birgün said.

Elkatmis says the state is not courageous enough to extend the scope of the fight against clandestine groups. He adds that Turkey cannot carry out a widespread judicial investigation into political and military corruption as Italy did in its “Clean Hands” operation, which swept through Italy’s political system in the early 1990s, rooting out many dirty politicians and businessmen. It led to the demise of the so-called “First Republic,” resulting in the disappearance of many political parties. Some politicians and industry leaders committed suicide after their crimes were exposed.

“Those who show determination to fight against such illegal formations become the victims of assassinations, whose perpetrators and masterminds are usually not captured,” noted Elkatmis.

When events related to the struggle against criminal organizations in the last few years are taken into consideration, it becomes evident that Elkatmis is right in his remarks. Many prominent figures have faced unfortunate fates.

Ugur Mumcu, a leading figure in investigative journalism, Gaffar Okan, a former Diyarbakir security chief, Yasar Günaydin, a former prosecutor for the State Security Court (DGM) and Dogan Öz, a former Ankara chief prosecutor, were assassinated as they were investigating the links between gangs and the deep state.

Former Interior Minister Sadettin Tantan and former national police intelligence chiefs Hanefi Avci and Bülent Orakoglu were removed from office, and noncommissioned gendarme Hüseyin Oguz, one of the most important witnesses in the Susurluk investigation, was sent to prison. Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya was removed from office while investigating a bombing case in Semdinli.

Salih Dayioglu, a former deputy chairman of a commission established to probe gangs, says criminal gangs have multiplied in the last few years -- particularly due to a lack of authority within the state: “The desire to make a lot of money in a short amount of time prepares an excellent ground for gangs to sprout. Gangs cannot exist without support from military and civilian bureaucrats and politicians. Thus, they aim at forming their networks within the state.”

Emphasizing that gangs have always existed in Turkey, Dayioglu says governments and politicians turn a blind eye to their existence and activities. “Gang leaders pretend that they work for the benefit and interest of the state, but they do the greatest harm to the state,” he adds.

Former Interior Minister Tantan agrees. He maintains that those who govern the country condone the growing influence of gangs on the state: “If corruption, gambling, prostitution and all sorts of smuggling is so widespread in this country, then it means a favorable atmosphere exists for gangs to flourish. Corruption leaves the country defenseless against all kinds of illegal organizations.”

Stressing that members of criminal organizations are not punished as they should be, Tantan said gang leaders are sure they will be released without being sentenced to a prison term even if they are captured.

Tantan notes that a number of prominent figures have been assassinated by gangs. Several commissions have been established to dissipate the shroud of mist behind these assassinations, but they have failed to yield positive results.

During Tantan’s term in office Turkey introduced heavy penalties for crimes committed by gang members. A total of 16 operations were launched against gangs between 1999 and 2002. Some 30,000 gang members were arrested in these operations.

There were also many well-known names among those taken into custody for participating in organized crime, including famous folk singer Ibrahim Tatlises and fashion model Tugba Özay. Some state undersecretaries, businessmen, judges and prosecutors were also arrested.

The police revealed that many renowned figures in Turkey had close relations with well-known gangs and gang leaders. Documents obtained by the police showed that many people who believed that justice could not be obtained through legal means appealed to criminal organizations to solve their problems. They also indicated that the unregistered economy provided the means of financing for such organizations.

Sadettin Elibol, a sociologist, believes the most important factor behind the existence of clandestine gangs is poverty: “Not everyone received a fair share of the economic growth. While some people’s wealth hit the stratosphere, some others were left in poverty and in time they lost their faith in the state.”

Elibol adds that gangs have flourished, supporting polarization in society:. “People started to distance themselves from common values, and became exposed to different manipulations. Some circles are constantly focusing on differences and fomenting separation.”
27.01.2008 Ercan Yavuz, Betül Akkaya, Ankara, Istanbul


Young Activists Question Judiciary Over Youtube Ban
Last week, access to popular Web site YouTube was blocked by two court orders due to a video that insulted Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

Members of the 3H Movement (Freedom, Rule of Law and Tolerance) youth activist organization appealed to a higher court to stop the YouTube ban. The ban was lifted but, surprisingly, a Sivas court issued another ban, one that sparked anger nationwide. "A YouTube ban is not the end of the world, but it shows the mentality and the quality standards of Turkey's judiciary," says the Kür?at Çetinköz, the chairman of the 3H Movement, in an interview with Today's Zaman.

Çetinköz says: "In the morning we hear, 'Ooh, YouTube is closed'; in the evening 'Ooh YouTube is open.' What is even funnier is that the video that was the subject of the ban is still there. The judges take YouTube as one of the newspaper Web sites -- which means when you open it the videos that insult Atatürk automatically run. In fact, there are more than 60 million videos on YouTube and many more videos are added every minute, so one must search insistently to find these specific videos. Therefore I have a feeling that the judiciary staff does not have proper knowledge about the Internet."

"No matter how perfect the laws made in Parliament may be, if the mentality and the standards of quality of the judiciary are not improved, restrictions on freedoms and rights always will be inevitable. Even if you change the famous Article 301 of the penal code toward a more liberal and tolerant [wording] or totally amend constitutional law in a perfect way, implementations will still be a question. There will be some judges who rule to restrict freedoms. [There is] no blame assigned to them; interpretation is very important in the rule of law. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice should take measures to improve the standards of judicial staff. They should be linked with modern technology; they should be more involved in daily life. Maybe they have too much work and are lost behind cases and files," he said.

He suggests that projects be created for sending judges and prosecutors to EU countries to give them "some fresh air" and the chance to learn from the experience of other countries.

Amidst last week's strong reactions against the YouTube ban, there was heavy criticism of a law known as the Internet Crimes Law. Some experts said the courts are doing their job and that this law must be questioned. Emin Türksoy, a young member of the 3H Movement, disagrees: "No deputy in the world can foresee what the Internet will be like even in the next few months. Therefore, politicians are not in a position to say that we make perfect laws. Even computer specialists cannot predict what will come next; therefore, politicians should only consider two things when making laws and regulations. The first is 'Is this law rational?' and the second is 'Is it in compliance with freedoms and basic human rights?' If the answer is yes, then it is a perfect law. Otherwise , trying to … bring every detail of life into the law is not rational. It is not possible, and Parliament cannot compete with the speed of the Internet, anyway," Türksoy argues.

Yigitalp Turgutalp, another member of the 3H Movement, is more practical. He says if the prosecutors and judges simply asked their own children about YouTube before making their decision they probably would have come to a more logical conclusion. Because, he says, "YouTube is an incredible archive not to be sacrificed for a single stupid video."
31.01.2008 Yusuf Ünal ISTANBUL


Foreign Ties In Ergenekon
Everyone was traitorous while they were patriotic. They gave this name to their organization, calling themselves nationalists. While they had diverse ideological references, they would unite in their national sentiments.

They would say the country was being lost and that it was their duty to stop this by any means necessary. They were accusing their opponents of collaborating with the US. But they themselves would go to Washington secretly and establish contact with the most sinister figures. But only a few people would know the number of their international contacts. A meeting held last summer at the Hudson Institute served to reveal the true face of these people. This nationalist organization also had strong ties with secret services. According to news reports, retired Col. Fikri Karadag, the chairman of the Kuvva-i Milliye Association, had made phone calls and exchanged e-mails with CIA and MOSSAD agents. This is the pitiful portrait of the nationalist groups that call every other person a traitor.
31.01.2008 Abdülhamit Bilici, Zaman


Yavuz Baydar y.baydar@todayszaman.com
Detox For The State
"One of the main reasons Turkish democracy is limping -- or rather flying on one wing -- is the lack of resolve of the elected to deal collectively with organized crime in Turkey.
It operates in the disguise of nationalist sentiments or of myths based on fear. It spreads cancer in the body politic; it paralyzes the notions of individual freedoms and internal security. It threatens to unleash further instability here by feeding hatred. To be able to give strength to the weakest link in the chain of democracy, namely the rule of law, the elected government's urgent duty must be to penetrate into all sorts of organized crime -- its very existence and efficiency depend upon it."

This quote is from an earlier column of mine, published a couple weeks before the national elections in July last year. Having witnessed an ongoing horror show of attacks against individuals in Turkey over the past decades, the only thing a journalist can do is to point to the malaise, with deep skepticism about seeing any cure.

The malaise, which is probably the main source that causes paralysis in dealing with the chronic issues of this country, stems from the lack of will, civilian courage and appropriate tools to deal with the national evil, namely formations of political mafia -- often state sponsored mechanisms that commit organized crime in the name of saving the nation. Some call it "deep state" because of how it is sponsored and franchised. Others call it "counter-guerilla" because of its links to the Cold War past.

The latest terminology came last week from the Istanbul prosecutors, who launched a massive, rather unprecedented operation against a group of well-known individuals who are suspected of planning coups, the latest of which was to be staged in 2009.

They called the formation Ergenekon "a terror organization." Never before had we seen such a label. Many now hope that the entire investigation, which encompasses the arrests of former army officers, gangsters, a columnist, lawyers, etc., will be conducted as seriously as the label itself.

Let us repeat: Turkey is undergoing a change -- some would argue "for the better" and others "for the worse" -- and this latest operation means much more than it may first appear to. It has to do with dealing with the ghosts of the past and also with the remaining illegal groups of the present. The crimes in the name of protecting certain aspects of the republic have been made public even by state officials as well as a vigorous press, which refused to be silence even in the worst of times.

When a car accident led to a revelation that state security officials were involved with the figures of the underworld in 1996 in the famous Susurluk incident, a governor prepared a report for the prime minister about it; Kutlu Savas presented the report to Mesut Yilmaz, and it did not take long for the public to learn that "there was truly something rotten in the republic." Some parts of the report are still classified but even the unclassified portion of it is enough to conclude that there is a state within the state, which operates without the control of the elected.

Mainly full of fear, no administration dared to deal with the elements that we knew were responsible for assassinations, extra-judiciary killings, bombings, disinformation, etc. This has been vital knowledge for such illegal networks.

Now, we face an investigation which was launched after the murders of Hrant Dink and those in Malatya and allegedly has to do with both. There are details about a murder plot against the author Orhan Pamuk. All the figures uncovered in the investigation have been involved in subversive activities to stage a coup since 2002, namely when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) took over after election victory. Other details suggest that this investigation, led by a brave attorney who has faced serious threats, only has to deal with the "civilian wing" of the formation. This means we will have to wait and see how far this will go. The Taraf daily reported that there are "many more names" even within the army.

We still do not know how close we were to a coup d'etat. But those who are investigating should know. It is, let us repeat, high time for the state to undergo a long overdue "detox." If it does not, no citizen (including those in high positions) will ever feel secure.
27.01.2008


Ex-Anti-terror General Sent to Jail, Along With Companions
Retired General Veli Küçük, notorious for alleged connections with scores of unresolved extra-judicial executions while on duty, is sent to jail for involvement in ultra-nationalist terror campaign.

BIA Haber Merkezi 27-01-2008

Retired Major General Veli Kücük, nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, retired Colonel Fikri Karadag, and Turkish Orthodox Patriarchy spokesperson Sevgi Erenerol, along with 9 other companions are sent to jail by Istanbul court order late Sunday night, under charges for “attempt at armed insrurrection.”

Küçük is the highest ever link brought to justice in the chain of ultra-nationalist terror campaign directed at Kurdish nationalists and human and minority rights activists, during the past decade.

Investigative joutnalists and human rights reporters and activists had during the turbulent years of intense fighting between the armed forces and the Kurdish guerrilla PKK pointed their fingers to gendarme intelligence officers for the extra-jucicial executions and arsons and sabotages what caused the lives of hundreds of politicians, rights activists and journalists. Veli Küçük is known as the organizer of the JITEM ( Gedarme Intellgence and Ani-Terror), the existence of which is officially denied.

Also jailed are retired major Zekeriya Öztürk and, Muhammed Yüce, Kahraman Sahin, Erol Ölmez and Erkut Ersoy as mabers of the clandestine organization. They were among 33 suspects who were taken from their homes on Tuesday (22 January) under charges of forming a clandestine group to plot against the government, and attempts at the lives of Kurdish politicians, as well as storing weapons in a secret arsenal, discovered last year.

Lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is the defense lawyer of Yasin Hayal, a murder suspect in the Hrant Dink case, Aksam newspaper journalist Güler Kömürcü, were among the 20 released after testifying at court.

"I feel extremely offended for having been charged with terrosit activities after acting as an attorney in cases filed against terrorists, “Lawyer Fuat Turgut told journalists after his release

According to reports leaking from the court and the police the investigation extends to scores of bombings, and killings including the Hrant Dink murder as well as that of the attack on the State Council in Ankara in 2006, when one judge was killed and four wounded. The hand granades thrown at the Cumhuriyet newspaper, last year were found to be of the same series with those discovered in the clandestine arsenal.
Nationalist connections and the "Deep State"

Fourteen people had been arrested previously, including retired military captain Muzaffer Tekin and writer Ergün Poyraz. Tekin has been alleged to have been involved in the planning of the attack on the State Council.

Lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, known for causing the trials of writers like Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak under Article 301 and for attempting to become a third-party plaintiff in the trial against Hrant Dink, was the defense lawyer for Tekin and Poyraz.

Veli Kücük’s name is linked to the notorious Susurluk scandal which rocked Turkey in 1996 and revealed connections between politicians, the police and organised crime. The scandal did much to confirm the public skepticism that a "deep state" controlled the country. Kücük is also related with threats against Hrant Dink. (EK)


To Fight With Gangs Needs To Fight With Our Genes
Ayse Karabat a.karabat@todayszaman.com
Since the police detained more than 30 people recently on suspicions that they are members of a shadowy clandestine network that seeks to create a chaotic atmosphere in Turkey to prepare for a military coup, millions of questions have been flying in the air.

First of all, we should keep in mind that these people have not been brought in front of a court yet. But maybe since we are so sure about the fact that these kinds of gangs have been a part of our political culture for years, almost everybody is convinced that they are involved with the Hrant Dink assassination, the slayings of missionaries in Malatya and the Danistay attack. But the first question that keeps everyone busy is not whether they are guilty or not, but if there is enough evidence.

The second question is the nature of the investigation. Is this an investigation against the "deep state" or is it an operation aiming at some elements of the deep state. Because when you look at the names of those under detention, the first thing you should notice is that they were so public. They were everywhere, they were making provocations against intellectuals, they were blaming everyone who was not with them, accusing almost everyone of being traitors. Maybe for this reason they came to the point of being unbearable for the real "deep state."

Another important question is to what extent this operation will go. For example, if they were aiming at a military coup, who would carry out this coup?

Everybody is also discussing whether the government will be brave enough to follow through to the end. Finally, will we be able to live in a country that is free of these kinds of gangs?

The pessimists are saying that the government, which is dragging its feet on dealing with Article 301, may not go any further. The optimists are recalling the victory speech Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made right after the July 22 elections. In this speech he promised to fight against such gangs.

All these questions and discussion points are right. But there are more questions to be asked. For example, will society show its reactions to these gangs and give the courage to the judiciary and security forces to go through to the end? Will society send the message of "enough" to those who are protecting these gangs?

What allows these gangs to survive is the understanding of their relation to the order of things in Turkey: The superiority of the law can be put aside, when it is necessary. A part of society is agreeing with this, too, because our sense of justice was harmed a long time ago. In general, we don't believe that our judiciary is functioning well. This is why instead of applying to the court when we have a problem, we prefer to solve it for ourselves. This is one of the main reasons that we have these gangs. Will society able to change this attitude and will we really be able to believe that everyone without any exception recognizes the superiority of the law?

Will the society change its mentality about the state? Will the society be brave enough to think that the state is just an entity composed of citizens -- citizens who are not only subjects but also individuals with rights? Once society accepts this fact, will it question the persons who are claiming that they are representing the state?

Strong belief -- or, to put it more correctly, strong perception of some state officials who think that they are above society -- is one of the main reasons for the existence of these gangs. Since some believe in this, the natural outcome is that citizens are not valuable and the law is something forgettable because ordinary citizens don't understand the state's affairs and don't have the ability to understand the high interests of the state. Will society, citizens who are totally aware of their rights, force a change in this understanding? Will society be brave enough to face up to its history and its understanding of negative nationalism, which creates countless 'others' as enemies?

These understandings have engrained themselves in society through the education system and became almost a part of our genes. Will we be brave enough to fight against our genes?

To get rid of these gangs, the right question is not if the government will be brave enough to go through to the end, but if the society will be brave enough to go through to the end.

Because, as Edmond Burke puts it, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
27.01.2008


Wrong Logic Dogu Ergil d.ergil@todayszaman.com

On Jan. 8, 2008 the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), a civilian affiliate of the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is acknowledged as a terrorist organization by the international community, issued a statement. This statement came right after a devastating bombing staged in Diyarbakir by the PKK, killing students and wounding dozens of others.

What I want to do is to present excerpts from this statement and show what a thwarted logic it employs to justify its existence and violence.

Statement: “The existence of the long-standing Kurdish problem in the Middle East is a reality. It is widely known that various social problems are occurring in Turkey, Iran and Syria as a result of the Kurdish problem.”

What is so innocently referred to as “social problems” is incessant armed attacks by the PKK and its sister organizations that cause destruction, misery and the loss of human life.

Statement: “We would like to solve the problem … not through violence but through dialogue and peaceful means, without affecting existing borders.”

The PKK previously used Syria and Iran as safe havens from which to attack Turkey at a time when these countries were using this organization in return for allowing them to settle their scores with Turkey. Now it uses Iraq to organize bloody forays into Turkey and Iran and still talk about the inviolability of borders. Furthermore if killing people and blowing up cities are “peaceful means,” there must be something wrong with this kind of reasoning that totally disavows moral values, at the core of which is human life. Indeed the PKK has developed a “teflon conscience” whereby its losses are deemed to be the murder of freedom fighters at the hands of the “fascist Turkish state” while the deaths of Turkish soldiers (some are of Kurdish extraction, simply performing their military duty) and policemen is fighting for freedom. The deaths of civilians, almost all Kurdish, as in Diyarbakir, is “collateral damage,” a term put into service by the US military to evade a human assessment of people killed in operations.

Statement: “The solution to the Kurdish problem will … have a great impact on the democratization of the region.”

There is no doubt that a solution to the “Kurdish problem” requires democracy. But the expectation of bringing democracy to a country at gunpoint is a fantasy, as we have witnessed in Iraq. Secondly, putting Turkey into the same bag with other neighboring countries in terms of the level of democracy is misleading. Although late and reluctantly, Kurdish cultural identity is acknowledged, and a political party, the Democratic Society Party (DTP), elected merely on ethnic grounds, is represented in Turkey’s Parliament.

Is this enough? No, but armed struggle to achieve political and cultural ends from this point on is self-denying. Most probably the DTP will lose the municipal elections due to the suicidal act of bombing Diyarbakir, the hub of the Kurdish-populated region in Turkey.

Statement: Our leader Abdullah Ocalan [who has been in prison since 1999], has … made calls for a cease-fire on many occasions.”

The organization is still taken with the charisma of a man who has been in prison for the past nine years. So it is virtually out of touch with the changing realities within and without the country. Secondly, “cease-fire” is a term of war, not of peace. You cannot persist with war and demand the democratic rights that you are preventing the creation of.

Statement: “The Turkish state is thus admitting that it is doing all in its power to destroy the cease-fire we declared.”

No state, no matter how peaceful and democratic it is, will allow armed men to roam its cities, countryside and mountains for any cause. This is a denial of the very authority and existence of a state that has a monopoly on violence for the sake of law enforcement. A government/state may have acted brutally and unjustly, but responding with violence only legitimizes state violence and expands the limits of aggression, destroying the fabric of the society.

Statement: “Using as an excuse their soldiers’ fatalities incurred in the guerrillas’ defensive actions, racism and militarism are being developed further in Turkish society.”

The armed organization so conveniently admits the murder of soldiers as if it is such a normal act of faith and declares its assault force as “defensive.” But when it comes to the modus of its so called “freedom fight,” we see mines, car bombs detonated by remote control, urban sabotage, ambushes of military and police troops and most recently car arsons in various cities. What kind of a freedom struggle is this?

While the organization is complaining about racism on the part of Turkish society, it has never developed a perspective except for punctuating ethnic identity and revengeful responses to official excesses.

This kind of reasoning evades moral responsibility and denies the very rights and freedoms demanded for itself to the “others” because they are not of the same ethnicity. Indeed the former chairman of the DTP, Ahmet Türk, wants a redefinition of the nation as a combination of Turks and Kurds. What about the others -- and there are many other ethnic groups in Turkey. But no, they are not as numerous as the Kurds, and they have not voiced their problems with this much bloodshed nor suffered as much in return.

When will we understand that democracy and human rights is not a matter of quantity but a quality we must all share just because we are human beings and citizens?
27.01.2008


Important Revelation By Babacan On Turkish-Armenian Relations
Ertugrul Özkök reports from Davos, Switzerland
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has made an important announcement to Hürriyet writer Ertugrul Özkök on Turkish-Armenian relations. Babacan stated that 70 thousand Armenians had immigrated to Turkey with the aim of seeking employment.

President Abdullah Gül had asserted during his term as foreign minister that the number of Armenian immigrants who had sought employment in Turkey was 40 thousand.

The following comment has been made in response to Babacan’s statement:

“The number of Armenians coming to Turkey to seek work doubled in time the short time that had passed, whereas at that time, global campaigns claiming a so-called ‘Armenian-massacre’ were being launched against Turkey.

The Armenian government opposed Turkey’s suggestion to ‘let historians decide’. The fact that the number of Armenians immigrating to Turkey has doubled regardless of ongoing debates is an indication that the people of both countries are drawing closer. Despite, in fact, the few who try to drive them further apart...
© Copyright 2006 Hürriyet


Listening To Grasshoppers-Genocide, Denial And Celebration
By Arundhati Roy 26 January, 2008 Countercurrents.org

I never met Hrant Dink, a misfortune that will be mine for time to come. From what I know of him, of what he wrote, what he said and did, how he lived his life, I know that had I been here in Istanbul a year ago I would have been among the one hundred thousand people who walked with his coffin in dead silence through the wintry streets of this city, with banners saying, "We are all Armenians", "We are all Hrant Dink". Perhaps I'd have carried the one that said, "One and a half million plus one".* [*One-and-a-half million is the number of Armenians who were systematically murdered by the Ottoman Empire in the genocide in Anatolia in the spring of 1915. The Armenians, the largest Christian minority living under Islamic Turkic rule in the area, had lived in Anatolia for more than 2,500 years.]

***
In a way, my battle is like yours. But while in Turkey there's silence, in India, there is celebration.
***

I wonder what thoughts would have gone through my head as I walked beside his coffin. Maybe I would have heard a reprise of the voice of Araxie Barsamian, mother of my friend David Barsamian, telling the story of what happened to her and her family. She was ten years old in 1915. She remembered the swarms of grasshoppers that arrived in her village, Dubne, which was north of the historic city Dikranagert, now Diyarbakir. The village elders were alarmed, she said, because they knew in their bones that the grasshoppers were a bad omen. They were right;
the end came in a few months, when the wheat in the fields was ready for harvesting.

"When we left...(we were) 25 in the family," Araxie Barsamian says. "They took all the men folks. They asked my father, 'Where is your ammunition?' He says, 'I sold it.' So they says, 'Go get it.' So he went to the Kurd town to get it, they beat him and took all his clothes. When he came back there-this my mother tells me story-when he came back there, naked body, he went in the jail, they cut his arms...so he die in jail.

And they took all the mens in the field, they tied their hands, and they shooted, killed every one of them."

Araxie and the other women in her family were deported. All of them perished except Araxie. She was the lone survivor.

This is, of course, a single testimony that comes from a history that is denied by the Turkish government, and many Turks as well.

I am not here to play the global intellectual, to lecture you, or to fill the silence in this country that surrounds the memory (or the forgetting) of the events that took place in Anatolia in 1915. That is what Hrant Dink tried to do, and paid for with his life.
***
Most genocidal killing from the 15th century onwards has been part of Europe's search for lebensraum.
***
The day I arrived in Istanbul, I walked the streets for many hours, and as I looked around, envying the people of Istanbul their beautiful, mysterious, thrilling city, a friend pointed out to me young boys in white caps who seemed to have suddenly appeared like a rash in the city. He explained that they were expressing their solidarity with the child-assassin who was wearing a white cap when he killed Hrant.

The battle with the cap-wearers of Istanbul, of Turkey, is not my battle, it's yours. I have my own battles to fight against other kinds of cap-wearers and torchbearers in my country. In a way, the battles are not all that different. There is one crucial difference, though. While in Turkey there is silence, in India there's celebration, and I really don't know which is worse.

In the state of Gujarat, there was a genocide against the Muslim community in 2002.

I use the word Genocide advisedly, and in keeping with its definition contained in Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The genocide began as collective punishment for an unsolved crime-the burning of a railway coach in which 53 Hindu pilgrims were burned to death. In a carefully planned orgy of supposed retaliation, 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered in broad daylight by squads of armed killers, organised by fascist militias, and backed by the Gujarat government and the administration of the day. Muslim women were gang-raped and burned alive.

Muslim shops, Muslim businesses and Muslim shrines and mosques were systematically destroyed. Some 1,50,000 people were driven from their homes.

Even today, many of them live in ghettos-some built on garbage heaps-with no water supply, no drainage, no streetlights, no healthcare. They live as second-class citizens, boycotted socially and economically. Meanwhile, the killers, police as well as civilian, have been embraced, rewarded, promoted. This state of affairs is now considered 'normal'. To seal the 'normality', in 2004, both Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, India's leading industrialists, publicly pronounced Gujarat a dream destination for finance capital.

The initial outcry in the national press has settled down. In Gujarat, the genocide has been brazenly celebrated as the epitome of Gujarati pride, Hindu-ness, even Indian-ness. This poisonous brew has been used twice in a row to win state elections, with campaigns that have cleverly used the language and apparatus of modernity and democracy. The helmsman, Narendra Modi, has become a folk hero, called in by the BJP to campaign on its behalf in other Indian states.

As genocides go, the Gujarat genocide cannot compare with the people killed in the Congo, Rwanda and Bosnia, where the numbers run into millions, nor is it by any means the first that has occurred in India. (In 1984, for instance, 3,000 Sikhs were massacred on the streets of Delhi with similar impunity, by killers overseen by the Congress Party.) But the Gujarat genocide is part of a larger, more elaborate and systematic vision. It tells us that the wheat is ripening and the grasshoppers have landed in mainland India.

It's an old human habit, genocide is. It has played a sterling part in the march of civilisation. Amongst the earliest recorded genocides is thought to be the destruction of Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War in 149 BC. The word itself-genocide-was coined by Raphael Lemkin only in 1943, and adopted by the United Nations in 1948, after the Nazi Holocaust. Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines it as:

"Any of the following Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part; imposing measures
intended to prevent births within the group; [or] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

Since this definition leaves out the persecution of political dissidents, real or imagined, it does not include some of the greatest mass murders in history. Personally I think the definition by Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, authors of The History and Sociology of Genocide, is more apt.

Genocide, they say, "is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator." Defined like this, genocide would include, for example, the monumental crimes committed by Suharto in Indonesia (1 million) Pol Pot in Cambodia (1.5 million), Stalin in the Soviet Union (60 million), Mao in China (70 million).

All things considered, the word extermination, with its crude evocation of pests and vermin, of infestations, is perhaps the more honest, more apposite word. When a set of perpetrators faces its victims, in order to go about its business of wanton killing, it must first sever any human connection with it. It must see its victims as sub-human, as parasites whose eradication would be a service to society. Here, for example, is an account of the massacre of Pequot Indians by English Puritans led by John Mason in Connecticut in 1636:

Those that escaped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyre, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente thereof, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice....

And here, approximately four centuries later, is Babu Bajrangi, one of the major lynchpins of the Gujarat genocide, recorded on camera in the sting operation mounted by Tehelka a few months ago:

We didn't spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire...hacked, burned, set on fire...we believe in setting them on fire because these bastards don't want to be cremated, they're afraid of it.... I have just one last wish...let me be sentenced to death...I don't care if I'm hanged...just give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have a field day in Juhapura where seven or eight lakhs of these people stay...I will finish them off...let a few more of them die...at least 25,000 to 50,000 should die.

I hardly need to say that Babu Bajrangi had the blessings of Narendra Modi, the protection of the police, and the love of his people. He continues to work and prosper as a free man in Gujarat. The one crime he cannot be accused of is Genocide Denial.

Genocide Denial is a radical variation on the theme of the old, frankly racist, bloodthirsty triumphalism. It was probably evolved as an answer to the somewhat patchy dual morality that arose in the 19th century, when Europe was developing limited but new forms of democracy and citizens' rights at home while simultaneously exterminating people in their millions in her colonies. Suddenly countries and governments began to deny or attempt to hide the genocides they had committed. "Denial is saying, in effect," says Professor Robert Jay Lifton, author of Hiroshima and America: Fifty Years of Denial, "that the murderers did not murder. The victims weren't killed. The direct consequence of denial is that it invites future genocide."

Of course today, when genocide politics meets the Free Market, official recognition-or denial-of holocausts and genocides is a multinational business enterprise. It rarely has anything to do to with historical fact or forensic evidence. Morality certainly does not enter the picture. It is an aggressive process of high-end bargaining, that belongs more to the World Trade Organisation than to the United Nations.

The currency is geopolitics, the fluctuating market for natural resources, that curious thing called futures trading and plain old economic and military might.

In other words, genocides are often denied for the same set of reasons as genocides are prosecuted. Economic determinism marinated in racial/ethnic/religious/national discrimination. Crudely, the lowering or raising of the price of a barrel of oil (or a tonne of uranium), permission granted for a military base, or the opening up of a country's economy could be the decisive factor when governments adjudicate on whether a genocide did or did not occur.

Or indeed whether genocide will or will not occur. And if it does, whether it will or will not be reported, and if it is, then what slant that reportage will take. For example, the death of two million in the Congo goes virtually unreported. Why? And was the death of a million Iraqis under the sanctions regime, prior to the US invasion, genocide (which is what Denis Halliday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, called it) or was it 'worth it', as Madeleine Albright, the US ambassador to the UN, claimed? It depends on who makes the rules. Bill Clinton? Or an Iraqi mother who has lost her child?

Since the United States is the richest and most powerful country in the world, it has assumed the privilege of being the World's Number One Genocide Denier. It continues to celebrate Columbus Day, the day Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas, which marks the beginning of a Holocaust that wiped out millions of native Indians, about 90 per cent of the original population. (Lord Amherst, the man whose idea it was to distribute blankets infected with smallpox virus to Indians, has a university town in Massachusetts, and a prestigious liberal arts college named after him).

In America's second Holocaust, almost 30 million Africans were kidnapped and sold into slavery. Well near half of them died during transportation. But in 2002, the US delegation could still walk out of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, refusing to acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade were crimes. Slavery, they insisted, was legal at the time. The US has also refused to accept that the bombing of Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden and Hamburg-which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians-were crimes, let alone acts of genocide. (The argument here is that the government didn't intend to kill civilians. This was the first stage in the development of the concept of "collateral damage".) Since the end of World War II, the US government has intervened overtly, militarily, more than 400 times in 100 countries, and covertly more than 6,000 times. This includes its invasion of Vietnam and the extermination, with excellent intentions of course, of three million Vietnamese (approximately 10 per cent of its population).

None of these has been acknowledged as war crimes or genocidal acts.

"The question is," says Robert MacNamara-whose career graph took him from the bombing of Tokyo in 1945 (1,00,000 dead overnight) to being the architect of the Vietnam War, to President of the World Bank-now sitting in his comfortable chair in his comfortable home in his comfortable country, "the question is, how much evil do you have to do in order to do good?"

Could there be a more perfect illustration of Robert Jay Lifton's point that the denial of genocide invites more genocide?

And what when victims become perpetrators? (In Rwanda, in the Congo?) What remains to be said about Israel, created out of the debris of one of the cruellest genocides in human history? What of its actions in the Occupied Territories? Its burgeoning settlements, its colonisation of
water, its new 'Security Wall' that separates Palestinian people from their farms, from their work, from their relatives, from their children's schools, from hospitals and healthcare? It is genocide in a fishbowl, genocide in slow motion-meant especially to illustrate that section of Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which says that genocide is any act that is designed to "deliberately inflict on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part".

The history of genocide tells us that it's not an aberration, an anomaly, a glitch in the human system.

Most of the genocidal killing from the 15th century onwards has been an integral part of Europe's search for what the Germans famously called Lebensraum-living space. Lebensraum was a word coined by the German geographer and zoologist Freidrich Ratzel to describe what he thought of as the dominant human species' natural impulse to expand its territory in its search for not just space, but sustenance. This impulse to expansion would naturally be at the cost of a less dominant species, a weaker species that Nazi ideologues believed should give way, or be made to give way, to the stronger one.

The idea of lebensraum was set out in precise terms in 1901, but Europe had already begun her quest for lebensraum 400 years earlier, when Columbus landed in America. The search for lebensraum also took Europeans to Africa: unleashing holocaust after holocaust. The Germans exterminated almost the entire population of the Hereros in Southwest Africa; while in the Congo, the Belgians' "experiment in commercial expansion" cost

10 million lives. By the last quarter of the 19th century, the British had exterminated the aboriginal people of Tasmania, and of most of Australia.

Sven Lindqvist, author of Exterminate the Brutes, argues that it was Hitler's quest for lebensraum-in a world that had already been carved up by other European countries-that led the Nazis to push through Eastern Europe and on toward Russia. The Jews of Eastern Europe and western Russia stood in the way of Hitler's colonial ambitions. Therefore, like the native
people of Africa and America and Asia, they had to be enslaved or liquidated. So, Lindqvist says, the Nazis' racist dehumanisation of Jews cannot be dismissed as a paroxysm of insane evil. Once again, it is a product of the familiar mix: economic determinism well marinated in age-old racism, very much in keeping with European tradition of the time.

It's not a coincidence that the political party that carried out the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, was called the Committee for Union & Progress.

'Union' (racial/ethnic/religious/national) and 'Progress' (economic determinism) have long been the twin coordinates of genocide.

Armed with this reading of history, is it reasonable to worry about whether a country that is poised on the threshold of "progress" is also poised on the threshold of genocide? Could the India being celebrated all over the world as a miracle of progress and democracy, possibly be poised on the verge of committing genocide? The mere suggestion might sound outlandish and, at this point of time, the use of the word genocide surely unwarranted. However, if we look to the future, and if the Tsars of Development believe in their own publicity, if they believe that There Is No Alternative to their chosen model for Progress, then they will inevitably have to kill, and kill in large numbers, in order to get their way.

Advani's chariot of fire: And so the Union project was launched

In bits and pieces, as the news trickles in, it seems clear that the killing and the dying has already begun.

It was in 1989, soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the Government of India turned in its membership of the Non-Aligned Movement and signed up for membership of the Completely Aligned, often referring to itself as the 'natural ally' of Israel and the United States. (They have at least this one thing in common-all three are engaged in overt, neo-colonial military occupations: India in Kashmir, Israel in Palestine, the US in Iraq.)

Almost like clockwork, the two major national political parties, the BJP and the Congress, embarked on a joint programme to advance India's version of Union and Progress, whose modern-day euphemisms are Nationalism and Development. Every now and then, particularly during elections, they stage noisy familial squabbles, but have managed to gather into their fold even grumbling relatives, like the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The Union project offers Hindu Nationalism (which seeks to unite the Hindu vote, vital you will admit, for a great democracy like India). The Progress project aims at a 10 per cent annual growth rate. Both these projects are encrypted with genocidal potential.

The Union project has been largely entrusted to the RSS, the ideological heart, the holding company of the BJP and its militias, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal. The RSS was founded in 1925. By the 1930s, its founder, Dr Hedgewar, a fan of Benito Mussolini, had begun to
model it overtly along the lines of Italian fascism. Hitler too was, and is, an inspirational figure. Here are some excerpts from the RSS Bible, We or Our Nationhood Defined by M.S. Golwalkar, who succeeded Dr Hedgewar as head of the RSS in 1940:

Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.

Then:

In Hindustan, land of the Hindus, lives and should live the Hindu Nation.... All others are traitors and enemies to the National Cause, or, to take a charitable view, idiots....

The foreign races in Hindustan...may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment-not even citizen's rights.

And again:

To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races-the Jews.

Race pride at its highest has been manifested here...a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.

(How do you combat this kind of organised hatred? Certainly not with goofy preachings of secular love.)

By the year 2000, the RSS had more than 45,000 shakhas and an army of seven million swayamsevaks preaching its doctrine across India. They include India's former prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the former home minister and current leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani, and, of
course, the three-times Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi. It also includes senior people in the media, the police, the army, the intelligence agencies, judiciary and the administrative services who are informal devotees of Hindutva-the RSS ideology. These people, unlike
politicians who come and go, are permanent members of government machinery.

But the RSS's real power lies in the fact that it has put in decades of hard work and has created a network of organisations at every level of society, something that no other organisation can claim.

The BJP is its political front. It has a trade union wing (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh), a women's wing (Rashtriya Sevika Samiti), a student wing (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) and an economic wing (Swadeshi Jagaran Manch).

Its front organisation Vidya Bharati is the largest educational organisation in the non-governmental sector. It has 13,000 educational institutes including the Saraswati Vidya Mandir schools with 70,000 teachers and over 1.7 million students. It has organisations working with tribals (Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram), literature (Akhil Bharatiya Sahitya Parishad), intellectuals (Pragya Bharati, Deendayal Research Institute), historians (Bharatiya Itihaas Sankalan Yojanalaya), language (Sanskrit Bharti), slum-dwellers (Seva Bharati, Hindu Seva Pratishthan), health (Swami Vivekanand Medical Mission, National Medicos Organisation), leprosy patients (Bharatiya Kushtha Nivaran Sangh), cooperatives (Sahkar Bharati), publication of newspapers and other propaganda material (Bharat Prakashan, Suruchi Prakashan, Lokhit Prakashan, Gyanganga Prakashan, Archana Prakashan, Bharatiya Vichar Sadhana, Sadhana Pustak and Akashvani Sadhana), caste integration (Samajik Samrasta Manch), religion and proselytisation (Vivekananda Kendra, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Jagaran Manch, Bajrang Dal). The list goes on and on...

On June 11, 1989, Congress prime minister Rajiv Gandhi gave the RSS a gift. He was obliging enough to open the locks of the disputed Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, which the RSS claimed was the birthplace of Lord Ram. At the National Executive of the BJP, the party passed a resolution to demolish the mosque and build a temple in Ayodhya. "I'm sure the resolution will translate into votes," said L.K. Advani. In 1990, he criss-crossed the country on his Rath Yatra, his Chariot of Fire, demanding the demolition of the Babri Masjid, leaving riots and bloodshed in his wake. In 1991, the party won 120 seats in Parliament. (It had won two in 1984). The hysteria orchestrated by Advani peaked in 1992, when the mosque was brought down by a marauding mob. By 1998, the BJP was in power at the Centre. Its first act in office was to conduct a series of nuclear tests. Across the country, fascists and corporates, princes and paupers alike, celebrated India's Hindu Bomb. Hindutva had transcended petty party politics.

In 2002, Narendra Modi's government planned and executed the Gujarat genocide. In the elections that took place a few months after the genocide, he was returned to power with an overwhelming majority. He ensured complete impunity for those who had participated in the killings. In the rare case where there has been a conviction, it is of course the lowly footsoldiers, and not the masterminds, who stand in the dock.

Impunity is an essential prerequisite for genocidal killing.

India has a great tradition of granting impunity to mass killers. I could fill volumes with the details.

In a democracy, for impunity after genocide, you have to "apply through proper channels". Procedure is everything. In the case of several massacres, the lawyers that the Gujarat government appointed as public prosecutors had actually already appeared for the accused. Several of them belonged to the RSS or the VHP and were openly hostile to those they were supposedly representing. Survivor witnesses found that, when they went to the police to file reports, the police would record their statements inaccurately, or refuse to record the names of the perpetrators. In several cases, when survivors had seen members of their families being killed (and burned alive so their bodies could not be found), the police would refuse to register cases of murder.

Ehsan Jaffri, the Congress politician and poet who had made the mistake of campaigning against Modi in the Rajkot elections, was publicly butchered. (By a mob led by a fellow Congressman.) In the words of a man who took part in the savagery:

Five people held him, then someone struck him with a sword...chopped off his hand, then his legs...then everything else...after cutting him to pieces, they put him on the wood they'd piled and set him on fire. Burned him alive.

The Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police, P.C. Pandey, was kind enough to visit the neighbourhood while the mob lynched Jaffri, murdered 70 people, and gang-raped 12 women before burning them alive. After Modi was re-elected, Pandey was promoted, and made Gujarat's Director-General of Police. The entire killing apparatus remains in place.

The Supreme Court in Delhi made a few threatening noises, but eventually put the matter into cold storage. The Congress and the Communist parties made a great deal of noise, but did nothing.

In the Tehelka sting operation, broadcast recently on a news channel at prime time, apart from Babu Bajrangi, killer after killer recounted how the genocide had been planned and executed, how Modi and senior politicians and police officers had been personally involved. None of this information was new, but there they were, the butchers, on the news networks, not just admitting to, but boasting about their crimes. The overwhelming public reaction to the sting was not outrage, but suspicion about its timing. Most people believed that the expose would help Modi win the elections again. Some even believed, quite outlandishly, that he had engineered the sting. He did win the elections. And this time, on the ticket of Union and Progress. A committee all unto himself. At BJP rallies, thousands of adoring supporters now wear plastic Modi masks, chanting slogans of death. The fascist democrat has physically mutated into a million little fascists. These are the joys of democracy. Who in Nazi Germany would have dared to put on a Hitler mask?

Preparations to recreate the 'Gujarat blueprint' are currently in different stages in the BJP-ruled states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

To commit genocide, says Peter Balkian, scholar of the Armenian genocide, you have to marginalise a sub-group for a long time. This criterion has been well met in India. The Muslims of India have been systematically marginalised and have now joined the Adivasis and Dalits, who have not just been marginalised, but dehumanised by caste Hindu society and its scriptures, for years, for centuries. (There was a time when they were dehumanised in order to be put to work doing things that caste Hindus would not do.

Now, with technology, even that labour is becoming redundant.) Part of the RSS's work involves setting Dalits against Muslims, Adivasis against Dalits.

While the 'people' were engaged with the Union project and its doctrine of hatred, India's Progress project was proceeding apace. The new regime of privatisation and liberalisation resulted in the sale of the country's natural resources and public infrastructure to private corporations. It has created an unimaginably wealthy upper class and growing middle classes who have naturally become militant evangelists for the new dispensation.

The Progress project has its own tradition of impunity and subterfuge, no less horrific than the elaborate machinery of the Union project. At the heart of it lies the most powerful institution in India, the Supreme Court, which is rapidly becoming a pillar of Corporate Power, issuing order after order allowing for the building of dams, the interlinking of rivers, indiscriminate mining, the destruction of forests and water systems. All of this could be described as ecocide-a prelude perhaps to genocide. (And to criticise the court is a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment).

Ironically, the era of the free market has led to the most successful secessionist struggle ever waged in India-the secession of the middle and upper classes to a country of their own, somewhere up in the stratosphere where they merge with the rest of the world's elite. This Kingdom in the Sky is a complete universe in itself, hermetically sealed from the rest of India. It has its own newspapers, films, television programmes, morality plays, transport systems, malls and intellectuals. And in case you are beginning to think it's all joy-joy, you're wrong. It also has its own tragedies, its own environmental issues (parking problems, urban air pollution); its own class struggles. An organisation called Youth for Equality, for example, has taken up the issue of Reservations, because it feels Upper Castes are discriminated against by India's pulverised Lower Castes. It has its own People's Movements and candle-light vigils (Justice for Jessica, the model who was shot in a bar) and even its own People's Car (the Wagon for the Volks launched by the Tata Group recently). It even has its own dreams that take the form of TV advertisements in which Indian CEOs (smeared with Fair & Lovely Face Cream, Men's) buy over international corporations, including an imaginary East India Company. They are ushered into their plush new offices by fawning white women (who look as though they're longing to be laid, the final prize of conquest) and applauding white men, ready to make way for the new kings. Meanwhile, the crowd in the stadium roars to its feet (with credit cards in
its pockets) chanting 'India! India!'

But there is a problem, and the problem is lebensraum. A Kingdom needs its lebensraum. Where will the Kingdom in the Sky find lebensraum? The Sky Citizens look towards the Old Nation. They see Adivasis sitting on the bauxite mountains of Orissa, on the iron ore in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. They see the people of Nandigram (Muslims, Dalits) sitting on prime land, which really ought to be a chemical hub. They see thousands of acres of farm land, and think, these really ought to be Special Economic Zones for our industries; they see the rich fields of Singur and know this really ought to be a car factory for the People's Car. They think: that's our bauxite, our iron ore, our uranium. What are those people doing on our land? What's our water doing in their rivers? What's our timber doing in their trees?

If you look at a map of India's forests, its mineral wealth and the homelands of the Adivasi people, you'll see that they're stacked up over each other.

So, in reality, those who we call poor are the truly wealthy. But when the Sky Citizens cast their eyes over the land, they see superfluous people sitting on precious resources. The Nazis had a phrase for them-überzahligen Essern, superfluous eaters.

The struggle for lebensraum, Friedrich Ratzel said after closely observing the struggle between Native Indians and their European colonisers in North America, is an annihilating struggle. Annihilation doesn't necessarily mean the physical extermination of people-by bludgeoning, beating, burning, bayoneting, gassing, bombing or shooting them. (Except sometimes. Particularly when they try to put up a fight. Because then they become Terrorists.) Historically, the most efficient form of genocide has been to displace people from their homes, herd them together and block their access to food and water. Under these conditions, they die without obvious violence and often in far greater numbers. "The Nazis gave the Jews a star on their coats and crowded them into 'reserves'," Sven Lindqvist writes, "just as the Indians, the Hereros, the Bushmen, the Amandabele, and all the other children of the stars had been crowded together. They died on their own when food supply to the reserves was cut off."

The historian Mike Davis says that between 12 million and 29 million people starved to death in India in the great famine between 1876 and 1892, while Britain continued to export food and raw material from India. In a democracy, Amartya Sen says, we are unlikely to have Famine. So in place of China's Great Famine, we have India's Great Malnutrition. (India hosts 57 million-more than a third-of the world's undernourished children.)

With the possible exception of China, India today has the largest population of internally displaced people in the world. Dams alone have displaced more than 30 million people. The displacement is being enforced with court decrees or at gunpoint by policemen, by government-controlled militias or corporate thugs. (In Nandigram, even the CPI(M) had its own
armed militia.) The displaced are being herded into tenements, camps and resettlement colonies where, cut off from a means of earning a living, they spiral into poverty.

In the state of Chhattisgarh, being targeted by corporates for its wealth of iron ore, there's a different technique. In the name of fighting Maoist rebels, hundreds of villages have been forcibly evacuated and almost 40,000 people moved into police camps. The government is arming some of them, and has created Salwa Judum, a 'people's militia'. While the poorest fight the poorest, in conditions that approach civil war, the Tata and Essar groups have been quietly negotiating for the rights to mine iron ore in Chhattisgarh. Can we establish a connection? We wouldn't dream of it. Even though the Salwa Judum was announced a day after the Memorandum of Understanding between the Tata Group and the government was signed.

It's not surprising that very little of this account of events makes it into the version of the New India currently on the market. That's because what is on sale is another form of denial-the creation of what Robert Jay Lifton calls a "counterfeit universe". In this universe, systemic horrors are converted into temporary lapses, attributable to flawed individuals, and a more 'balanced' happier world is presented in place of the real one. The balance is spurious: often Union and Progress are set off against each other, a liberal-secular critique of the Union project being used to legitimise the depredations of the Progress project. Those at the top of the food chain, those who have no reason to want to alter the status quo, are most likely to be the manufacturers of the "counterfeit universe".

Their job is to patrol the border, diffuse rage, delegitimise anger, and broker a ceasefire.

Consider the response of Shahrukh Khan to a question about Narendra Modi. "I don't know him personally...I have no opinion...," he says. "Personally they have never been unkind to me." Ramachandra Guha, liberal historian and founding member of the New India Foundation, a corporate-funded trust, advises us in his book-as well as in a series of highly publicised interviews-that the Gujarat government is not really fascist, and the genocide was just an aberration that has corrected itself after elections.

Editors and commentators in the 'secular' national press, having got over their outrage at the Gujarat genocide, now assess Modi's administrative skills, which most of them are uniformly impressed by. The editor of The Hindustan Times said, "Modi may be a mass murderer, but he's our mass murderer", and went on to air his dilemmas about how to deal with a mass murderer who is also a "good" chief minister.

In this 'counterfeit' version of India, in the realm of culture, in the new Bollywood cinema, in the boom in Indo-Anglian literature, the poor, for the most part, are simply absent. They have been erased in advance. (They only put in an appearance as the smiling beneficiaries of Micro-Credit Loans, Development Schemes and charity meted out by ngos.)

Last summer, I happened to wander into a cool room in which four beautiful young girls with straightened hair and porcelain skin were lounging, introducing their puppies to one another. One of them turned to me and said, "I was on holiday with my family and I found an old essay of yours about dams and stuff? I was asking my brother if he knew about what a bad time these Dalits and Adivasis were having, being displaced and all.... I mean just being kicked out of their homes 'n stuff like that? And you know, my brother's such a jerk, he said they're the ones who are holding India back. They should be exterminated. Can you imagine?"

The trouble is, I could. I can.

The puppies were sweet. I wondered whether dogs could ever imagine exterminating each other. They're probably not progressive enough.

That evening, I watched Amitabh Bachchan on TV, appearing in a commercial for The Times of India's 'India Poised' campaign. The TV anchor introducing the campaign said it was meant to inspire people to leave behind the "constraining ghosts of the past". To choose optimism over pessimism.

"There are two Indias in this country," Amitabh Bachchan said, in his famous baritone.

One India is straining at the leash, eager to spring forth and live up to all the adjectives t hat the world has been recently showering upon us. The Other India is the leash.

One India says, "Give me a chance and I'll prove myself."

The Other India says, "Prove yourself first, and maybe then, you'll have a chance."

One India lives in the optimism of our hearts; the Other India lurks in the scepticism of our minds.

One India wants, the Other India hopes... One India leads, the Other India follows.

These conversions are on the rise.

With each passing day, more and more people from the Other India are coming over to this
side. ...

And quietly, while the world is not looking, a pulsating, dynamic, new India is emerging.

And finally:

Now in our 60th year as a free nation, the ride has brought us to the edge of time's great precipice....

And one India, a tiny little voice in the back of the head is looking down at the ravine and hesitating. The Other India is looking up at the sky and saying it's time to fly.

Here is the counterfeit universe laid bare.

It tells us that the rich don't have a choice (There Is No Alternative), but the poor do. They can choose to become rich. If they don't, it's because they are choosing pessimism over optimism, hesitation over confidence, want over hope. In other words, they're choosing to be poor. It's their fault. They are weak. (And we know what the seekers of lebensraum think of the weak.) They are the 'Constraining Ghost of the Past'. They're already ghosts.

"Within an ongoing counterfeit universe," Robert Jay Lifton says, "genocide becomes easy, almost natural."

The poor, the so-called poor, have only one choice: to resist or to succumb. Bachchan is right: they are crossing over, quietly, while the world's not looking. Not to where he thinks, but across another ravine, to another side. The side of armed struggle. From there they look back at the Tsars of Development and mimic their regretful slogan: 'There Is No Alternative.'

They have watched the great Gandhian people's movements being reduced and humiliated, floundering in the quagmire of court cases, hunger strikes and counter-hunger strikes. Perhaps these many million Constraining Ghosts of the Past wonder what advice Gandhi would have given the Indians of the Americas, the slaves of Africa, the Tasmanians, the Herero, the Hottentots, the Armenians, the Jews of Germany, the Muslims of Gujarat. Perhaps they wonder how they can go on hunger strike when they're already starving. How they can boycott foreign goods when they have no money to buy any goods. How they can refuse to pay taxes when they have no earnings.

Stamp out the Naxals: They have no place in Shining India

People who have taken to arms have done so with full knowledge of what the consequences of that decision will be. They have done so knowing that they are on their own. They know that the new laws of the land criminalise the poor and conflate resistance with terrorism. (Peaceful activists are ogws-overground workers.) They know that appeals to conscience, liberal morality and sympathetic press coverage will not help them now. They know no international marches, no globalised dissent, no famous writers will be around when the bullets fly.

Hundreds of thousands have broken faith with the institutions of India's democracy. Large swathes of the country have fallen out of the government's control. (At last count, it was supposed to be 25 per cent). The battle stinks of death, it's by no means pretty. How can it be when the helmsman of the army of Constraining Ghosts is the ghost of Chairman Mao himself? (The ray of hope is that many of the footsoldiers don't know who he is. Or what he did. More Genocide Denial? Maybe). Are they Idealists fighting for a Better World? Well... anything is better than annihilation.

The Prime Minister has declared that the Maoist resistance is the "single largest internal security threat". There have even been appeals to call out the army. The media is agog with breathless condemnation.

Here's a typical newspaper report. Nothing out of the ordinary. Stamp out the Naxals, it is called.

This government is at last showing some sense in tackling Naxalism. Less than a month ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked state governments to "choke" Naxal infrastructure and "cripple" their activities through a dedicated force to eliminate the "virus". It signalled a realisation that Naxalism must be stamped out through enforcement of law, rather than wasteful expense on development.

"Choke". "Cripple". "Virus". "Infested". "Eliminate". "Stamp Out".

Yes. The idea of extermination is in the air. And people believe that faced with extermination, they have the right to fight back.By any means necessary.

Perhaps they've been listening to the grasshoppers.
www.countercurrents.org/


Armenia Admits PKK Bases Operate in Karabakh Region - Azeri Paper
BBC Monitoring Central Asia, 2008-01-25

Armenia has admitted the presence of bases of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on occupied Azerbaijani territories, Baku-based independent Zerkalo newspaper reported on 25 January.

The newspaper said such a conclusion is to be drawn from Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan's remarks, who the newspaper said acknowledged the presence of Kurdish villages in Nagornyy Karabakh while denying the presence of PKK camps.

In an interview with Turkey's Cumhuriyet newspaper, Kirakosyan said that "the settlements described as camps are actually Kurdish and Yezidi villages in the region", Zerkalo reported. According to the newspaper, since "there could be no settlements of Muslim Kurds in the wake of the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories around Nagornyy Karabakh" the Armenian official was referring to Kurds who moved to the area after its occupation.

The newspaper concludes that Armenia wants to use terrorism against Turkey and Azerbaijan by means of providing terrorists with safe bases. "Since these are uncontrolled territories, they are a paradise for terrorists. Hence, the emergence of the PKK bases in the occupied Azerbaijani territories is quite real and explainable, which is effectively what Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan has admitted," Zerkalo said.

Originally published by Zerkalo website, Baku, in Russian 25 Jan 08 p 1.
(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.
2008-01-25 © 2008, YellowBrix, Inc.

Armenian Killings: Leave Its Discussion To Another Day
BY: Marcy Oster Israel Commentator
Between A Rock And A Hard Place.

That’s exactly where Israel stands when it comes to the issue of calling the killing of more than one million Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I a genocide.

The issue has come to the forefront since the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution nearly a month ago labeling the killings a genocide. As the resolution came closer to a vote of the full House, Jews on both sides sprang into action n dragging Israel into what should have remained an internal U.S. debate.

We have dodged a bullet for the time being, since congressional sponsors of the Armenian genocide resolution have decided to delay voting on the measure. (Thanks to the intercession of Israel and other allies, there were likely not enough votes to pass the measure. Moreover, there was concern over Turkey’s threats to disrupt U.S. military operations in Iraq.) But we Israelis should not fool ourselves into thinking the issue has gone away. Nor should it.

Still, now is perhaps not the best time for Israel to get dragged into this very emotional, gut-wrenching debate.

Turkey is Israel’s only friend in the Muslim world, and it has threatened severe repercussions should the U.S. Congress pass the resolution labeling the killings genocide.

Consider this analysis, for example, by Turkish foreign policy expert Bülent Aras, quoted in the Turkish Weekly Journal: “In the 1990s, when Turkish-Israel relations were being fostered, the idea behind their relations was that the Jewish lobby would support Turkey in the U.S. Plus the Jewish lobby’s help was seen as important in arming the Turkish military. Apparently, the lobby doesn’t side with Turkey on the (genocide) resolution issue, which is a most emotional one for Turkey. So the reason behind their relations has been disappearing. The relations have been questioned already.”

It sounds like the congressional resolution would be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Couple that with the fact that Turkey is still pretty angry at Israel for flying over Turkish airspace on the way to destroy the nascent Syrian nuclear reactor in September and you have got one seriously angry “friend.”

On the other hand, Israel is certainly no stranger to genocide. Some say she was born because of genocide. So it is not surprising that in the days leading up to the cancelled congressional vote, survivors and their children in Israel n both of the Holocaust and of the Armenian massacres n were protesting the Jewish state’s (noncommittal) stance in front of Israel’s foreign ministry.

Israel has acknowledged that the Armenians were victims of massacres perpetrated by the Turks, but does not call it a genocide. The issue has come up in the Knesset several times in the last 20 years, most recently just a few months ago, when the discussion was shelved at the request of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in deference to Turkish sensibilities.

I am not prepared to say that what happened more than 70 years ago was a massacre, tantamount to genocide, or the real deal. But perhaps we can leave discussion of it to another day n when the U.S. does not need Turkey to help finish its job in Iraq, when Israel has more than one ally in the Muslim world, when Iran and Syria are not on the verge of going nuclear. I did not say it would be easy or fair, just perhaps practical.
Copyright 2006 Cleveland Jewish News


Bayramoglu: Dink Would Say ‘justice Done’ Ali Bayramoglu

Writer and intellectual Ali Bayramoglu says slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink would have said "The justice has been done" if he had seen last week's detentions of people, reportedly believed to have close links to shadowy state networks, in connection with many assassinations -- including Dink's own.

"We cannot accuse anybody without indictment or concrete evidence; but Hrant was murdered as part of the ground laid by this entity. For this reason, that entity is liable for his murder," Bayramoglu says. On Jan. 23 the country was awoken by the news that dozens of members of a clandestine group had been detained in an operation called "Ergene-kon."

Although some observers think that this operation will not result in punitive action, as has been the case with many other past operations, Bayramoglu doesn't agree: "If the evidence is substantial, I think the media and public will back the government. Therefore I do not think there will be any retreat from this point. Quite the contrary, I think Turkish democracy took a strong step to prove attachment to the principle of the rule of law."

For Monday Talk, he explained why he thinks as he does.

What did you think when reading the arrest reports on Jan. 23?

It is very important that this sort of operation was carried out. I wasn't expecting it, because we had every reason to be pessimistic about legal, political or administrative determination considering the fate of investigations opened in connection with the Dink murder, some developments in 2007 and the unresolved Malatya massacre. It is obvious that in 2007, some deep state elements cooperated with street gangs and made their alliance known in public.

What else happened in relation to the connection between the state and clandestine organizations?

In 2007, a military coup plot that was scheduled to take place in 2003 or 2004 was uncovered. We also witnessed antigovernment rallies held to lay the groundwork for a military coup. The polarization around Article 301, accusations of treason, murders in connection with these accusations, physiological war attempts that sought to undermine the political administration, democracy and social stability -- they all took place in 2007. The reality behind the civil society organizations that emerged as the supporters of the Feb. 28 process was revealed in the same year.

What do the gang connections point to?

Some point to the Susurluk case [the first to bring into the open the fact that national intelligence units employ others to carry out illicit operations] and some others to the entities that organize some sorts of social resistance activity. For instance if you take a look at who organized the anti-government rallies prior to the July 22 elections, you will see that those who were detained a few days ago and their organizations were involved in these rallies. These rogue elements abused the social sensitivity over secularism by organizing these rallies.

One of those detained had filed a lawsuit against Hrant Dink. Another who frequently appeared at Dink's hearings was also detained…

We already knew them as members of groups that point to certain names as targets and create the proper environment to take action. They become public through their organizations. Back then, there were suspicions and concerns because of the inability and reluctance of the administration to deal with their increasing legitimization. For this reason, I may say that it was a surprise. An operation of this sort now implies the police and intelligence units have been working hard and the prosecutor took a brave step, because [there was] substantial evidence to ensure their detention.

Is bravery required to do this?

This is not easy, we have to admit that. The arrestees include retired generals. We are now seeing the tip of the iceberg -- even this small part of the iceberg tells a lot about the last two decades in this country. In other words, this is the story of what happened in the Southeast, the political assassinations, the country's transformation associated with the European Union bid -- and it goes back to the '80s.

Are the early versions of these gangs related to Gladio?

The statist and military guardianship system is very strong in Turkey. If you pay attention, you will notice that there were different methods to address the Gladio entities established in the 1950s to contain communism. The crackdown on these entities was ensured via liberalization and democratization in Spain and in Italy.

Is Turkey going through a similar process now?

Turkey has not yet gone through a phase that will ensure greater civilian rule in the state and further discussion of the military domination in the political system. We were suffering from a very authoritarian rule while Italy and Spain were making headway. We had a military coup in the 1980s. The coup's impacts have been felt through the 1990s. The [President Turgut] Özal era in the 1990s may be called a civilian rule. In the aftermath, we had to deal with the Refah (Welfare Party, RP) crisis; but there has never been a clean-hands operation. There was no attempt to make the system more civilian.

Former Primer Minister Bülent Ecevit and former Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel made occasional references to organizations of this sort…

I recall Ecevit's references to these types of entities; Demirel implied another type. Ecevit faced an assassination attempt; Özal almost died after being shot -- none of these incidents were resolved. Therefore there is an entity we know little about. We say that there is a deep state entity assigned to deal with terrorism; this sort of attempt was made in different countries and we call it Gladio.

Does it still exist in Turkey?

This entity is still alive in Turkey under the title "special forces." There should be a distinction between intelligence activities and operational actions. The intelligence agents provide intelligence and espionage; the others carry out the operations. We all know that there is no distinction between these two in the Turkish military establishment. JITEM [the Gendarmerie Intelligence Group Command -- the existence of which is denied by officials] was an entity that relied on this sort of work. The existence of many vague points in this security element's legal structure points to there being a Gladio-like entity in our country as well. This is a serious problem. We have no information about the relationship between the state and this entity. We do not know if there is any relationship between the state's legitimate elements and this clandestine enterprise; but no matter what, the latest arrests show that we are now facing an organization able to turn the country upside-down. This is the visible part of Turkish Gladio; the visible part of the iceberg.

Is the government taking a big risk with this operation?

Of course. Dealing with problems of this sort requires taking risks but it should be recalled that what the government has done is to facilitate the job police are doing. There is a well-working intelligence system in Turkey. This system addresses the situation with the support of a brave prosecutor. We are not talking about an operation carried out by the government alone; this is an operation launched by the police and lawyers under the support of the government. If the evidence is substantial I think the media and the public will back the government. Therefore I do not think there will be any retreat from this point. Quite the contrary, I think Turkish democracy took a strong step to prove attachment to the principle of the rule of law.

What would you say about the allegations that the operation was staged to proceed with lifting the headscarf ban?

This is a step taken by a state eager to become a really legitimate one after eliminating its Gladio. You have to dismiss allegations that claim connection between the operation and the headscarf issue. Even these people's detention is a huge step, without seeing any evidence yet. But I don't think it is a good move for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to resolve the headscarf issue in Parliament with the support of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Why is that?

Because this is an issue exploitable by anybody. The ultra-secularists may abuse it, and so do the hard-line religious people. In the future the headscarf may be banned everywhere based on the new article or it may be freed in every state institution. What needs to be done is simple: the Higher Education Board (YÖK) could have resolved this because the ban is based simply on its directive. I do not think it would be right to resolve it via a constitutional change. Constitutions should be concise and inclusive of fundamental rights and freedoms. Other laws should support this and fill the voids. If you insert details of this sort in the Constitution, you will find a lot of dossiers before the Constitutional Court.

How do you think the government made this operation while it remains ambivalent to abolish Article 301?

The government holds different considerations with regard to Article 301 [of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK)]. These were related to the pre-election period; the issue of gangs is completely different. The government is also one of the targets of clandestine enterprises. The administration is aware that there is a problem with regard to the implementation of Article 301 [widely considered to restrict freedom of speech]. The mindset currently in effect will show its impact even if you abolish Article 301, because the existence of these gangs is the real reason for the abuse of the article. If they did not exploit this legal mechanism that extensively, there would not have been such an acute problem. As for the government, yes, there is some sort of contradiction.

What kind of contradiction?

The government is ambivalent between democratic and reformist tendencies and its own conservative tendencies. A number of AK Party figures, including the prime minister, initially give conservative reactions. But some time later they agree on a democratic option. At the end, their philosophy is based on reason and pragmatism. The government has been lucky because of its pragmatism. But it should also be recalled that this government has conservative and statist reflexes. Former Justice Minister and current State Minister Cemil Çiçek's views on Article 301 are very well known. It was he who accused the Armenian symposium's organizers of inflicting harm on the country. This politician is a part of this government. There is a government with liberal pragmatism; its conservatism stems from its conservative character, its liberalism from the conjectural dynamics and the spirit of the time.

What would Hrant Dink have thought if he knew of the current detentions?

He would say, "My revenge has been taken." We cannot accuse anybody without indictment or concrete evidence; but Hrant Dink was murdered as part of the ground laid by this entity. For this reason, that entity is liable for his murder.

Do you think this entity is going to be eliminated?

In 2003 and 2004, three out of four generals were eager to stage a military coup; only one was not and he stopped the others. Where do we stand now, are there any coup planners? What do the people arrested today represent? Or what do their commanders represent? What kind of connections do they have with officials in the state? We have to ask these questions first. Of course the structure of the state is changing, but that does not mean a civilian authority has been taking over. But at least there is this feeling that an extensive operation will be carried out to deal with the illegal entities within the state.
Ali Bayramoglu

He teaches sociology, humanities and Turkish cultural history at Kültür University in Istanbul. A regular writer for Aksiyon newsweekly and daily Yeni Safak, he is also the moderator of a news program on Kanal 24 television. He is the author of two books published in 2001: "28 Subat/Bir Müdahalenin Güncesi" (Feb. 28/Diary of an Intervention) and "Türkiye'de Islami Harekete Sosyolojik Bir Bakis 1994-2000" (Looking at the Islamic Movement in Turkey 1994-2000). He also co-authored "Bir Zümre, Bir Parti: Türkiye'de Ordu" (A Class, A Party: The Military in Turkey) with Ahmet Insel.
y.dogan@todayszaman.com 28.01.2008 Yonca Poyraz Dogan


Wanted: Backers of Ergenekon
Sami Hostan, a key figure in the Susurluk investigation, was among suspects arrested on Saturday by the court as part of the ongoing Ergenekon operation.

Thirteen people in the deep-state linked Ergenekon organization were arrested and jailed by order of a court on Saturday after being charged with inciting people to revolt, but many commentators say it remains unclear whether the investigation will go any deeper.

The 13 included retired Maj. Gen. Veli Küçük and retired Col. Fikri Karadag. The Ergenekon group had been the top story of all of Turkey's newspapers last week after it was uncovered as the organization apparently has strong ties to the deep state -- a phrase used to describe a phenomenon in which illegal groups in the security forces and state bureaucracy take the law into their own hands to serve their own political ends. Küçük is the first of his rank to be arrested by a civilian court. There are many faces currently in the bureaucracy and the military behind the faces in Ergenekon, and they should be identified, demanded many analysts and newspapers over the weekend.

The court decision followed the arrests of dozens of people last week in a police investigation into an ultra-nationalist group known as Ergenekon. The investigation has shown that the group had been planning to kill Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk and Todays's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru as well as several Kurdish politicians. The nine people in custody under suspicion of membership in the Ergenekon organization -- part of a shadowy network with apparent inside links to the military, bureaucracy and some other state agencies thought to be responsible for assassinations of certain public figures, including Armenian journalist Hrant Dink -- were on Saturday taken to the Istanbul courthouse located in Besiktas. Officials have declined to comment on the case, which began last summer with the seizure of explosives and weapons at a house in the Ümraniye district of Istanbul.

The suspects arrested by the court on Saturday included Küçük, a retired general who is also the alleged founder of a secret intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel who also heads the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB); Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Sami Hostan, a key figure in the Susurluk investigation; Hüseyin Görüm; Hüseyin Gazi Oguz; and Oguz Alparsalan Abdülkadir. The arrested are facing charges of inciting people to armed revolt against the government.

The Susurluk investigation was launched in 1996 after a car crash near the small town of Susurluk that uncovered links between a police chief, a convicted fugitive, who was an ultranationalist, and a deputy. At the time hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens across the nation had protested, turning their lights out for a moment at 9 p.m. and calling on authorities to put an end to the shady insider gangs known as the "deep state."

Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aksam daily who was taken into custody in the operation last week, was released Saturday by the court, but she remains banned from traveling abroad.

The suspects were taken out of the courthouse on Saturday under tight security. Photojournalists were not allowed to take any pictures.

Meanwhile, Hüseyin Görüm, one of the suspects, yelled out, “Kuvayi Milliye 1919 won!” The phrase is a reference to the right-wing Kuvayi Milliye (National Forces) movement that started in 1919 to purge Turkey of invading Western powers and resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

Two more detained

Retired Maj. Zekeriya Öztürk, Kahraman Sahin, Erol Ölmez, Erkut Ersoy and Muhammet Yüce were also arrested.

Twelve people, including the lawyer of a Dink murder suspect, and Ali Yasak, also known as Drej Ali, another figure in the Susurluk investigation, were released after their initial interrogation.

The investigation has so far revealed that the group was preparing a series of bomb attacks aimed at fomenting chaos ahead of a coup in 2009 against Turkey’s center-right government, whose European Union-linked reforms are opposed by ultra-nationalists.

The Ergenekon group may have been behind the murder last January of Dink, a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist, outside his office in Istanbul, newspapers have quoted police sources as saying.

Police have been observing Ergenekon -- the name of an epic story in nationalist mythology explaining how the Turks came into being -- for several years and have compiled a 7,000-page dossier on the group and its activities, newspapers say.

Gang meetings in church

The Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, the Taraf daily wrote on Sunday, was the meeting place of the group. The patriarchate’s spokesperson, Sevgi Erenerol, hosted the gang’s meetings in the organization’s “church.” The daily noted that the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate was founded in 1924 to break the influence of the Fener Greek Patriarchate. Although it has no followers, it has become an important part of the “deep state,” as it was intended.

“As a church, we have regular meetings with the National Security Agency (MIT),” said Selçuk Erenerol, the third patriarch who is also the father of Sevgi Erenerol. The group owns two other churches, but none of them has a congregation.

Many of those arrested on Saturday, including Küçük, Kerinçsiz and Karadag, had regular meetings at the church and gave their orders from there.

Some of the gang members are members of the Church of Scientology, some newspapers reported.

Links with the PKK

Meanwhile the Hürriyet daily on Sunday wrote that the group was planning to use two members of the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), known as the “deep” extension of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in a bombing. Maps of the plot showed that the group was planning to blow up a bridge along a highway where the air force and the navy headquarters are located.

The group also had plans to assassinate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sources speaking to Hürriyet claimed.

Who is behind Ergenekon?

The name of Küçük first appeared on Nov. 3, 1996, wrote Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin on Sunday. “However, neither that date nor Veli Küçük marks the start of the organizations of paramilitary militia.” He said if the allegations that Ergenekon was a group trying to create chaos through attacks to enable coup planners inside the military to overthrow the government, then it is necessary to reach the individuals at the “bottom of the iceberg.”

Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu, known for his keen knowledge of Turkey’s political history, on Friday wrote: “One looking for Ergenekon need not go too far. This is the story of Ergenekon -- the Turkish Gladio -- from the assassination of [journalist] Abdi Ipekçi [in 1979] to ‘the massacre of March 16’ [in 1978, when seven students at an Istanbul university were killed in a bomb attack], then peaking in Susurluk and possibly involved in the Council of State shooting.”

A senior judge was shot dead in an attack at the Council of State in 2006. The attacker was found to have links to shady networks similar to the Ergenekon gang.

Gladio was an Italian organization founded by NATO in the post World War I period to perform illegal, behind-the-scenes operations to counter the Soviet threat. Similar organizations were founded in many countries in the ‘50s. Many ended up doing the “dirty work” of their own secret services.
28.01.2008 Today’s Zaman Istanbul


Gov’t, Opposition Face Critical Test Over Deep Gangs
As the government seeks a consensus with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to solve the longstanding, controversial issue of women wearing headscarves at universities, Turkish security experts are complaining about lack of similar resolve by the political leadership in extending a strong backing to prosecutors in their latest attempts to unearth criminal gangs.

"Mushrooming acts of organized crime in Turkey are one of the root causes of the country's existing economic and social problems. But so far I have not seen strong resolve displayed by the government in reaction to the latest operations against such gangs. The prosecutor who has so far done a successful job should not be left alone and should not share a similar fate as the Semdinli prosecutor," said a Turkish terrorism expert told Today's Zaman.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), together with parties represented in Parliament, should have already gotten together to debate the Turkish gang problems, parallel to the latest police crackdown against an ultra-nationalist group calling itself “Ergenekon,” the same expert recalled. But this has not been done so far, he added.

Eight people including retired Maj. Gen. Veli Küçük; retired Col. Fikri Karadag; a former defendant of the Susurluk gang, Sami Hostan; and lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz were arrested by an Istanbul court early on the morning of Jan. 27 over charges of inciting citizens to armed uprising against the government and setting up, being a member of and masterminding a terror group (that is, Ergenekon).

The arrests came as part of a crackdown on an ultra-nationalist group that reportedly plotted to kill Nobel laureate novelist Orhan Pamuk and Kurdish activists.

With the latest arrests, the total number of those put in jail has reached 13.

The investigation into the alleged gang members was carried out behind the shield of a secrecy law that restricts media coverage.

Küçük has been accused of organizing extra-judicial killings of Kurds in the 1990s, but never stood trial. His name was also implicated in the infamous Susurluk gang case back in the mid-1990s.

Kerinçsiz, meanwhile, is known for having initiated legal proceedings against Pamuk and ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was killed last year.

The latest operations came as part of an investigation that led to the discovery of hand grenades and bomb detonators in a house in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district in June last year.

The names of those rounded up in the latest Ergenekon operations were also implicated in several politically motivated attacks that shocked Turkey over the past two years, including the murders of Dink, Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro and a senior judge.

The media have linked the suspects to the “deep state” -- a term used to describe members of the security forces who act outside the law for subversive purposes or to preserve what they consider Turkey’s best interests.

Prosecutors should receive political and legal backing

The fact that the latest operations against the Ergenekon gang resulted in the arrests of people who had earlier acted as though they were untouchables who could escape justice, has broken a myth in Turkey, stressed Sedat Laçiner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK).

Meanwhile, a senior Turkish security expert, speaking to Today’s Zaman, stressed that for the continuation and success of the operations Parliament should display determination to the public and to the prosecutors and declare that gangs must be brought to justice.

“This political leadership leg of the operations is still missing and that carries a danger that Turkey may miss another golden opportunity to put an end to the unlawful actions of those using the state in their acts of organized crime,” said the same source.

The prosecutors should also be given a wide-ranging legal shield to conduct their investigations in depth. In many cases those implicated in investigations into organized crime are released due to lack of evidence, Turkish legal experts point out. This does not mean that those released were innocent but that existing laws hindered broad investigations.

Former prosecutor allegedly works at a supermarket

If strong political backing of the prosecutors in the latest operations does not emerge, they will also be left alone and might face a similar fate as that of former Van prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya, Turkish security experts warned.

Sarikaya was stripped of his all duties by the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK) in 2006 when he implicated the names of then Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Büyükanit, the current chief of the Turkish General Staff, as well as some other commanders in his indictment on the bomb attack carried out against a bookstore in November 2005 in the Semdinli township in the Southeast.

The two noncommissioned officers, who were initially given a 39-year prison sentence over a bomb attack by a civilian court, were released pending the outcome of the trial last year by a military court that their files were later transferred to. The higher court decision that ruled the trial be transferred to a military court had also ordered that the trial start from scratch, rendering any previously given sentences ineffective.

While they have been released, former prosecutor Sarikaya is reported to have been working at a supermarket owned by his father-in-law somewhere in Turkey.
28.01.2008 Lale Sariibrahimoglu


Turks Protest ‘Genocide Classes'
Turks living in Canada have launched a petition campaign against a recent decision in Toronto to include in school curricula the study of an alleged genocide of Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

Some 10,000 petitions have been collected so far in the online petition campaign, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The Unity Group, consisting of several Turkish NGOs, said in a recent statement that the course would put at risk the lives of Turkish and Muslim students in high schools. The group called on the authorities to reverse the decision to include the course, created by one of the largest school boards in Canada, the Toronto District School Board, in the 2008-2009 curriculum. The course focuses on the alleged Armenian genocide along with the Holocaust and the massacres in Rwanda. Turkish Ambassador to Canada Aydemir Erman has also conveyed Turkey's unease about the decision to Canadian authorities, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
28.01.2008 Today's Zaman with wires Istanbul


Ankara Chides Clinton, Obama On ‘Genocide’
The Turkish capital has expressed regret at recent statements by two US Democratic presidential candidates, who have successively pledged to officially recognize the controversial World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide if they become president.

"Efforts to cast a shadow over our history in the name of an internal struggle within the party are offending the Turkish nation and increasing our sadness," the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released over the weekend.

In the last 10 days, first Barack Obama and then Hillary Clinton, two rival candidates, sent written statements to an influential Armenian diaspora organization, the Washington based-Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), announcing their support of a resolution pending at the US Congress for recognition of the allegations on the controversial issue.

"Politicians who run for the US presidency should act in a more responsible manner in regard to both history and the future; they should take pains not to offend a friendly and ally country and its people via groundless statements; and they should keep in mind the sensitivities of the Turkish-American relations within this framework," the ministry also said.
28.01.2008 Today's Zaman Ankara


[Sacred Sites]Surp Hresdagabet: An Example Of Architectural Pluralism In Balat

Istanbul’s neighborhoods developed in such a way that they grew up around religious cores such as churches, mosques and synagogues, with a good example of this phenomenon found in Balat.

Despite its predominantly Jewish population, people of different religions and ethnicities have lived, and continue to do so in smaller numbers, and worked there side by side, with the urban mix of the area the result of the neighborhood’s diverse ethnic population.

Once you enter Kamis Street in Balat, the garden walls of the Surp Hresdagabet Armenian church, located near Yanbol Synagogue and Ferruh Kethüda Mosque greet you with a beauty that has resisted the course of time. Historically it is located in the Bulgarian quarter.

One of many examples of a synthesis of different architectural forms, Surp Hresdagabet (also known as Holy Archangels) was originally a Greek Orthodox church known by the name of Hagios Eustration that was built in the 13th century and was given to the Armenian community as a gesture of good will in 1627. It is also said that the church was then blessed by Stepanos of Bursa.

After being abandoned by its Greek Orthodox congregation, Surp Hresdagabet was given to the around 20,000-strong Armenian community that had settled in Balat as compensation after an Armenian church in Istanbul’s Fatih district was transformed into Kefeli Mosque in the same period. Surp Hresdagabet is a church dedicated to the archangels Michael and Gabriel.

The church underwent restoration in 1628, according to the inscription on the wall behind its altar; however, the present building dates from 1835 and was built after the original wooden church was destroyed by fire several times. The side chapel and the ayazma (sacred spring) in the building are original Byzantine features. The ayazma is said to be built upon the bones of St. Antonios, discovered during the latest restoration.

There is an imposing building located to the south of the church that today serves as a warehouse. According to historical sources, it was an Armenian school back then the Armenian community was much larger during the 19th century.

The reliefs depicting St. George killing a dragon and Jesus chasing thieves as well as the cast iron door that has German and Latin inscriptions on each side and opens from the main room to a side gallery are impressive. This door, dating back to 1727, is said to have been discovered in an excavation during the reign of Sultan Mahmut I in Topkapi Palace.

Every Sept. 14, the church holds a unique ritual in which animals such as sheep or roosters are sacrificed and distributed to the poor. People also believe that the water at the church’s ayazma has curative abilities, so people of various religions flock to the church on holy days to find a remedy for their illnesses.

Wandering through the streets of Balat is sufficient to realize how different ethno-religious groups rubbed shoulders in this district. Ferruh Kethüda Mosque is within easy reach of Surp Hresdagabet. Another church and synagogue also stand near by.

Some facts on Istanbul’s Armenian community:

Armenians were Christian elements brought to Istanbul from the eastern Anatolian and Caucasus regions after the conquest of Istanbul by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror in 1453.

In addition to large groups of Armenians summoned to the new capital, Mehmed II also brought to Istanbul Bishop Hovakim of Brussa (today’s Bursa), whom he made patrik (patriarch) over all Armenians and non-Orthodox Christians in his territories and gave him all the privileges accorded to the Greek Orthodox patriarch in 1461.

Large numbers of Armenians brought to Istanbul, the capital city then, also helped in the repopulation of the city. Armenians mostly settled along the shores of the Marmara Sea and some in neighborhoods such as Balat, Kumkapi, Hasköy and Samatya as well. The number of Armenians coming to Istanbul kept increasing gradually because other Ottoman sultans who succeeded Mehmed II followed his policies. There were around 200,000 Armenians living in Istanbul in 1895.
26.01.2008 Büsra Ipekçi Istanbul


'Untouchables' Nabbed In Raid
January 28, 2008
A new chapter opens in the investigation into the 'Ergenekon' gang, which some claim is part of Turkey's deep state. 'The court decides that 13 suspects be arrested, among them Ret Gen Veli Küçük

ISTANBUL - TDN with wire dispatches

After a record amount of time in Istanbul's 13th Criminal Court, eight alleged members of the “Ergenekon” gang – including a former top military commander – were arrested at the beginning of the weekend on charges of “provoking armed rebellion against the government.” With Saturday's arrests the total number of arrested has risen to 13. Among those arrested is Ret. Brig. General Veli Küçük, the alleged founder of the Gendarmerie Intelligence Anti-Terror Unit (JITEM). Despite various allegations against him, Küçük has remained virtually untouchable for the last decade.

The crackdown follows a promise by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to eradicate clandestine hard-line nationalist groups that allegedly target people they consider to be a threat to the country's unity, The Associated Press said in a report.

Following a four-day police interrogation, the suspects were taken to court late Friday where they were interrogated by the prosecutor until 5 a.m. Saturday. They were then taken to appear in front of the judge by 5 p.m. on the same day, after which 13 of them, including Küçük, were arrested and imprisoned, according to newspaper reports yesterday.

High-profile names:

Those arrested include Ret. Col. Fikri Karadag, president of the “Kuvayi Milliye” (National Forces) Association, lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, the public relations representative of the Turkish Orthodox Church, Sevgi Erenerol, and alleged mafia boss Sami Hostan.

Kerinçsiz gained notoriety for leading campaigns against prominent intellectuals including novelists Orhan Pamuk, Elif Safak and Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was murdered in January 2007.

Among detainees released on Friday was columnist Güler Kömürcü of daily Aksam, a lawyer, Fuat Turgut who defended an alleged instigator in the Dink murder and Ali Yasak, an alleged crime boss.

The suspects were all taken into custody after a police raid in Istanbul's Ümraniye district in June that uncovered dozens of hand grenades. The grenades were seized at the home of a retired, non-commissioned military officer.

The suspects were “preparing to assassinate a leading figure,” according to press reports. Mass-circulation daily Hürriyet said Nobel literature prize laureate Orhan Pamuk was on the “hit list,” while other newspapers reported that pro-Kurdish politicians Leyla Zana and Ahmet Türk were also targets of the shadowy organization.

Provoking a coup?:

The gang “hoped” that the chaos after those murders would provoke a military coup that would topple the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, according to various newspaper reports. Nationalists and ultra-nationalists accuse the government of having a hidden “Islamic agenda,” and for making too many concessions to the European Union.

A court has issued a news blackout on the investigation into the gang.

With the arrests Küçük became the third former – or actual – member of the powerful Turkish military to be imprisoned. Throughout the Republic's history only two other “pashas” have been arrested: The first one was General Mustafa Muglali, charged with ordering the killing of 32 Kurdish peasants who were caught smuggling goods from the Iranian border and accused of stealing livestock. The peasants were executed by a shooting squad on July 30, 1943. Muglali was tried at a military court three years later and was sentenced to 20 years of prison, but died in prison in 1951.

The second “pasha” to be put behind bars was Admiral Ilhami Erdil, who was arrested last year on charges of illegal enrichment.

The Semdinli bombing:

Meanwhile, in an unusually harsh speech Saturday, a former lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) pointed to the many unresolved murder cases in the southeast.

“The real Ergenekon are those that have killed people in the [southeast] region with identity cards given by the state itself,” Mesut Deger, a member of the CHP executive board, said during the party's district congress in Van, 1,250 kilometers east of Ankara.

“In the Semdinli case, the accused were set free,” Deger was quoted as saying by the Dogan news agency, referring to another shadow case. “Now we see the start of the Ergenekon case. What is Ergenekon? They say it is defending the unity of the state. Are we aiming for something else? The real Ergenekon are those that have their signatures on many unsolved murders in this region,” he said.

The Semdinli case takes its name from Hakkari's Semdinli town, some 1,500 kilometers southeast of Ankara. On Nov. 9, 2005, a bookstore in the town belonging to a former member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was bombed, leaving one person dead. Minutes after the attack locals caught the alleged criminals and handed them over to the police. The identities of the suspects created controversy, as two were active sergeants on duty and the third one was a former PKK confessor. On the same day, as CHP Hakkari deputy Esat Canan and a state prosecutor were mobilized to investigate the incident, they were fired upon and a second person was killed in this attack. Claiming clandestine state forces were on a killing spree, locals at various towns in Hakkari protested in the streets, and three more people were killed during clashes between the police and protesters.


Return Of Petrosian, An Opportunity?
Armenia is heading to the ballot boxes on Feb. 19 to elect a new president. Of the nine candidates competing in this election, there are two clear favorites.

One of these is the current administration’s candidate, Prime Minister Serj Sarkisian. The other is a man who was Armenia’s first president, Levon Ter-Petrosian. Petrosian, known for his “moderate” identity, was a man who actually met with former Turkish politician Alparslan Türkes in Paris back in 1993. He now maintains that Armenia has been directed very badly under the authority of Kocharian, insisting that no positive steps have been taken to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and ever that since relations with Turkey were cut. The return of Petrosian, who has maintained his silence over the past decade, to Armenian political life could be of life and death importance for the nation in terms of where it finds itself now. So let’s see whether the people of Armenia realize the situation the way Petrosian does.
29.01.2008 Mehmet Yilmaz, Zaman


Label Gangs And Him
Kerim Balci k.balci@todayszaman.com
Turkey is failing to create its own brand names, but the labels this country sticks to itself are quite durable. The justice minister’s recent sarcastic self-critique could not have better expressed our reality:
“If 301 was a brand name, it wouldn’t need any advertisement.” Well, congratulations my nation! We now have a new famous name: Ergenekon. It would make a great label for torture devices, retired army personnel equipment, know-how companies targeting Third World countries with coups, midnight memorandums, ground-setting strategies for military intervention and psychological warfare. Back to the times when the most famous Turk in the world was Mehmet Ali Agca, the unsuccessful assassin of the pope!

The name Ergenekon is a telling one. Ergene meant “steep” in old Turkish and Kon meant “gangway, mountain pass.” This “steep mountain pass” refers to an old legend about Turks being stuck in a valley surrounded with iron mountains and an ironsmith managing to open a passage through by burning huge numbers of trees. In the case of the Ergenekon Gang the mountains refer to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the growing awareness of civil society of its duties and rights. The ironsmith is the 33 member-gang and “them.” The trees to be burned are the religiously observant, Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, civilians, democrats… In short, “us!”

I used to be a fan of Cartoon Network’s “Powerpuff Girls.” In this cartoon series there are several bad guys. But one is so bad and so dreadful that it cannot be named. The girls refer to this soft-speaking evil that plays with good people’s dreams as simply “Him.” Him penetrates into people’s consciences; Him plays the role of the best of the good; all other bad guys simply make noise, kick people, spit at the street, torch cars and houses, burglarize banks… Their faces speak to the fact that they are bad. But Him! Him makes strategies. For its evil ends, Him may do good at some stages. Him may fight against evil together with the Powerpuff Girls and befriend them, but just to squeeze the power-giving Molecule-X off their bodies in the end. Him never makes coalitions with other bad guys. Because Him does not like to share the post of extreme evilness.

Who is Turkey’s Him?

Play the game yourself. Just fill in the blanks with names: “……. is the mastermind of the Ergenekon Gang.” When does your voice grow weak? When do you feel afraid to pronounce the name and would rather say “Him”?

Let me help you more.

One of the evil acts of the Ergenekon Gang -- so we are told -- is to label university personnel. Why label university professors if you are just planning to prepare the pretext for a coup? Why not label the army personnel and decide who will be with you when the time for the coup comes? Why not label the columnists and journalists and decide who will applaud your intervention and who won’t?

Two things are obvious: The gang people were planning a pre-coup or post-coup cleansing in the universities; and there is a link between labeling and coup-preparing. The reverse logic does not need to work here, but it may well work: “Whoever prepares for a coup labels” is a true proposition. Is “Whoever labels prepares for a coup” also true?

Ret. Maj. Gen. Veli Küçük, the alleged leader of the Ergenekon Gang, is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials. The gendarmerie happens to be Turkey’s prime-labeler, as recent labeling scandals disclosed. We may come to a point to claim that labeling is a virus that leads to the disease of coup-provoking. Shouldn’t we open the old accounts and ask whether our other labelers are involved with these labelers?

For the university professors who have been labeled by the Ergenekon Gang, I have bad news: Labels are shared. Somewhere in deep/high your names are coupled with labels and put in front of Him.

Beware; you may be a good friend of Him!
29.01.2008


Coup Planner Ergenekon Gang ‘involved’ In Drug Trafficking
Charges brought against the deep-state linked Ergenekon organization by a Turkish court have shown that the gang was after a military takeover in Turkey while records of phone conversations of its members in the hands of German police show that they were also involved in the drug trade.

The Ergenekon organization -- 14 of whose members were arrested Saturday in one of the biggest operations ever against deep-state-linked groups in Turkey -- was working to create a chaotic atmosphere so that its counterparts in the military could overthrow the government, charges brought against the group by a law court in Istanbul has confirmed. All in all, 28 members of Ergenekon are currently under arrest. They were also involved in the drug trade, documents from the German police confirmed. Germany's Niedersachsen State's anti-drug department, Landeskrimi-nalamtes (LKA), which tapped the phones of some of the Ergenekon members as part of a narcotics investigation, proved that Ergenekon members were indeed in the drug business as well.

The court accuses the members of the Ergenekon gang, a xenophobic and ultranationalist organization suspected of a number of political murders including that of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, of committing bombings and attacks in the past two years, of inciting people to revolt, establishing a terrorist organization, of leading that terrorist organization and of membership in the terrorist organization.

Some of the gang members against whom charges have been brought are Veli Küçük, a retired general who is also the alleged founder of a clandestine and unofficial intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey’s official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel; and Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate.

Documents seized during the investigation into the gang, whose members include former military officers, some of them high-ranking, revealed that they were planning to create complete chaos in the country to prepare fertile ground for a military coup d’état in 2009.

An inspection of Küçük’s personal organizer showed that Ergenekon had planned six steps to stage an eventual coup. Leaders of the Ergenekon gang had jointly decided to “OK” Dink’s murder in January of last year, the murders of three Christians in Malatya last April, an attack on the Council of State that left a senior judge dead and bombings at the secularist daily Cumhuriyet, claimed some Turkish newspapers on Monday.

Daily Sabah also alleged that the murder of academic Necip Hablemitoglu was ordered by the German secret service. Hablemtioglu’s research suggested that individuals opposing gold prospecting disguised their acts as environmentalism but were really serving the interests of powerful gold exporters in Europe. Several newspapers wrote that the group had links to German intelligence.

The gang’s plans to create chaos and confusion included giving rise to armed conflict between Kurdish and Turkish citizens.

Newspapers wrote on Monday that the first stage of the group’s plan was to establish civil society organizations such as the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), the National Forces Association and the Bureau of the Protection of Rights, all ultranationalist organizations. The second stage was to find support in the military among younger officers and higher-ranking soldiers unhappy about the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The third stage involved a strange company known as the Special Bureau, an intelligence agency for the group set up by a former intelligence officer. The Special Bureau would protect the group’s plans from falling into the hands of the Nationalist Intelligence Organization (MIT) or a shady intelligence unit in the gendarmerie whose existence is officially denied. The fourth stage included adding into this scene bogus terrorist organizations that would foment conflict between the country’s Kurdish and Turkish populations. The unemployed, nationalist and uneducated Turkish youth, most of whom spend their time in the ultranationalist Idealist Clubs, would be used in various acts. The sixth stage includes recent political murders the group has been suspected of, including Dink’s, the killing of an Italian priest in 2006 and an armed raid on the Council of State -- as well as plans that have not yet been realized, including the assassination of Turkey’s Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk.

Ergenekon involvement in drug trafficking

Meanwhile, the deep-state-linked Ergenekon organization has been actively involved in drug trafficking to finance its activities, documents from the German police confirmed.

Germany’s Niedersachsen State’s anti-drug department, the LKA, which tapped the phones of some of the Ergenekon members as part of a narcotics investigation, proved that Ergenekon members were indeed in the drug business as well. The records of a Nov. 20, 2003 phone conversation between retired Capt. Muzaffer Tekin, arrested in June of last year as the owner of the munitions depot found in anIstanbul shantytown that started the Ergenekon operation, and Yilmaz Tavukçuoglu, an alleged drug trafficker, shows that Ergenekon used drug money to fund its activities. The two men in these conversations talk about the sale of a plot of land in Ümraniye. According to the LKA’s Willi Neumann, the co-owners of the land were Tekin and Ertugrul Yilmaz, the former owner of Dogus Factoring, who was murdered in eastern Germany two years ago. Neumann’s report asserts that this piece of land might have been used to launder money from drug trading with Tavukçuoglu. According to a book by Dogan Karlibel titled “Turkey Operations of German Secret Services,” the piece of land was sold for $2.5 million. The money was shared between Tekin, Tavukçuoglu and Ayhan Parlak, who was arrested in the 2006 attack against the Council of State, the same book claims.

Latest in the investigation

Meanwhile, the public prosecutor in the case objected to the release of nine individuals taken into custody earlier on in the Ergenekon investigation but later freed by the court. Late in the evening on Monday, the prosecution appealed the release of lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is currently the legal counsel of a suspect in the Dink murder, daily Aksam columnist Güler Kömürcü, Asim Demir, Raif Görüm, Emir Caner Yigit, Tanju Okan, Yasar Aslanköylü, Anatoli Medjan and Atilla Aksu. Representatives of Kerinçsiz also appealed his arrest. The Istanbul 13th Higher Criminal Court will review the appeals from both sides.
29.01.2008 Baris Altintas, Ahmet Dönmez Istanbul


The Gang: Usual Trouble Makers in Intellectuals' Trials
Veli Kücük, Kemal Kerincsiz and Sevgi Erenerol, now under arrest for charges of "plotting agaist the government" had already come into notoriety for the part they played in the provocative shows in the trials opened upon their own complaints against liberal intellectuals.

Bia news centre 28-01-2008 Erol ÖNDEROGLU

Retired brigadier general Veli Kücük, lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz and the spokesperson for the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, Sevgi Erenerol, who were all arrested in the weekend for charges of "plotting agaist the government" were already public figures, notorious for the part they played in filing complaints against intellectuals, for the fanfares they staged in front of the court houses during the victims' trials and for their thirst for appearing as co-plaintiffs inside the court rooms.

The agitation they caused in some of the trials which they joined or attempted to join as co-plaintiffs, and the slanders they publicized in the nationalist press has finally paved the way for the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who himself had been on trial and sentenced for “denigrating Turkishness.”

Kücük pulling the strings?

The Sabah newspaper has reported claims that Veli Kücük may be the person behind the murders of Hrant Dink and academic Necip Hablemitoglu, the murders of three Christians in Malatya, the murder of Ibrahim Ciftci (who was a key suspect in the Hablemitoglu murder and was killed by a hand grenade thrown into his office), as well as the attack on the State Council.
Involvement in case against Turkish Protestants

Erenerol tried to become a co-plaintiff in a trial against Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal, both accused of Protestant missionary work and charged with “denigrating Turkishness, inciting to hatred and hostility and collecting data in an illegal manner.” Erenerol’s request was refused.

The plaintiffs in the case are lawyer Kerincsiz and his team. Because the defense lawyer and the defendants were threatened and insulted, there were extraordinary security measures at the last hearing. The court case will continue on 13 March.

Hrant Dink was frightened of Kücük

After Hrant Dink was killed on 19 January 2007, lawyer Erdal Dogan told several newspapers that the journalist had said before, “When Veli Kücük started watching the trial, that’s when I started to get frightened.” Kücük filed a complaint against Dogan, demanding compensation of 10,000 YTL, arguing that Dogan had portrayed him as a murderer. The trial continues.

Veli Kücük’s name is also mentioned in the Susurluk scandal, which rocked Turkey in 1996. A car crash showed connections between the police, an MP, the military and ultra-nationalists. Ever since, people in Turey speak of a “deep state”, i.e. illegal forces working behind the front of an illusionary democracy.
Harrassment at Agos trial

When Agos journalists Hrant Dink and Aydin Engin were on trial for “attempting to influence the judiciary”, Kerincsiz, Kücük and Erenerol were present at the trial. The bigger group which they were part of was frequently warned during the hearing. In front of the court, two people were beaten by the nationalist group which attacked verbally and physically.

Kerincsiz was the defense lawyer for Muzaffer Tekin and Ergün Poyraz, both also in prison for suspicion of being members of the Ergenekon gang. Kerincsiz has argued that his profession means that he cannot have connections to the organisation.
Writers targeted

However, Turkey and the world know Kerincsiz from writer Orhan Pamuk’s trial. Pamuk was threatened and insulted in the corridors of the court building and eggs were thrown at him. Later, writer Elif Shafak and Hrant Dink had to experience similar harrassment.

Kerincsiz and his associate lawyers also sued those writers who criticised their attempts to stop the Ottoman Armenian conference in September 2005. In the case against Hrant Dink, Aydin Engin, Serkis Seropyan and Arat Dink from the Agos newspaper there was again a very tense atmosphere.
Akkus a "model student"

Recep Akkus, who has been seen at the same events as Kerincsiz, is the person behind criminal complaints against Taner Akcam, a historian and writer for Agos newspaper, Arat Dink and Serkis Seropyan of Agos newspaper, Karekin II, the head of the Armenian church, as well as Joost Lagendijk, the co-chair of the EU Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee. (EÖ/TK/AG)

The Shallowness Of The Deep State
Andrew Finkel a.finkel@todayszaman.com
Nearly a year ago I went to visit retired Col. Fikri Karadag, one of those currently under lock and key accused of plotting violent insurrection against the state.

Although it seems less amusing in retrospect, there was something almost comical at the time, the way he had marshaled a group of malcontents into a ragamuffin army. His second in command was a disgruntled taxi driver who complained that the country had been going to the dogs ever since the death of Atatürk. Even the woman who brought the tea was dressed in a dark blue uniform and tie like the air hostess of some budget airline. Col. Karadag denied that his Kuvayi Milliye ("national forces") was a paramilitary organization. The revolver (along with a copy of the Quran) on which his adherents swore a sacred oath "was just an air gun," he told me.

It was in September 2006 that I stood in a packed Istanbul courthouse at the trial of novelist Elif Safak and listed to a posse of ultranationalist lawyers assert that they were representing the injured party in her trial, the "Turkishness" that she was accused (and immediately acquitted) of having insulted. They created an ugly scene questioning the right of diplomatic observers (and I suppose members of the foreign press like myself) even to be in court. They were rowdy and aggressive, and I was surprised that the judge didn't have them up for contempt. At the point in which they did not appear to be getting their own way, they staged a noisy walkout. I recognized many of them from other trials I had covered. They were there on the island of Imrali during the proceedings against Abdullah Öcalan, representing the interests of the injured parties -- the soldier and civilians who had been killed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). They were there in the courtroom at Orhan Pamuk's trial. And they were there in the courtroom at the trial of Hrant Dink trying to persuade the judge that even though Dink had been shot dead this was not sufficient grounds to have the case against him dropped. Last week I saw several of them being taken to court themselves, this time themselves being accused of being part of a conspiracy to murder and maim in order to protect the state.

There is a certain frisson in the press these days as some brave public prosecutor has finally decided that enough is enough and that the time has come to intimidate those who have up until now been doing all the intimidating. The police had already arrested the untutored youths who planned and fired the bullet that killed Hrant Dink and are now working their way up the food chain. The more liberal commentators are reserving judgment, fingers crossed, in the hope that the authorities are now excising the next layer of tissue in the "deep state" -- the self-appointed guardians who believe their own prejudices and not the democratic will should define the national interest.

If this is truly the case, then my own sorry conclusion is now how profound this "deep state" has been, but how shallow and superficial. "Racism is a form of stupidity" Col. Karadag told me, but the literature his organization put out was openly offensive; it accused the state of falling into the hands of religious zealots and crypto-Jews. "The Turkish people long to be united with administrators who are like themselves of the Turkish race," it writes. "The right to life is sacred," he told me, but his organization's view was that "under the umbrella of democracy and human rights, that the state is seeing its authority dissipated, the nation is being divided and the soil of the fatherland sold off."

Whether the ultranationalist lawyers now in prison actually plotted the death of Hrant Dink and others or merely created an atmosphere in which others felt emboldened to act is something now for the courts to decide. Most shameful, however, is that for the last two years their rhetoric of "Turkishness" has been the lowest common denominator in the political debate. The cases they instigated against prominent writers have defined how the outside world treats Turkey, why it is possible for someone like Nicolas Sarkozy to deny Turkey's European vocation. Shame on them, for sure. But shame on us for letting them hold the nation hostage by such banalities.
29.01.2008


[The ‘Deep State’ & Gangs] How does a Turkish gang survive? by Faruk Mercan*
The recent exposure of Turkey's "deep state" gangs through Operation Ergenekon has once again uncovered the surface of state-mafia relations, evoking strong reactions from civilians throughout the nation.

I wonder if it is just a coincidence that the roots of almost every single organization and group brought before Turkish justice to be tried stretch back to either the period before 1980 or to the years of the 1980s. Definitely not is my answer.

There is more than one reason for this. First of all, these groups which we term "gangs" or the "mafia" have benefited enormously from the closed economy atmosphere, which made it extremely easy to carry out illegal activities in Turkey until the mid-1980s. As Turkey moved toward a more open and free market economy, these groups became fearful. Former Prime Minister Turgut Özal, who was the target of an assassination attempt in 1988 in Ankara at his party's congress, sent his undersecretary to Switzerland at this time. During research carried out over who might have been behind the curtain of this assassination attempt, Özal saw cooperation between cigarette and arms smugglers making profits off of the closed economy and certain elements within the state as being the powers behind the attempt on his life. In fact, the trails left by this assassination attempt stretched all the way to secret accounts kept in Swiss banks. If in fact Özal had been eliminated with this assassination, it would have been nearly impossible for his administration to have been followed by one determined to bring about a free market economy to Turkey. And this would have meant Turkey's inevitable return to the era preceding 1980.

The second reason that these gangs' roots trail back to the era before the 1980s is this: Direct contacts in Turkey between the mafia and gang leaders and the state bureaucracy in fact began during the "tight control leadership" and political chaos period of the 1970s. Yes, the relations formed between many of these people and various elements of the state go all the way back to those days. Since those times there are have been many, many figures from the police, the armed forces, the justice system and the political world eliminated from their jobs because of these relations. But these eliminations were not sufficient, as the Turkish system has clearly allowed for the formation of gangs up until today.

As a third reason, there have been certain factions of the Turkish business world which have been unable or unwilling to assimilate to the new conditions and orders presented by the post-1980 free market economy. These are businessmen who prefer to continue "playing ball" on the old field still populated by figures who include mafia leaders and gangs. What's more, these figures from the business world have mostly acted as bridges between the illegal groups and organizations and the state bureaucracy. When you look at the many cases of banks which have gone belly-up in recent years, the nature of these relations appears very clear. It emerged in detail just how it is that these businessmen, who may own banks, media organs or factories, became financiers for illegal groups. In many cases, it is clear that the gang leaders played important roles in the profits seen by these businessmen, which is why they are left with having to share the money.

A fourth reason at play here is that Turkey lies on the path for drugs coming out of either Afghanistan or Iran, and as such, due to its geographical position, is one of the major sites for the build-up of this black market money. The amount of drugs which have been impounded by Istanbul Police in just the last five years alone is 35 tons. More than 20 tons of this is heroine. Narcotics officers realize that they are only able to impound about one-fourth of the heroine supply roaming the global routes. This means that in the last five years, 150 tons of drugs have headed to the West through Istanbul alone. There is no doubt whatsoever that the gangs in Turkey are benefiting from the drug money gathering on the Turkish leg of these drugs' journey. And thus the gangs here both protect the drug leaders and also find themselves in the position of being direct partners in certain businesses.

So now we come to the most critical question herein: Why is it that the roots of these gangs, which have existed in Turkey for 30 years now, can't be uprooted?

There is a widespread conviction within Turkish society these days about the structure of the "deep state," a term used to describe in fact a large variety of actions and operations. In the recent operation against the so-called "Ergenekon" gang, we see that this conviction has become firmly rooted in place in Turkish society. So much so that now we hear about the individuals from the police or the armed forces fingered in this Ergenekon gang as being called "uniformed gang" members.

Of course, the debates of the structure referred to as the "Turkish Gladio" that have occupied so much space on the national agenda for years and years have not come to an end. But I do believe that Turkey is seriously deficient in the perspective that these gangs are simply a problem that can be labeled the "deep state." Because in Turkey these sorts of gangs are in fact a societal problem and there are many citizens in whose interest the continuance of gangs like this lies.

Once, years ago, I listened to some words from a top-level police force member. This was a person who was known for his nickname "the King of Casinos" and who controlled most of the casinos found in five star hotels in Turkey from the early 1990s. The "De Beers" diamond sent by this police force member to the wife of a high-level justice authority in Ankara was reportedly worth more than YTL 100 million. And there were hundreds of pages in a report on the relations enjoyed by this person within the web of justice and state at the very top of Turkey. But there was a story I just recently heard the other day. A businessman who learned of the interest held by a very top-level bureaucrat in expensive pens bought a very rare Cross pen for $100,000 and gave it to this bureaucrat as a gift. I wonder why a phenomenally expensive diamond or a rare and valuable Cross pen would be given as gifts at all? Both of these are not cases of "deep state" activities but instead of personal interest.

If you are paying close attention, you will note that in all of these cases, including Ergenekon, there are always figures from the business world, the justice system and the Turkish political world as well as members of the police force and the armed forces that are involved. Most of the time it is the politician in these groups who is making the money for the gang in question. It is the justice system members who release them from having to go to prison. It is the business world member who is the source of the money. Since the investigation into Ergenekon is still at its very beginning, we haven't yet seen or heard of any politicians or justice system members who were involved. But in the coming days these elements will emerge in this case. Because this five-legged creature cannot survive without these elements in Turkey.

In the end we can come to this conclusion: Seeing the "deep state" as the sole reason for the existence of gangs in Turkey and that these illegal gangs are simply the playthings of organizations like Ergenekon will not rescue this nation from these gangs.

Since Turkey is not, after all, a "gang-run state," is it not possible for the state apparatus to single-handedly support this many gangs. What needs to happen is for the entire justice system and the entire political arena, joined by the society at large, to put forward an urgent demand for the cleansing of these gangs from the system. If this demand is not forthcoming, the police and a few lion-hearted prosecutors will never be able to handle these gangs on their own. A united demand such as this would bring us to a healthy conclusion in the debates we have been having without results for years about the "Turkish Gladio." Because in a society that makes and puts forward a demand like this, there is certainly no place for a "Gladio."

*Faruk Mercan is the author of numerous books including "Apolet, Kiliç ve Iktidar," "Niso" and "Onlar Basroldeydi."
29.01.2008


Turkey Criticizes Us Democratic Presidential Hopefuls For Armenian Genocide Comments
Associated Press January 28, 2008

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey has criticized U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls for backing Armenian views that a century-old mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks constituted a genocide.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement over the weekend that remarks by Democratic presidential candidates "for the sake of an internal party struggle, offends the Turkish nation." The statement did not name specific candidates.

Barack Obama issued a statement urging Turkey to acknowledge the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide, saying: "As a U.S. senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide." The statement, dated Jan. 19, was posted on his campaign Web site.

Armenia says some 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire in a genocidal campaign during World War I. Turkey says the casualty figures are inflated, and that the killings occurred at a time of civil unrest and were not part of a systematic campaign to eliminate the Armenian minority of the Turkish-ruled empire.

The Armenian National Committee of America, an advocacy group, said another Democratic candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, had vowed support for U.S. recognition of the killings as a "genocide."

The group posted a statement on its Web site that it said had come from Clinton, but her campaign office could not immediately confirm that.

In the unconfirmed statement, Clinton is quoted as saying she believed "the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide."

In October, Turkey protested to Washington over a House committee vote that labeled the deaths a genocide. Despite appeals by U.S. President George W. Bush and top Turkish leadership, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the genocide bill.

A similar vote by the French Assembly to declare the killings a genocide sparked fury among the Turkish public, and prompted the Turkish government to cancel all military contracts with France, one of its key arms supplier.
Copyright © 2008 The International Herald Tribune | www.iht.com


How Far Will Ultra-Nationalist Organisation Be Unmasked?
It is clear that the USA, the Turkish General Staff and the ruling AKP have agreed to break the back of the Ergenekon organisation. The question now is whether this operation will be used to shed light on cases like the Hrant Dink murder.

Bia news centre 28-01-2008 Cem ÖZATALAY

Turkish politics has been shaken up by operations against the Ergenekon gang, starting on 22 January. On 15 January, Diyarbakir MP Akin Birdal had made a speech in parliament about Hrant Dink’s murder. To be honest, I did not anticipate then that the decisive answer by Minister of the Interior Besir Atalay, who said that it was a “matter of honour” to find those who had carried out and planned […] the murder, would be followed by such an operation.
Optimism was impossible

Indeed, it was impossible to be very optimistic, considering the fact that since the start of the Dink murder trial there has only been permission to investigate three of the dozens of public officers clearly responsible for, or at the very least negligent in, the murder: one was Ahmet Ilhan Güler, the head of the Istanbul Police Intelligence Branch, the other two gendarmerie officers who were on duty in Trabzon at the time of the murder, Veysel Sahin and Okan Simsek.
Veiled reference to Ergenekon

However, when Besir Atalay spoke, I immediately understood from certain hints that the Ergenekon gang had become a target. He had said:

“Those who carried out or planned this attack are diseased minds who are uncomfortable at our country opening up towards the world, particularly the EU, who are trying to prevent this, and who want to destroy social peace.”

From this I knew that Ergenekon was targeted because I had written an article entitled “Turkey Has Shown Many Signs of Becoming Fascist”, published in the Birikim journal in June. In the article, I had written about the fundamental aims of the organisation, which are listed in a booklet called “The Remaking of the State”:

a) “To reorganise the state hegemony and independent decision making mechanisms and base them on the people.

b) To found a special war, an independent national intelligence organisation in order to […] evaluate all of Turkey’s resources, especially human resources, in order to strengthen and reinforce the power of the Turkish Armed Forces to apply sanctions independently of world centres. To speed up the construction of a national defense industry, so that Turkey becomes independent of arms imports from certain centres and so that there is diversification.

c) Considering the first two articles, to revive Atatürk’s regional foreign policy, and to develop policies which answer the threat of the new Sevre threat from the West with a new power centre based on Russia, China and India in Asia. In order to carry out these three duties, it is vital that the independent decision making mechanisms of the nation state be reorganised. A foreign policy focusing on the region and Eurasia would create the international environment for such policies."
No simple "criminal gang"

From these aims it becomes clear that Ergenekon is not a simple criminal organization. In the same article, after pointing out that there were signs that the nationalist NGOs who had organised the “Republican Rallies” had close connections with this organisation, and argued that [Ergenekon] was the real agitator behind the rising fascism in Turkey.

Despite the fact that I could relate this to Besir Atalay’s speech and could feel that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was made uncomfortable by the existence of the organization, I could not have predicted this operation.
USA clearly disturbed

The reason was that I did not think that the AKP would display the determination and courage to allow this operation in spite of the General Staff.
Now I realise that I did not reckon with the USA, who are disturbed by the political aims of this organisation which aims at fundamentally changing the foreign policies of the Turkish state.

It is clear that the USA, the General Staff and the AKP have agreed to break the back of Ergenekon.
Will the operation go far enough?

What is important now, is whether the operation will stop at neutralising the power centre, or whether it will be used to shed light on all the actions aimed at pushing Turkey into darkness, from Hrant Dink’s murder, to the bombing in Semdinli, the murder of Priest Andrea Santoro, the attack on the Council of State, the bombings of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, etc.

We shall have to wait and see…(CÖ/TK/AG)
* Cem Özatalay is a sociology lecturer at Galatasaray University, Istanbul.


The Gang Could Be The Tip Of The Iceberg
So far, thirteen alleged members of the ultra-nationalist Ergenekon gang have been arrested, among them three retired army officers. If the investigation is carried out in a serious manner, light will be shed on many events of the last years.

Today's Zaman 27-01-2008

A police investigation into a neo-nationalist gang believed to be the extension of a clandestine network of groups with members in the armed forces has discovered that the group was plotting to stage a coup against the government in the year 2009 and that suspects so far apprehended are only the collaborators of the real plotters in the military, Turkish newspapers reported on Friday.

Revelations emanating from the investigation thus far have shown that many of the attacks attributed to separatist or Islamist groups or seen as hate crimes against minorities were actually "inside jobs."
Gang connected to many incidents

The investigation into the gang, 33 of whose members were taken into police custody earlier this week as part of an investigation into an arms depot found in Istanbul in June of last year, has exposed solid links between an attack on the Council of State in 2006, threats and attacks against people accused of being unpatriotic and a 1996 car crash known as the Susurluk incident, which revealed links between a police chief, a convicted ultranationalist fugitive and a member of Parliament as well as links to plans of some groups in Turkey's powerful military to overthrow the government.

Meanwhile, 15 of the suspects detained on Tuesday on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization were taken to a courthouse in Istanbul's Besiktas district under tight security on Friday, while one of them, retired Maj. Zekeriya Öztürk, was arrested.

Three of the suspects were released on Thursday by the prosecutor after their interrogation was complete, while the court released one of the suspects.
Aggregate of "patriots"

The gang is a part of a structure named Ergenekon, declared a terrorist organization by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office, an aggregation of many groups of varying sizes, many of which have in their names adjectives such as "patriotic," "national," "nationalist," "Kemalist" or "Atatürkist." Ergenekon is the name of a legend that describes how Turks came into existence.

A number of those detained in the recent raids, including Veli Küçük, Sami Hostan, Drej Ali and Muzaffer Tekin -- who was already in jail prior to Tuesday's detentions-- have repeatedly been named in many similar investigations.
Only the tip of the iceberg?

The investigation has found that the Ergenekon phenomenon, also referred to as Turkey's "deep state," stages attacks using "behind-the-scenes" paramilitary organizations to manipulate public opinion according its own political agenda.

The Radikal daily has reported that pundits are divided on whether the recent operation will help Turkey end the actions of such unlawful groups. Optimists believe the recent police operation was a major blow to the formation, while pessimists say the individuals detained as part of the Ergenekon operation are only the visible tip of the iceberg.
How far is the military involved?

Recalling that a newsweekly had uncovered generals' plans to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in 2004, most pessimists say there are still groups in the military who are pursuing coup d'état ambitions.

"Since the civilians [currently in custody] cannot stage a coup, then who was going to?" asked the Taraf daily, urging the authorities to carry on with the investigation without fear. The prosecution is currently working on finding exactly those parts of the network that would hopefully link the current suspects to the bottom of the "iceberg."

Some of the allegations against Ergenekon

The investigation has so far found that the Ergenekon organization had plotted to kill Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and other public figures to drag Turkey into chaos to create the perfect environment for a coup -- not unlike the atmosphere of the pre-1980 period, which ended with a violent military takeover -- that was to be staged in 2009.

Evidence so far also suggests that 700 kilograms of explosives found loaded on a van in Istanbul belonged to this gang. An attack against the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), also a murky group with shadowy affiliations, in Diyarbakir was actually staged by the VKGB itself, according the investigation. The attack had then been blamed on the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) organization.

There is also evidence linking the Ergenekon gang to the assassination of Necip Hablemitoglu, shot to death in 2002 after concluding that residents of the Bergama region campaigning against gold prospecting in the area were being manipulated by Germans protecting their economic interests, in a comprehensive study he conducted on the subject.

Ibrahim Ciftci, an Izmir businessman questioned over the Hablemitoglu murder as a key suspect, was later killed by a hand grenade thrown into his Alsancak office, which, according to the businessman's son, was the work of the gang to keep him silent.
Hopes for solving Dink murder

In a statement on Friday, Nusret Gürgöz, a lawyer for the co-plaintiffs in the murder trial of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, said the recent police operation into Ergenekon had given hope for finding the real forces behind the murder of Dink.

"We are very hopeful now that the Ergenekon Operation has taken place. If light is shed on the Dink murder, this could be a start for the others."
The suspects and the hierarchy of the group

A large number of documents clearly showing the hierarchical structure of the group have also been seized in the recent operations. The organization's manifesto and even organizational charts showing the hierarchy of the group, future plans and lists of agencies the organization plans to infiltrate are among the documents Prosecutor Zekeriya Öz has already been through. According to a report from the Hürriyet daily, some members of the Ergenekon network were in the past active members of Hizbullah.

The suspects detained in Tuesday's operation included Veli Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, JITEM, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel; Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aksam daily; and Sami Hostan, a key figure in the Susurluk investigation. Ali Yasak, a well-known gangster linked to the figures in the Susurluk incident, was also detained in the operation.
Thirteen arrests

Öztürk's arrest was followed by the arrest of twelve others, among them Kücük, Kerincsiz, Karadag, and Erenerol, as well as Muhammad Yüce, Kahraman Sahin, Erol Ölmez, and Erkut Ersoy.

Of the 33 detained, twenty were released after giving testimony, among them Fuat Turgut, the lawyer of Dink murder suspect Yasin Hayal, and Kömürcü.

*This article was published in Today's Zaman on 26 January. Some subheadings and an update were added by bianet.


70,000 Armenians Come to Turkey in Search of Jobs
28.01.08
Turkey, Ankara / Trend corr. ?.?laskarov / Ali Babajan, the Turkish Foreign Minister, stated that about 70,000 Armenians have come to Turkey recently in search of jobs. The Turkish Minister participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The newspaper Hurriyet reported, that the Minister noted that the Armenian State opposes consideration of the so-called Armenian genocide by historians, while Ankara does not hinder Armenians coming to the country in search of jobs.

According to Babajan, the former Turkish Foreign Minister Abdulla Gul noted that the number of Armenians moving to turkey had reached 40,000. However, the number of Armenians has increased in a short period of time.

Armenians go to Turkey in search of jobs, but apply anti Turkish popularization and attempt to spread hostility between nations.


USA Won’t Allow ‘Armenian Genocide’ to be Recognized: Assistant to Former British PM
28.01.08
Azerbaijan, Baku, 28 January /corr. Trend F.Rzayev, K.Ramazanova / The USA will not allow the recognition of the ‘Armenian genocide’ by Turks at the beginning of the last century, said Norman Stone, Assistant to former Prime Minister of Great Britain.

“These are political statements. We all know politicians have to say things and then do something different,” Stone said in Baku on 28 January.

Candidates from the Democratic Party, senator Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, called upon the Congress to pass Resolution No 106, promising to recognize the ‘Armenian genocide’ in Ottoman Turkey at the beginning of the last century if they are elected as President of the USA.

The resolution was presented to the House of Representatives on 30 January 2007 by Adam Shiff under pressure from the Armenian lobby in the USA. The US President George W Bush has repeatedly protested against recognition of the ‘Armenian genocide’. The US Secretary General and eight former Secretaries of State also opposed adoption of this resolution.

Turkey, who does not recognize the accusations of the Armenians, has repeatedly warned that if resolution No 106 is adopted, US-Turkish relations may worsen. Last week the Prime Minister of Turkey, Rajab Teyyub Erdogan, condemned Obama and accused him of ‘political inexperience’.

“Everybody well understands that adopting the Armenian draft law will bring significant harm to relations between Turkey and the United States,” the Prime Minister of Turkey said.

Ankara suggested Armenia attend a mixed commission which would give free access to the archives of the 1915 events, but Armenia refused.

Turkish journalist-commentator and commentator of the Turkish Daily News, Jem Oguz, considers that the candidates for Presidency in the USA have repeatedly made such statements. “There are big differences between the candidates for presidency and president,” he said.

According to Oguz, the president takes on a responsibility and if it is possible to give up the responsibility, the genocide will be recognized.

Oguz considers that if resolution No 106 is passed, the USA will lose its partner in Turkey. “Differences will materialize between the USA and Turkey and results of the confrontation will be in favor of Turkey,” he said.


Wanted: Backers of Ergenekon
Sami Hostan, a key figure in the Susurluk investigation, was among suspects arrested on Saturday by the court as part of the ongoing Ergenekon operation.

Thirteen people in the deep-state linked Ergenekon organization were arrested and jailed by order of a court on Saturday after being charged with inciting people to revolt, but many commentators say it remains unclear whether the investigation will go any deeper.

The 13 included retired Maj. Gen. Veli Küçük and retired Col. Fikri Karadag. The Ergenekon group had been the top story of all of Turkey's newspapers last week after it was uncovered as the organization apparently has strong ties to the deep state -- a phrase used to describe a phenomenon in which illegal groups in the security forces and state bureaucracy take the law into their own hands to serve their own political ends. Küçük is the first of his rank to be arrested by a civilian court. There are many faces currently in the bureaucracy and the military behind the faces in Ergenekon, and they should be identified, demanded many analysts and newspapers over the weekend.

The court decision followed the arrests of dozens of people last week in a police investigation into an ultra-nationalist group known as Ergenekon. The investigation has shown that the group had been planning to kill Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk and Todays's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru as well as several Kurdish politicians. The nine people in custody under suspicion of membership in the Ergenekon organization -- part of a shadowy network with apparent inside links to the military, bureaucracy and some other state agencies thought to be responsible for assassinations of certain public figures, including Armenian journalist Hrant Dink -- were on Saturday taken to the Istanbul courthouse located in Besiktas. Officials have declined to comment on the case, which began last summer with the seizure of explosives and weapons at a house in the Ümraniye district of Istanbul.

The suspects arrested by the court on Saturday included Küçük, a retired general who is also the alleged founder of a secret intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel who also heads the Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB); Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Sami Hostan, a key figure in the Susurluk investigation; Hüseyin Görüm; Hüseyin Gazi Oguz; and Oguz Alparsalan Abdülkadir. The arrested are facing charges of inciting people to armed revolt against the government.

The Susurluk investigation was launched in 1996 after a car crash near the small town of Susurluk that uncovered links between a police chief, a convicted fugitive, who was an ultranationalist, and a deputy. At the time hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens across the nation had protested, turning their lights out for a moment at 9 p.m. and calling on authorities to put an end to the shady insider gangs known as the "deep state."

Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aksam daily who was taken into custody in the operation last week, was released Saturday by the court, but she remains banned from traveling abroad.

The suspects were taken out of the courthouse on Saturday under tight security. Photojournalists were not allowed to take any pictures.

Meanwhile, Hüseyin Görüm, one of the suspects, yelled out, “Kuvayi Milliye 1919 won!” The phrase is a reference to the right-wing Kuvayi Milliye (National Forces) movement that started in 1919 to purge Turkey of invading Western powers and resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

Two more detained

Retired Maj. Zekeriya Öztürk, Kahraman Sahin, Erol Ölmez, Erkut Ersoy and Muhammet Yüce were also arrested.

Twelve people, including the lawyer of a Dink murder suspect, and Ali Yasak, also known as Drej Ali, another figure in the Susurluk investigation, were released after their initial interrogation.

The investigation has so far revealed that the group was preparing a series of bomb attacks aimed at fomenting chaos ahead of a coup in 2009 against Turkey’s center-right government, whose European Union-linked reforms are opposed by ultra-nationalists.

The Ergenekon group may have been behind the murder last January of Dink, a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist, outside his office in Istanbul, newspapers have quoted police sources as saying.

Police have been observing Ergenekon -- the name of an epic story in nationalist mythology explaining how the Turks came into being -- for several years and have compiled a 7,000-page dossier on the group and its activities, newspapers say.

Gang meetings in church

The Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, the Taraf daily wrote on Sunday, was the meeting place of the group. The patriarchate’s spokesperson, Sevgi Erenerol, hosted the gang’s meetings in the organization’s “church.” The daily noted that the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate was founded in 1924 to break the influence of the Fener Greek Patriarchate. Although it has no followers, it has become an important part of the “deep state,” as it was intended.

“As a church, we have regular meetings with the National Security Agency (MIT),” said Selçuk Erenerol, the third patriarch who is also the father of Sevgi Erenerol. The group owns two other churches, but none of them has a congregation.

Many of those arrested on Saturday, including Küçük, Kerinçsiz and Karadag, had regular meetings at the church and gave their orders from there.

Some of the gang members are members of the Church of Scientology, some newspapers reported.

Links with the PKK

Meanwhile the Hürriyet daily on Sunday wrote that the group was planning to use two members of the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), known as the “deep” extension of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in a bombing. Maps of the plot showed that the group was planning to blow up a bridge along a highway where the air force and the navy headquarters are located.

The group also had plans to assassinate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sources speaking to Hürriyet claimed.

Who is behind Ergenekon?

The name of Küçük first appeared on Nov. 3, 1996, wrote Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin on Sunday. “However, neither that date nor Veli Küçük marks the start of the organizations of paramilitary militia.” He said if the allegations that Ergenekon was a group trying to create chaos through attacks to enable coup planners inside the military to overthrow the government, then it is necessary to reach the individuals at the “bottom of the iceberg.”

Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu, known for his keen knowledge of Turkey’s political history, on Friday wrote: “One looking for Ergenekon need not go too far. This is the story of Ergenekon -- the Turkish Gladio -- from the assassination of [journalist] Abdi Ipekçi [in 1979] to ‘the massacre of March 16’ [in 1978, when seven students at an Istanbul university were killed in a bomb attack], then peaking in Susurluk and possibly involved in the Council of State shooting.”

A senior judge was shot dead in an attack at the Council of State in 2006. The attacker was found to have links to shady networks similar to the Ergenekon gang.

Gladio was an Italian organization founded by NATO in the post World War I period to perform illegal, behind-the-scenes operations to counter the Soviet threat. Similar organizations were founded in many countries in the ‘50s. Many ended up doing the “dirty work” of their own secret services.
28.01.2008 Today’s Zaman Istanbul


Denmark Does Not Recognize Armenian Historical Claims
28 January 2008, Turkish Weekly

Denmark does not officially recognize that 1915 communal clashes between Armenians, Turks and Kurds in the Ottoman time constitute genocide, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said Thursday.

"In the government's opinion, this is a historical question that should be left up to the historians," Moeller said in a written parliamentary answer.

Moeller's note came in response to a question from parliamentary member, Morten Messerchmidt, of the far-right Danish People's Party, on whether "Denmark had officially recognized this genocide."

The far-rightist parliamenterian Messerchmidt told the AFP "It is unfortunate that the Danish government refuses to join other countries in recognizing this genocide. It is as if they fear Turkey's reactions."

Many Armenians and Muslims were killed in the 1915 communal clashes when the Armenians rioted against the Ottoman State as a support of the occupying Russian forces during the First World War. More than 520.000 Turkish and Kurdish people were massacred by the armed Armenian nationalists. Many Jews were also killed by the Tashnak militants in the Hakkari province. Armenia and some of the Armenian diaspora groups label the 1915 events as genocide while the Turks also accuse the Armenians of committing genocide against the Muslims. Armenia does not recognise Turkey's national borders and occupies 20 percent of another neighbouring country, Azerbaijan.


JITEM Hitman: Veli Küçük Conceals Masterminds

While retired Gen. Veli Küçük, who was jailed following his capture in a police raid to crack down on a gang known as Ergenekon, said in a statement that he was the founder of JITEM, the intelligence unit of the gendarmerie that does not exist on paper and whose existence has been consistently denied by officials, a former JITEM hit man accused the general of concealing the real masterminds of the Ergenekon organization.

Well-known informant Abdülkadir Aygan, who was involved in JITEM activities for years, spoke to Today's Zaman. He stated that about 80 percent of JITEM's acts were illegal, despite the fact that it was an official institution. Noting that JITEM was using illegal and unregistered guns, Aygan said: "Possession of these guns was also illegal. A former governor of OHAL -- a state of emergency in place in the southeast region in the '90s -- Hayri Kozak-çioglu, who handed over C-4 explosives to JITEM, also conspired in the illegal activities."

Born in 1958, Aygan joined the PKK in the early 1980s. He escaped from the organization in 1985 to become an informant. In his own words, Aygan took part in the first personnel line of JITEM, owing to the efforts of Lt. Col. Cem Ersever, one of the famous names of JITEM, He worked at JITEM for 10 years under the assumed name Aziz Turan. In 2000, he was appointed a civil servant at the Burdur Provincial Gendarmerie Command. Married with five children, Aygan currently lives in Sweden as a political refugee. The lawsuit under which the JITEM team is held responsible for 37 murders is currently being handled by the Diyarbakir 3rd High Criminal Court.

Aygan says that Küçük served as JITEM group commander from 1990 to 1991 based in Ankara's Aydinlikevler district. "JITEM's headquarters was in a large building with two floors. All personnel in the building used to wear civilian clothes. The vehicles used in official service had civilian plates; however, these were the gendarmerie's registered vehicles. It is no coincidence that this person served as the head of the organization during the establishment of JITEM. It is certain that he was one of the founders of the organization. However, his assertion that he founded JITEM alone is not accurate. I think that he is trying to protect the masterminds and prove that he is loyal to them. … JITEM was not founded by Küçük's efforts alone. It was the outcome of a collective action. If Cem Ersever had been alive today, he would have contributed to the resolution of the case. Ahmet Cem Ersever, Col. Arif Dogan, Hasan Kundakçi, Veli Küçük, Hüseyin Kara, Hulusi Sayin and Aytekin Özen were the founders of JITEM."

Aygan asserted that a legal instrument promulgated in 1937 in relation to the Dersim mutiny on combating separatist movements and the appointment of agents and informants to deal with rebellious actions was used as a legal basis to create JITEM.

Noting that the core cadre of JITEM included special warfare unit members, Aygan said that 80 percent of JITEM's activities were illegal despite the fact that it was an official institution. "Presentation of the information received from other units, agents and informants as intelligence reports to the higher posts was legal. However, references to some regions as ‘close to the PKK' were illegal. Its activities to label a number of people as PKK militants or members, the investigation of these people in prison, their subjection to torture and extrajudicial killings were all illegal. Bombings in the buildings of civil society organizations, papers and cars were illegal."

Noting that Kozakçioglu handed over a large amount of C-4 explosives to JITEM, Aygan said Ersever, who was kidnapped and killed in 1993, and Özen transferred the explosives to Ankara. "Ugur Mumcu, Bahriye Üçok and Esref Bitlis were all assassinated after the transfer of the explosives to Ankara. The same explosives were detonated in the vehicles of attorney Mustafa Özer in Diyarbakir and in Kiziltepe. JITEM had plans to kill many other people including lawyers, bureaucrats and other leading names. For instance, attorney and Republican People's Party [CHP] deputy Mesut Deger and attorney Mahmut Sakar were two of them. I never witnessed a drug deal, but they had close relations with infamous drug traffickers." Aygan further notes that Ersever disliked Küçük.
30.01.2008 Melik Duvakli Istanbul


Ergenekon Coup Planner Called Army Friends For Help
A number of suspects detained under suspicion of close connections with the Ergenekon terror organization were taken to a court in Istanbul on Saturday.

A prime suspect in the Ergenekon terrorist organization case phoned higher-ranking military generals and certain judges but failed to secure the help he sought, Yeni Safak reported on Tuesday.

Last week, 33 members of a gang with links to the deep-state were arrested in simultaneous police raids in various cities as part of an investigation into an arms depot found in Istanbul in June of last year. The investigation of the Ergenekon gang has resulted in evidence that the gang was planning a coup d'état for 2009. With the purpose of creating chaos in the country and thus an atmosphere suitable for a military takeover, the group staged a number of attacks and murders whose perpetrators remain unknown as well as others in which the assailants have been found.

Evidence in the investigation suggests Ergenekon organized an attack on the Council of State in 2006; the murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in January; and the murder of three Christians in the city of Malatya in April of last year . Gang administrators are also key figures in the Susurluk accident, a 1996 car crash that revealed links between a police chief, a convicted ultranationalist fugitive and a member of Parliament.

Yeni Safak wrote that when Istanbul Police Department counterrorism squads were banging on the door of the Harbiye apartment of retired Gen. Veli Küçük in the early morning hours of Jan. 22 to take him into police custody, he placed calls on his cell phone before leaving his home with the police officers. The police, who were monitoring Küçük's phone conversations, say Küçük made eight phone calls to “influential friends,” telling them that the police were waiting at the door to take him into custody, and asked for help -- but his pleas for help were rejected. Police sources did not give further details on the content of the phone calls.

Phone conversations between gang members

A plot to kill Turkey's only Nobel Prize-winning author, Orhan Pamuk, was also among Ergenekon's plans. Newspapers printed transcripts of recorded phone conversations between Spc. Sgt. Muhammed Yüce, Ret. Col. Fikri Karadag and Selim Akkurt, the trigger-man hired to do the job, whose phones were tapped with a court order. Officials say that Yüce, who was also arrested for being part of the Ergenekon organization, said in a phone conversation with the hit-man that he had spoken to Karadag about the planned Pamuk assassination. Yüce told Akkus that an Istanbul businessman would financially support them as would a prosecutor and a judge in Istanbul's Kadiköy district. Akkurt, who spoke in a worried tone, is quoted as saying he was concerned he might end up like Mehmet Ali Agca, a deep-state assassin who also shot the pope in the '70s. Akkurt expressed a desire to be like O.S., the teenager who shot Dink in January of last year, saying: “He has trillions of lira in his account. Plus, those around him have become heroes.” In response to these words, Yüce was quoted as having said: “You, me and Fuci will take care of Orhan Pamuk. We will have YTL 2 million in our accounts. Are you with me on this one?” Akkurt is heard giving an affirmative response to Yüce's question in the recordings.

Shortly after his conversation with Akkurt, Yüce sent a text message to a relative in which he wrote: “We will take care of Orhan after the conference. They will put in [YTL] 5 billion into our account. They will give us a gas station and a villa. Sedat Peker will take care of us while we're in jail.” Peker is an ultranationalist mafia leader with apparent links to deep-state figures.

Meanwhile, Karadag is quoted in the transcripts as frequently uttering the phrases “We are losing the country” and “We need to set up a new army.” However, when Zekeriya Öz, the prosecutor on the case, asked about the meaning of the phone conversations, Yüce replied, “We were only joking around on the phone.”

The investigation so far into the Ergenekon organization -- 14 of whose members were arrested Saturday in one of the biggest operations ever against deep-state-linked groups in Turkey -- has revealed that the organization was working to create a chaotic atmosphere so that its counterparts in the military could overthrow the government. All in all, 28 Ergenekon members are currently under arrest.

An Istanbul court has accused the members of the Ergenekon gang of certain bombing incidents and attacks in the past two years, of inciting people to revolt, establishing a terrorist organization, of leading that terrorist organization and of membership in the terrorist organization.

Documents seized during the investigation into the gang, whose members include former military officers, some of them high-ranking, revealed that they were planning to create complete chaos in the country to prepare fertile ground for a military coup d'état in 2009.

Some of the gang members against whom charges have been brought include Küçük, who is also the alleged founder of a clandestine and unofficial intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Karadag, a retired army colonel; and Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate.

Latest in the investigation

On Monday, the case's public prosecutor objected to the release of nine individuals taken into custody earlier on in the Ergenekon investigation but later freed by the court. Late in the evening on Monday, the prosecution appealed the release of lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is currently the legal counsel of a suspect in the Dink murder, daily Aksam columnist Güler Kömürcü, Asim Demir, Raif Görüm, Emir Caner Yigit, Tanju Okan, Yasar Aslanköylü, Anatoli Medjan and Atilla Aksu. Representatives of Kerinçsiz also appealed his arrest. The Istanbul 13th Higher Criminal Court will review the appeals from both sides.
30.01.2008 Today’s Zaman Istanbul


Bulent Kenes b.kenes@todayszaman.com
Dauntless Gangs And Fainthearted Judges
For a week, Turkey has been discussing the shocking ties and actions of the Ergenekon gang, defined by the prosecutor as a “terrorist organization.” Furthermore, this comes as a serious shock even though we have been quite familiar with gangs and gangsters since the Susurluk scandal, which occurred 11 years ago.

If we are to recall the similar discoveries in the last few years, many gangs unearthed by the police such as the Atabeyler, Sauna, Vatansever Kuvvetler (Patriotic Forces), etc., filled our agenda for weeks just like Ergenekon is doing now. Maybe the police and prosecutors are fulfilling what is incumbent on them by cornering these gang formations, which have proven to be closely related to one another; however, the gang cases brought to the courts somehow fail to produce any sentences that would deter these illegal formations.

This view is confirmed by data released by the police department. Turkish courts are pusillanimously lenient toward organized crime, although they impose relentless sentences on those accused of personal crimes. According to police data, over 4,000 operations have been carried out against organized crime gangs in the last 10 years. Excluding those caught during the operations against terror organization Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), approximately 35,000 suspects have been detained during these operations. Just in 2006, 3,043 people were arrested during the 229 operations carried out in 53 cities. When we came to 2007, 95 gangs were shut down in 36 cities, with 1,230 people arrested. In total, the number of those who were detained in the last couple of years in relation to gang crimes has reached 4,270.

Strangely enough, it is impossible to see such big figures in the records of the Ministry of Justice, even with the comforting number of suspects in the data released by the police in relation to the fight against gangs, since, of the 75,589 prisoners in 421 Turkish prisons and jails, just about 1,500 of them are there in connection with organized crime. Moreover, it is virtually impossible to find anyone imprisoned for organized crime when we take into account that terrorism also falls under the category of organized crime. So what does this indicate? Of course, the heartrending crookedness ingrained in our judicial system and in the mindset of the members of the judiciary.

The judiciary in Turkey, which has almost become a safe haven for crime organizations of varying sizes over the years, always proves to be hesitant and insufficient in punishing the members of organized crime gangs, maybe due to the lack of courage, insensitivity, indifference and negligence and maybe even because gangs have extensions in the judiciary itself. Or should we put this kind of tremulous and fearful approach down to the phone calls made by Veli Küçük, which made it to the headline of the daily Yeni Safak yesterday?

Consequently, some people have been weighing in on the trial process in one way or another, and this intervention is producing results. Let’s look at the Semdinli case as an example, if you like. The ruling made by the civil court that sentenced the Semdinli bombers to 35 years was reversed by the military court by getting around the law, and the suspects, caught red-handed, were acquitted by the military court as if nothing had happened. And while they were acquitted, the honorable prosecutor in the case, Ferhat Sarikaya, was disbarred as a threat to the judiciary, inflicting deep wounds to the sense of justice in the public realm.

Let’s also remember the end of the Sauna gang. During the operation carried out against this gang on Feb. 15, 2005, in Ankara, irregular war education CDs that belonged to the special forces command were seized. It was discovered that the suspects had been gathering information on some ministers and preparing CDs to blackmail politicians and statesmen. A lawsuit was filed against the suspects, who included the leader of the gang Kasim Zengin, former Deputy Police Chief Ertugrul Çakir, Capt. Nuri Bozkir from the special forces and singer Ibrahim Tatlises. However, none of the charges brought during the investigation were included in the indictment. The 11th High Criminal Court in Ankara released all the suspects being tried in the Sauna gang case, with the exception of Bozkir, who was sentenced to six years in prison.

A similar process was experienced in the case of the Atabeyler gang. During a house raid in Ankara’s Eryaman district, the sketches of the houses of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his advisor, Cüneyd Zapsu’s, four remote-controlled bombs ready to be detonated, enough explosive material to make 90 bombs, Lancer and MKE-type bombs and two pistols were seized. While 13 people were taken into custody, including an army captain and two noncommissioned officers, three members of the army and one of the civil suspects were arrested. Dilaver Kahveci, who was the chief prosecutor on the case, sought 24 years for the suspects on charges of “making attempts to incapacitate the government.” Soon after that, surprisingly enough, Kahveci’s special authority was taken from him. The official accusation was then prepared by prosecutor Salim Demirci, who in turn demanded that the suspects be exonerated from the charge of “making attempts to incapacitate the government.” The court hasn’t announced its decision yet, but the final ruling will apparently not be something unexpected.

Just as the police would prove ineffective in the fight against gangs but for the political will behind it, the independent courts will not get anywhere in this struggle in the absence of determined, bold and independent judges. As someone who has never had any legal troubles to date, let me make a friendly admonition to judges: Don’t forget even for a second that you are also trying yourselves and the judicial system of Turkey in the eyes of the public while trying the gangs!
30.01.2008


Dangers Of The ‘Create Chaos’ Project
Those in Turkey who are busy making plans create an atmosphere of chaos and then stage a coup would perhaps perceive what giant risks such a move would entail for Turkey if only they would think about some of the world’s realities.

Today all of us, from the current administration, to the opposition, the media and the intellectuals of this country, carry these responsibilities on our backs. Those expecting to benefit by playing to the Turkish-Kurdish, religious-secular, Sunni-Alevi polarizations across the country could be easily characterized as “individual Ergenekonists.” A secular, pluralistic, and freedom-based democracy is the guarantee we have in this era for our independence, unity and safety. As it is, variations and differences in the trajectory of the outside world are already making Turkey uncomfortable. We need to work on creating compromises that will allow us to live alongside those who are different from us inside our nation.
30.01.2008 Mehmet Barlas, Posta

The Real Danger: Politics Of Fear
Immediately following the infamous attack on the Council of State in Ankara, one of the judges present at the attack declared that the event was a strike against secularity, underscoring the religious identity presumed to belong to the attacker.

Also, as you may recall, this same member of the justice system, whose career calls for him to be properly equipped with the reasoning and skills necessary for his profession, turned out to be wrong about the words he claimed the attacker uttered as he fired his weapon. It would be expected that, at the very least, those who made comments on the threats to the regime would at least appear on television to make an apology for their claims to or explain that they had been misunderstood. It is clear that the forces creating panic and fear amongst the people of the nation are being helped by a group of educated elites who occupy some of the top spots in the state bureaucracy.
30.01.2008 Akif Emre, Yeni Safak


Why Don’t They Fear A Lack Of Justice?
It has slowly emerged that many of the people arrested in the organization police are calling the “Ergenekon terror group” were involved in a wide array of mysterious events, from Susurluk to the attack on the Council of State, from the murder of Hrant Dink to the threats issued against those being tried under Article 301.

I wonder, did it not surprise the police at all to see that while they have been pointing to “religious terror” all this time it has, in fact, been a few nationalistic and “patriotic” organizations who are pulling this nation through such darkness? Are their consciences not made uncomfortable at all by the active, or even passive, support they offered to events that provoked the masses onto the streets in protest? Was it because they were not opposed to this at all, or because they were remaining neutral? Did the fact that they had worked together with these gang members in fanning the fires of fear and hatred not spark any need for self-criticism within their ranks?
30.01.2008 Leyla Ipekçi, Zaman


Ergenekon Coup Planner Called Army Friends For Help
A number of suspects detained under suspicion of close connections with the Ergenekon terror organization were taken to a court in Istanbul on Saturday.

A prime suspect in the Ergenekon terrorist organization case phoned higher-ranking military generals and certain judges but failed to secure the help he sought, Yeni Safak reported on Tuesday.

Last week, 33 members of a gang with links to the deep-state were arrested in simultaneous police raids in various cities as part of an investigation into an arms depot found in Istanbul in June of last year. The investigation of the Ergenekon gang has resulted in evidence that the gang was planning a coup d'état for 2009. With the purpose of creating chaos in the country and thus an atmosphere suitable for a military takeover, the group staged a number of attacks and murders whose perpetrators remain unknown as well as others in which the assailants have been found.

Evidence in the investigation suggests Ergenekon organized an attack on the Council of State in 2006; the murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in January; and the murder of three Christians in the city of Malatya in April of last year . Gang administrators are also key figures in the Susurluk accident, a 1996 car crash that revealed links between a police chief, a convicted ultranationalist fugitive and a member of Parliament.

Yeni Safak wrote that when Istanbul Police Department counterrorism squads were banging on the door of the Harbiye apartment of retired Gen. Veli Küçük in the early morning hours of Jan. 22 to take him into police custody, he placed calls on his cell phone before leaving his home with the police officers. The police, who were monitoring Küçük's phone conversations, say Küçük made eight phone calls to “influential friends,” telling them that the police were waiting at the door to take him into custody, and asked for help -- but his pleas for help were rejected. Police sources did not give further details on the content of the phone calls.

Phone conversations between gang members

A plot to kill Turkey's only Nobel Prize-winning author, Orhan Pamuk, was also among Ergenekon's plans. Newspapers printed transcripts of recorded phone conversations between Spc. Sgt. Muhammed Yüce, Ret. Col. Fikri Karadag and Selim Akkurt, the trigger-man hired to do the job, whose phones were tapped with a court order. Officials say that Yüce, who was also arrested for being part of the Ergenekon organization, said in a phone conversation with the hit-man that he had spoken to Karadag about the planned Pamuk assassination. Yüce told Akkus that an Istanbul businessman would financially support them as would a prosecutor and a judge in Istanbul's Kadiköy district. Akkurt, who spoke in a worried tone, is quoted as saying he was concerned he might end up like Mehmet Ali Agca, a deep-state assassin who also shot the pope in the '70s. Akkurt expressed a desire to be like O.S., the teenager who shot Dink in January of last year, saying: “He has trillions of lira in his account. Plus, those around him have become heroes.” In response to these words, Yüce was quoted as having said: “You, me and Fuci will take care of Orhan Pamuk. We will have YTL 2 million in our accounts. Are you with me on this one?” Akkurt is heard giving an affirmative response to Yüce's question in the recordings.

Shortly after his conversation with Akkurt, Yüce sent a text message to a relative in which he wrote: “We will take care of Orhan after the conference. They will put in [YTL] 5 billion into our account. They will give us a gas station and a villa. Sedat Peker will take care of us while we're in jail.” Peker is an ultranationalist mafia leader with apparent links to deep-state figures.

Meanwhile, Karadag is quoted in the transcripts as frequently uttering the phrases “We are losing the country” and “We need to set up a new army.” However, when Zekeriya Öz, the prosecutor on the case, asked about the meaning of the phone conversations, Yüce replied, “We were only joking around on the phone.”

The investigation so far into the Ergenekon organization -- 14 of whose members were arrested Saturday in one of the biggest operations ever against deep-state-linked groups in Turkey -- has revealed that the organization was working to create a chaotic atmosphere so that its counterparts in the military could overthrow the government. All in all, 28 Ergenekon members are currently under arrest.

An Istanbul court has accused the members of the Ergenekon gang of certain bombing incidents and attacks in the past two years, of inciting people to revolt, establishing a terrorist organization, of leading that terrorist organization and of membership in the terrorist organization.

Documents seized during the investigation into the gang, whose members include former military officers, some of them high-ranking, revealed that they were planning to create complete chaos in the country to prepare fertile ground for a military coup d'état in 2009.

Some of the gang members against whom charges have been brought include Küçük, who is also the alleged founder of a clandestine and unofficial intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Karadag, a retired army colonel; and Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate.

Latest in the investigation

On Monday, the case's public prosecutor objected to the release of nine individuals taken into custody earlier on in the Ergenekon investigation but later freed by the court. Late in the evening on Monday, the prosecution appealed the release of lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is currently the legal counsel of a suspect in the Dink murder, daily Aksam columnist Güler Kömürcü, Asim Demir, Raif Görüm, Emir Caner Yigit, Tanju Okan, Yasar Aslanköylü, Anatoli Medjan and Atilla Aksu. Representatives of Kerinçsiz also appealed his arrest. The Istanbul 13th Higher Criminal Court will review the appeals from both sides.
30.01.2008 Today’s Zaman Istanbul


Do ‘Those’ Know Why ‘They’ Are All Hrant?
Why was it Hrant Dink’s death that made this distinction of ‘those’ and ‘they’ publicly visible? In other words, did he have to be killed? In order to find an answer, it is important to explore how the two groups view the question of "Armenian genocide".

Bia news service 29-01-2008 Pelin Ayan

Thousands of Turks who marched in the streets of Istanbul protesting against the brutal assassination of the Turkish-Armenian journalist and the editor of the AGOS newspaper Hrant Dink, were blamed by another group of people for having said “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians”. They continued to be blamed during and after his funeral, and one year after the tragic event when the protesters gathered once again in front of the AGOS Building on January 19, 2008 at Dink’s death anniversary, they had a message for the blamers: “We are all Hrant in spite of you all.”

Let’s call the protesters as ‘they’ (who represent the WE in the above quotation) and the blamers as ‘those’ (who represent the YOU in the same quotation) in order to understand the nature of this we/you distinction in Turkey. This is a discussion on the identity of these two groups and their perceptions towards one another.

To start with, both ‘they’ and ‘those’ have existed in Turkey for a long period of time. However, ‘those’ have expressed their ideas in public, freely while ‘they’ have had to be more cautious of what they said. ‘They’ have hesitated to act together or get organized as ‘those’ have easily done so because ‘they’ could be misunderstood, judged and even threatened while ‘those’ would not. But, finally, ‘they’ were able to reveal themselves in public for the first time as a silent crowd, unfortunately only after the assassination of Hrant Dink. Their silence was indeed a scream to resist theofficial authorities that were closer to the side of the ‘those’.

Why was it Hrant Dink’s death that made this distinction of ‘those’ and ‘they’ publicly visible? In other words, did he haveto be killed? In order to find an answer, it is important to explore how the two groups view the question of Armenian genocide.

As for Hrant Dink, he believed in the Armenian genocide and was sued by the Turkish authorities since in Turkey, the claim of Armenian genocide was, and still is, interpreted as an illegal act.[i]Contrary to Mr. Dink’s belief, ‘those’ believe that the Armenian genocide is alie, purposively brought to the public to insult the ancestors of the Turkishnation. In order words, ‘those’ think, “Who dare to see the right in himself or herself to call our great grandfathers as murderers, as criminals?”

Yet, there is a small detail that ‘those’ missing their approach to ‘they’. A detail with a huge effect though, a polarizing effect on the society... Do ‘they’ call themselves as Hrant because they do believe in the genocide? No. ‘They’ is more heterogonous in its ideas when it comes to the question of Armenian genocide. Some among the ‘they’ believe it, some do not believe it, some do not know and some do not find themselves in the position of saying it is true or not. It is not even a priority issue for ‘they’ to deny or accept the Armenian genocide. Yet, ‘those’ is a highly homogenous group got stuck in the idea that the Armenian genocide is a lie and thus doesnot comprehend that ‘they’ can be a heterogonous group in viewing the Armenian question. To put it in a nutshell, it is ‘those’ who perceive ‘they’ as defenders of the Armenian genocide and position them in the opposite camp though in reality ‘they’ do not represent this idea.

Then, what do ‘they’ represent? Or what does their common ground, Hrant, refer to? Why are ‘they’ all Hrant?

The answer is to be sought in Hrant Dink’s own words and sentences as his message was to ‘those’ who passionately denied the existence of an Armenian genocide as well as to the people who argued that this genocide was unquestionably true. In other words, he accused both the Turks and the Armenians of being intolerant against each other’s ideas and beliefs. He called the two societies as clinical cases whose prescription could be nothing but a dialogue. In his call to the Armenian Diaspora, he once critically said:

Do not enchain yourselves to the year of 1915; do not commit yourselves to make the people inthe world endorse this genocide. If this is a historical pain, a pain of ourancestors, we need to carry it on our shoulders with honor in silence, withoutyammering and clamoring.[ii]

Hrant Dink even saw the humane side of the Turks who denied the Armenian genocide though he disagreed with them and wished the Armenians to see it too. In this regard, he stated that:
Armenians should try to find a self-respecting stance within the Turkish view which denies the Armenian genocide. What is this self-respecting stance? It is to stand againstthe term ‘genocide’. A Turk would think “genocide is a cursed crime and my ancestors cannot have committed this crime… because I, myself, wouldn’t.”[iii]

And from the Turks who denied the Armenian genocide, one day he wished to hear the following words:
Why are the Armenians insisting so much on this issue? We should consider this and try to empathize with them. Maybe then, we can see an honor in their view.[iv]

As to Dink’s own thought on the issue of Armenian genocide, he constantly underlined in his sentences that it was his way of interpreting history and that he was open to other interpretations:
I speak what I know about history. I say, ‘do not prohibit me from speaking’. Oppose me, try to give me true information but do not restrain me and judge me.[v]

Reading these statements by Hrant Dink, here is one answer to the question of who ‘they’ are: ‘They’ are a number of people, who understand, are aware of, and sensitive to different ideas, experiences or even feelings no matter what they argue. ‘They’ are all Hrant, because ‘they’ are ready to question the facts in spite of all ‘those’ who accept them as given. ‘They’ do see ‘those’ as an opposite camp, but not in terms of what they think; rather interms of the value that ‘they’ possess and ‘those’ lack: Tolerance.
____________________________

(*)Pelin Ayan is a PhD Candidate in Political Science, Turkey, Fulbright Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University

NOTES:

[i]How ironic that Dink was sued as hewas found guilty of insulting Turkishness in one of his articles although inreality his aim was to make a call; to the Armenians to get rid of their futilehatred against the Turks. Dink explained how he was misunderstood by theTurkish authorities in an interview, published on Zaman Gazetesi, October 17, 2005.

[ii] See Hrant Dink Interview, broadcasted on YouTube. February 12, 2007. Translated bythe author:

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Dink’s own words quoted in Can Dündar, ‘Buradayim ve kalmak istiyorum (I am here and want to stay)’ Milliyet Gazetesi, January 20, 2008.Translated by the author.


Turkish Diplomats Killed By Armenians Remembered
The New Anatolian / Ankara 29 January 2008

The Federation of Turkish Associations in the U.K. organized a conference in London to commemorate Turkish diplomats killed by Armenian gangs.

"This is the second conference held in memory of our martyred diplomats, and this is the most serious way to enlighten painful incidents of history," Bahadir Kaleli, Turkey's consul general in London, said during the conference.

On the other hand, Professor Kemal Cicek of Turkey's Karadeniz (Black Sea) Technical University said some segments qualified the relocation of Armenians in 1915 as a "cross- border" migration. "However, they just changed their location within the territories of the Ottoman Empire," he told.

Cicek said it is totally wrong to qualify the relocation as "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing", and recalled that the UN convention defines "genocide" as "annihilating a group for national, ethnic or religious reasons."

"However, the Ottoman citizens of Armenian origin were not relocated because they were Armenians. There are many other people who were not relocated like Protestant and Catholic Armenians," he told.

Cicek also said Armenians living in many cities like Bursa, Izmir and Aydin were kept out of the movement.

"Soldiers, bureaucrats, postmen, teachers and their families, and Istanbul Armenians were not relocated either," he told.

According to Cicek, there is no mention in historical documents saying that the Armenians were subject to a mass killing.

"On the contrary, 67 people who committed crimes against the Armenians during the migration were executed, while 521 others were imprisoned," Professor Cicek also said.


Jan. 28, 2008
Turkey Busts Alleged Murder NetworkBy Pelin Turgut/Istanbul

Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk might sleep a little easier tonight — or not. A series of dramatic arrests over the weekend has laid bare what is alleged to be a shadowy network of ultra-nationalist killers with connections in high places. Their hit list allegedly included the famous writer, targeted for speaking out about Turkey's patchy treatment of its minorities.

The allegations, widely reported by Turkish newspapers, are certainly as dark as anything Pamuk ever wrote. Istanbul prosecutors have arrested 13 people, including a former general and a high-profile lawyer, on charges of "provoking armed rebellion against the government." They are suspected of involvement in last year's string of nationalist-motivated murders, which cost the lives of prominent ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and three Christian missionaries, according to newspapers.

Police picked up the trail that led to the weekend arrests last summer when they raided a house in a rundown Istanbul district that revealed a stockpile of weapons and explosives. A number of low-ranking military officials were subsequently detained. The military, a powerful behind-the-scenes force in Turkey, weighed in and a gag order was placed on investigators. Little more was reported until a dramatic 3 a.m. raid last week on houses across Istanbul, in which 40 people were detained.

Of those, Veli Kucuk, a retired major general, was allegedly plotting to kill Pamuk, Turkish newspapers reported. Kucuk is suspected of running a secret unit within police forces that carried out bombings and killings for which other groups were widely blamed. Also arrested was Kemal Kerincsiz, a nationalist lawyer responsible for numerous cases against Pamuk, Dink and other intellectuals. None of the suspects have spoken about the charges.

"If they are true, it suggests there are two parallel universes in Turkey," says Hakan Altinay, director of the Open Society Institute, a think tank. "There are people who wake up every morning and plan murders of political opponents, plot coups and how to destabilize the country," he said.

Most Turks have long suspected the existence of a covert web of elements within the security forces and bureaucracy who act outside the law to uphold their own political ends. There is even a household name for it: the "deep state," referring to a state within the state.

Newspapers have suggested that this network is the Turkish remnant of Gladio, a Cold War-era program, orchestrated by the U.S. in several NATO countries, to create a covert paramilitary force to counter Communist activities.

The arrests are a milestone for Turkey: Kucuk is the first general officer in recent Turkish history to be brought in by police for questioning, newspapers said.

But the audacity and sheer scope of the allegations raises the unsettling question of whether the individuals arrested might just be the tip of the iceberg. "Who gave the orders? Who protected them for this long?" says Altinay. "We are faced with the possibility that this network existed. And, even worse, that it might still exist."
www.time.com/


"Armenia Will Never Become Switzerland"
A1+ 28 January, 2008

"Despite all interior conflicts and discords, we all rely on the army to defend the country from outer influence. We cannot underestimate the role of the army," presidential candidate and former Defense Minister Vazgen Manukian said today.

Vazgen Manukian told the history of the formation of the Armenian army, and how the Armenian army formed from squads of volunteers.

Manukian says the Sumgait events served as an impetus for the army formation. "At that time we relied on the Soviet Union to protect our country. But we saw that they cared only for themselves."

Vazgen Manukian Armenia will never become Switzerland which needs no army because Armenia is located in such a region as the Caucasus which has a different mentality and different relations between the countries. He says regional integration might come true in several decades but before that Armenia's security requires a powerful and effective force.

Certainly, Manukian disagrees with the other extremity that the only guarantee for the country's security is a strong and effective army.

Vazgen Manukian says security will be guaranteed by the solution of not only military but also civilian issues.

Among the necessary components of the army Vazgen Manukian enumerates not only the number of the personnel, the amount and types of weapon, but also the psychological climate and morale of the society as well as a competitive economy. In this sense, Vazgen Manukian says we were stronger than Georgia and Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, when Georgia had no armed force at all, and we defeated the Azerbaijani army. "We remain strong, but the outlining tendencies are worrying," he says.

The tendencies are important. After all, an army is the continuation of the state to some degree. Without a satisfactory economy, without a big budget, without a healthy psychological climate you are sure to suffer losses, Vazgen Manukian says. He says in this sense the tendencies are really worrying.

By the way, the presidential candidate thinks the duration of the military service should be cut from two years to 18 months first then 12 months, and a professional army should be set up in parallel because the war in Karabakh showed that a professional soldier can replace ten conscripts.

"People must serve in the army with pride and respect and not out of fear. Corresponding atmosphere should be secured for it," he added.


CounterPunch
January 29, 2008 A Sibel Edmonds Timeline "We Can't Afford to Let Them Spill the Beans"
By Gary Leupp

I am not one to easily embrace conspiracy theories, and in particular have found the idea that 9-11 was somehow an inside job too incredible for serious consideration. On the other hand, there are some very fishy aspects to some officials' behavior pertaining to the attacks. Justin Raimondo has made a very good case for the fact that Mossad agents posing as "Israeli art students" were tracking al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S. before 9/11. Over 120 Israelis were detained after 9/11, some failing polygraph tests when asked about their involvement in intelligence gathering. But they were not held or charged with any illegal activity but rather deported. As former FBI translator and whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds has revealed, there was a curious failure of the government before 9/11 to act upon intelligence pertaining to an al-Qaeda attack. Most importantly Edmonds, defying the gag order that former Attorney General Ashcroft imposed on her in 2002, is implicating Marc Grossman, formerly the number three man in the State Department, in efforts to provide U.S. nuclear secrets to Pakistan and Israel. She suggests this was done through Turkish contacts and Pakistani contacts, including the former head of Pakistan's ISI who funneled funds to Mohamed Atta! Now there's a conspiracy for you.

Edmonds claims that during her time at the FBI (September 20, 2001 to March 22, 2002) she discovered that intelligence material had been deliberately allowed to accumulate without translation; that inept translators were retained and promoted; and that evidence for traffic in nuclear materials was ignored. More shockingly, she charges that Grossman arranged for Turkish and Israeli Ph.D. students to acquire security clearances to Los Alamos and other nuclear facilities; and that nuclear secrets they acquired were transmitted to Pakistan and to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the "father of the Islamic bomb," who in turn was selling nuclear technology to Libya and other nations. She links Grossman to the former Pakistani military intelligence chief Mahmoud Ahmad, a patron of the Taliban who reportedly arranged for a payment of $ 100,000 to 9/11 ringleader Atta via Pakistani terrorist Saeed Sheikh before the attacks. She suggests that he warned Pakistani and Turkish contacts against dealings with the Brewster Jennings Corp., the CIA front company that Valerie Plame was involved in as part of an effort to infiltrate a nuclear smuggling ring. All very heady stuff, published this month in the Times of London (and largely ignored by the U.S. media).

She does not identify Grossman by name in the Times article, but she has in the past, and former CIA officer Philip Giraldi does so in an extremely interesting article in the American Conservative. From that and many other sources, I come up with the timeline that appears below. But first, some background on Grossman. A graduate of UC-Santa Barbara and the London School of Economics, he was a career Foreign Service officer from 1976 when he began to serve at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan. He continued in that post to 1983, when he became the Deputy Director of the Private Office of Lord Carrington, the Secretary General of NATO. From 1989 to 1992 he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, and from 1994 to 1997, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. As ambassador he strongly supported massive arms deals between the U.S. and Ankara.

Thereafter he was Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, responsible for over 4,000 State Department employees posted in 50 sites abroad with a program budget of $1.2 billion to 2000. In 1999 he played a leading role in orchestrating NATO's 50th anniversary Summit in Washington, and helped direct U.S. participation in NATO's military campaign in Kosovo that same year. As Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from the beginning of George W. Bush's administration to January 2005, he played a bit role in the Plame Affair, informing "Scooter" Libby of Plame's CIA affiliation.

Grossman is close to the American Turkish Council (ATC) founded in 1994 as a sister organization to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Its founders include neoconservatives involved in the Israel-Turkey relationship, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, as well as Henry Kissinger, Brent Snowcroft and former congressman Stephen Solarz. (Perle and Feith had earlier been registered lobbyists for Turkey through Feith's company, International Advisors Inc. Parle was at one point making $ 600,000 per year from such activity). Edmonds says this is "an association in name and in charter only, the reality is that it and other affiliated associations are the U.S. government, lobbyists, foreign agents, and Military Industrial Complex." (M. Christine Vick of Grossman's Cohen Group serves on the Board of Advisors.) Grossman is also close to the American Turkish Association (ATA), and regularly speaks at its events.

The both ATA and ATC have been targets of FBI investigations because of their suspected ties with drug smuggling, but Edmonds claims she heard wiretaps connecting ATC with other illegal activities, some related to 9/11. The CIA has investigated it in connection with the smuggling of nuclear secrets and material. Valerie Plame and the CIA front group Brewster Jennings were monitoring it when Bush administration officials leaked her identity in July 2003. Edmonds, Giraldi, and researchers Christopher Deliso and Luke Ryland accuse him of suspiciously enriching himself while in government service.

Nevertheless he was awarded the Foreign Service's highest rank when President Bush appointed him to the rank of Career Ambassador in 2004, and received Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award the following year.

A dual Israeli-American national, Grossman has promoted the neocon agenda of forcing "regime change" in the Middle East. "[T]he time has come now," he declared on the eve of the Iraq invasion, "to make a stand against this kind of connection between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. And we think Iraq is a place to make that stand first the great threat today is the nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism." But he has not been as conspicuous a war advocate Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Libby, Bolton, and some others. (Perle and Feith, one should note, were also deeply involved in lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey as well as Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Edelman was ambassador to Turkey 2003-05 where, chagrined by the Turkish failure to enthusiastically support the U.S. occupation of Iraq, he deeply offended his hosts.) Grossman seems less an ideologue driven to make the world safer for Israel than a corrupt, amoral, self-aggrandizing opportunist. Anyway, here is an incomplete chronology of his alleged wrongdoing, along with other relevant details.

2001

As newly appointed Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Grossman assists Turkish, Israeli and other moles---mainly Ph.D. students---godfathering visa and arranging for security clearances to work in sensitive research facilities, including the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico. FBI taps his phone 2001-2, finds he is receiving bribes (one for $15,000). Edmonds states: "I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 212 years. There are almost certainly more."

Between Aug. and Sept: Grossman warns his Turkish associates seeking to acquire nuclear secrets that Brewster Jennings (for whom CIA agent Valerie Plame works) is a CIA front.

Sept. 4: Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, the chief of Pakistan's intelligence service (ISI) arrives in U.S., meets with Grossman and other U.S. officials.

Sept. 10: Report by Amir Mateen in Pakistani newspaper Dawn (Karachi): "[Ahmad] also held long parleys with unspecified officials at the White House and the Pentagon. But the most important meeting was with Mark Grossman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. US sources would not furnish any details beyond saying that the two discussed 'matters of mutual interests.'"

Sept. 11: Gen. Ahmad is having breakfast in Washington with Congressman Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and Senator Bob Graham (D) when attacks occur.

(Goss had had10 years in clandestine operations in CIA and later-Sept. 22, 2003-May 5, 2006---heads the organization. Graham and Goss later are the co-chairs of the joint House-Senate investigation that proclaimed there was "no smoking gun" as far as President George W. Bush having any advance knowledge of September 11.)

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, FBI arrests people suspected of being involved with the attacks--including four Turkish and Pakistani associates of key targets of FBI's counterintelligence operations. Sibel heard the targets tell Grossman: "We need to get them out of the U.S. because we can't afford for them to spill the beans." Grossman facilitates their release from jail and suspects immediately leave U.S. without further investigation or interrogation.

Sept. 12-13: Meetings between Ahmad and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Armitage threatens to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" unless it cooperates in U.S. attack on Afghanistan. Ahmad also meets Secretary of State Colin Powell. Agreement on Pakistan's collaboration is secured.

Sept. 20: Sibel Edmonds, a 32-year-old Turkish-American, hired as a translator by the FBI.

According to Edmonds, she overheard an agent on a 2000 wiretap discussing with Saudi businessmen in Detroit "nuclear information that had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama," and stating: "We have a package and we're going to sell it for $250,000." She also claims she listened to recordings of a high official (Grossman) receiving bribes from Turkish officials.

Early October: Indian intelligence reports that Gen. Ahmad had in summer of 2001 ordered Saeed Sheikh (convicted of the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl) to wire US$100,000 from Dubai to one of hijacker Mohamed Atta's two bank accounts in Florida. FBI confirms story, reported on ABC news.

Oct. 7: U.S.-led Coalition begins air strikes against Taliban.

Oct. 8: Gen. Ahmad, Taliban supporter and an opponent of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, forced to retire from his post as director-general of ISI.

Late Oct.: Pakistani government arrests three Pakistani nuclear scientists, all with close ties to Khan, for their suspected connections with the Taliban.

2002
Early March: Edmonds sends faxes to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy on the Judiciary Committee, is called in for polygraph test; Department of Justice inspector general's report states "she was not deceptive in her answers."

March: Grossman keynote speaker at ATC conference.

March 22: Edmunds fired, allegedly for shoddy work, security breaches.

Oct. 27: Edmonds appears on CBS' "60 Minutes" program.

Dec: Grossman visits Turkey, approves $3 billion U.S. aid to Turkey for the Iraq Cooperation deal.

2003
March 3: In interview for Dutch television, Grossman says, ""[T]he time has come now to make a stand against this kind of connection between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. And we think Iraq is a place to make that stand first the great threat today is the nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism."

May 29: Vice President Cheney's chief of staff "Scooter" Libby asks Grossman for information about news report about the secret envoy sent by the CIA to Africa in 2002. Grossman requests a classified memo from Carl Ford, the director of the State Department's intelligence bureau, and later orally briefs Libby on its contents.

Mid-June: Powell and his deputy secretary Richard Armitage may have received a copy of the Grossman memo.

June 10: Grossman asks the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) for a briefing on the Niger uranium issue, and specifically the State Department's opposition to the continuing White House view that Iraq had tried to buy yellow cake. The resulting memo is dated the same day, and drawn from notes on the February 19 meeting at the CIA on the Wilson mission and other sources. Memo is classified "Top Secret," and contains in one paragraph, separately marked '(S/NF)" for "Secret/No dissemination to foreign governments or intelligence agencies, " two sentences describing in passing Valerie "Wilson's" identity as a CIA operative and her role in the inception of the Wilson trip to Niger. This June 10 memo reportedly does not use her maiden name Plame.

June 17-July 9: Senate Judiciary Committee holds unclassified hearings on Edmunds' allegations.

June 19: letter from Senior Republican Senator, Charles Grassley, and Senior Democrat Senator, Patrick Leahy to Inspector General Glenn A. Fine concerning Edmonds' allegations.

July 14: Robert Novak reveals Plame's CIA identity.

July 22: Edmonds files suit against the Department of Justice, the FBI, and several high-level officials, alleging that she was wrongfully terminated from the FBI in retaliation for reporting criminal activities committed by government employees.

Aug. 13: letter from two senators to Attorney General Ashcroft concerning Sibel Edmonds' allegations.

Aug. 15: 600 victims of the 9/11 attacks file suit (Burnett v. Al Baraka Investment & Dev. Corp.), request from Edmonds deposition providing evidence for U.S. government foreknowledge of 9-11 attacks.

Sept. 22: Goss made CIA Director (resigns May 5, 2006).

Oct. 18, 2002: Attorney General John Ashcroft invokes the State Secrets Privilege (requested not by Justice Department but by State department) in order to prevent disclosure of the nature of Edmonds' work on the grounds that it would endanger national security, and asked that her wrongful termination suit be dismissed. In effect places Edmonds under a gag order.

Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) expresses outrage at gag order, promises that a Democratic majority in Congress would conduct hearings. (This has not been done.)

Oct. 28: Letter from two senators to FBI Director Robert Mueller concerning Sibel Edmonds' allegations.

Dec. 11, Attorney General Ashcroft again invoking the State Secrets Privilege, files a motion calling for Edmonds' deposition in Burnett v. Al Baraka case be suppressed and for the entire case to be dismissed. The judge, seeking more information, orders government to produce any unclassified material relating to the case. In response, Ashcroft submits further statements to justify the use of the State Secrets Privilege.

Dec: Gross back in Turkey to approve Turkey's eligibility to participate in tenders for Iraq's reconstruction.

2004
Grossman achieves Foreign Service's highest rank when President Bush appoints him to rank of Career Ambassador.

Patrick Leahy calls for investigation; Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican Chairman of the Senate, blocks it.

May 13: Ashcroft retroactively classifies all material that had been provided to Senate Judiciary Committee in 2000 relating to Edmond's lawsuit, as well as the senators' letters that had already been posted on line by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

June 23: POGO files lawsuit against Justice Department for classifying material it had published; Justice Department fails to get the case dismissed.

July 6: Edmonds suit dismissed on state secrets grounds.

July : Edmonds files appeal. On same day, Inspector General releases unclassified summary of a highly classified report on an investigation that had concluded "that many of her allegations were supported, that the FBI did not take them seriously enough, and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI's decision to terminate her services. Rather than investigate Edmonds' allegations vigorously and thoroughly, the FBI concluded that she was a disruption and terminated her contract."

August: Edmonds founds the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) to address U.S. security weaknesses.

December: Grossman the key speaker at an ATC Conference held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

2005
Grossman receives Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award.

January: Grossman quits his government job. Eric Edelman, another former ambassador to Turkey, takes job of Under Secretary of Defence for Policy.

January: Pakistani nuclear engineer A. Q. Khan confesses to having been involved in a clandestine international network of nuclear weapons technology proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Feb. 5: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf announces he has pardoned Khan. U.S. response is mild.

March: Grossman made vice-chairman of Cohen Group.

Feb. 18: Justice Department under new attorney general backs away from claim that documents posted by POGO were classified.

April 21: In the hours before the hearing of her appeal, three judges issued a ruling that barred all reporters and the public from the courtroom. During the proceedings, Edmonds was not allowed into the courtroom for the hearing.

May 6: Edmonds' case dismissed, no reason provided, no opinion cited.

May 14: In open letter, Edmonds states the governments wants to silence here to "protect certain diplomatic relations" and to "protect certain U.S. foreign business relations." Says the "foreign relations" mentioned in the gag order "are not in the interest of, or of benefit to, the majority of Americans, but instead serve and protect a small minority."

June 20: Edmonds writes: "(In) April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama Bin Laden. For almost four years since September 11, officials refused to admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists' plans to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the US. Four months prior to the terrorist attacks the Iranian asset provided the FBI with specific information regarding the 'use of airplanes', 'major US cities as targets', and 'Osama Bin Laden issuing the order.' Coleen Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to FBI HQ."

July 20: Unidentified as a "retired state department official" Grossman tells AP that a classified State Department memo disputed the legitimacy of administration claims that Iraq sought to acquire uranium from Niger, also contained a few lines about Plame Wilson's CIA employment, marked as secret.

August 5: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) petitioned for the Supreme Court of the United States to review the lower courts' application of the State Secret Privilege in both lawsuits. The ACLU claims that the courts conflated the State Secrets Privilege and the Totten rule.

Sept. 28: Washington Post cites unnamed former administration source (Grossman) as stating that the outing of Plame was "Clearly..meant purely and simply for revenge.

Oct. 28: In Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Grossman is the Under Secretary of State mentioned as giving information about Plame to Libby.

Nov.: Grossman attends lavish Turkish Ottoman Dinner Gala, receives award from Turkish lobby group, the Assembly of American Turkish Association (ATAA) in Chicago.

Nov. 28: the Supreme Court declined to review the decisions made in the Edmonds case.

2006
March: Grossman the key speaker at the ATC annual conference.

June: Grossman key speaker at MERIA Conference, discussing Turkey's importance to U.S. and Israel.

Sept. 2006: a documentary about Sibel Edmonds' case called Kill The Messenger ("Une Femme à Abattre") premiers in France

2007
January 24: Grossman first to testify in Libby trial. Says he informed Libby of Plame's involvement "in about 30 seconds of conversation" in June 2003.

Nov: Grossman subpoenaed by defense in AIPAC trial.

Nov. 26: Grossman, now Vice Chairman of the consulting firm the Cohen Group, attends a major Security Conference in Riga, Latvia.

2008
January: Edmonds posts, without comment, photos of current and former officials and Turkish associates on website: Richard Perle, Eric Edelman, Marc Grossman, Brent Snowcroft, Larry Franklin, Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Roy Blunt (R-Mo), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Tom Lantos (D-Ca.), Bob Livingston (ex-House Speaker, R-La.), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Graham Fulle (RAND), David Makovsky (WINEP), Martin Markovsky (WINEP), Yusuf Turani (president in exile of Turkmenistan), Prof. Sabri Sayari (Columbia University, WINEP), Mehmet Eymur (former head of Turkish counter-terrorism).

Jan. 6: Times of London carries story, "For sale: West's deadly nuclear secrets." States that a high official "was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives." Claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials--including household names--who were aiding foreign agents.

"If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials."

jan. 22: white house issues statement declaring its intention to approve sale of nuclear secrets to turkey; joshua franks writes, "it appears the white house has been spooked by edmonds and hopes to absolve the u.s. officials allegedly involved in the illegal sale of nuclear technology to private turkish 'entities'." frank identifies grossman as one of these officials.
* * * * *
Edmonds is tirelessly and fearlessly campaigning for Congressman Waxman, now chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to hold hearings. She says that FBI agents and even former Turkish intelligence officials are willing and able to validate her charges. But the congressman hesitates, perhaps fearing the storm of indignation that explosive evidence will produce in a country sick of its politicians, the lying neocons, and the war. Should they discover that, while disseminating disinformation about foreign nukes in order to fearmonger and build support for aggressive war, some of these officials were actually peddling nuclear secrets-committing treason while receiving honors for their patriotic service---the response could be explosive.

The Office of Special Plans under Abram Shulsky and Douglas Feith cherry-picked the intelligence vetted through the New York Times to terrify people into supporting an attack on Iraq. Democratic leaders have in the past urged an investigation of that spooky office, but furnished the opportunity since November 2006, they have declined to hold hearings. The Italian parliament conducted a study of the Niger uranium hoax, fingering neocon Michael Ledeen as a key suspect in forging documents designed to provide a casus belli before the Iran attack. Congress does nothing to follow up. In effect they are saying that the administration has a right to lie to the people. The presidential pardon granted Libby is a clear statement that it's okay to punish whistle-blowers like Joseph Wilson. The Supreme Court refuses to hear Edmonds' appeal. It seems that all three branches of government compete to coddle the most unscrupulous and lawless officials, while marginalizing or punishing honest citizens who expose the rot.

The publication of the National Intelligence Estimate undercutting the administration's case for attacking Iran indicates that there are in the U.S. intelligence community persons alarmed by the administration's lies and efforts to justify more aggression based on lies. It enrages the neocons, who with Norman Podhoretz in the lead have been praying for Bush to bomb Iran. The arrest and conviction of Feith subordinate Larry Franklin shows that within the FBI there are forces disturbed at the close connections between the neocons, Israeli intelligence, and the Israel lobby and willing to take action against lawbreaking. But Feith and Perle have both been investigated before, Perle for discussing classified information with Israeli Embassy staff in an FBI-monitored phone call in Washington in 1970. But the cases dropped for apparent political reasons. Perhaps the Grossman story will gain some traction. Maybe it will prove egregious enough that the tide will turn. Maybe Bush's last year of office will see the neocons' thorough exposure, humiliation and defeat.

Or maybe Waxman, Rep. Conyers and others in positions to honestly confront this most mendacious of administrations will continue to dither, feeding the assumption of the most vicious, cynical and corrupt that they are indeed above the law. And earning the contempt of those naïve enough to expect serious congressional oversight of a rogue regime.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu


"Deep State" Lays Down Cards
28.01.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Existence of Ergenekon is a manifestation of the "deep state", whose aim us to maintain Kemalism in Turkey, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the RA Academy of Sciences, Dr Ruben Safrastyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

"Those arrested in Turkey had close links with high ranking officials, including the military. Turkey is facing a wave of terrorist acts. However, I am confident that the people arrested are just subordinates in this organization. They threaten to kill Orhan Pamuk and Christians in order to tense the situation and pave the way to military interference," Dr Safrastyan said.

On January 26, The Turkish law enforces arrested 33 members of the Ergenekon network over suspicion in plotting a coup d'etat. The investigation has so far found that the Ergenekon organization had plotted to kill Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and other public figures to drag Turkey into chaos to create the perfect environment for a coup - not unlike the atmosphere of the pre-1980 period, which ended with a violent military takeover - that was to be staged in 2009.

The gang is also supposed to have plotted the assassination of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.


The Ergenekon Terror Gang: Knowns And Unknowns Of History
January 30, 2008 Cengiz ÇANDAR

In the history of the Turkish state there have been cases in which some state officials were tried and punished for presumably legal yet bloody practices. One striking example is the trial of the Young Turk cadre held responsible for the Armenian relocation (“tehcir”) by the Grand Council (Divan-i Âlî), exclusively formed by the Ottoman State in 1919-1920. The Bogazliyan County Administrator Kemal received a verdict of capital punishment and was executed in April 1919. A group of Young Turk officials were subjected to heavy penalties according to relevant court minutes published in the Ottoman Official Gazette. Another striking event, known as the “Muglali incident”, took place in the nearer past. In 1943 the Army Inspector Gen. Mustafa Muglali was charged with ordering the killing of 32 Kurdish peasants who were caught smuggling goods from the Iranian border and accused of stealing livestock in the county of Özalp in Van. The peasants were executed by a shooting squad on Jul. 30, 1943. Muglali was tried at a military court three years later and sentenced to 20 years prison in 1950. Although the Military Court of Appeals quashed the decision at a later time, Muglali died in prison in 1951. A successful army officer he was. After joining the Armed Forces in 1901 Muglali fought in the Balkan War in 1912-1913 and in the World War I in 1914-1918. During the War of Independence, he became the commander of the Group Zabitan, affiliate of the “Kuvayi Milliye,” a term used for Turkish revolutionaries who took actions in the frame of the Turkish national movement and which literally means “National Force.” On top of this, Muglali presided over the Court of Independence in the aftermath of the Menemen incident. Without doubt Muglali as a successful persona is more important than the retired Lt. Gen. Veli Küçük who allegedly has a central role in the Ergenekon terror gang today. But Muglali was tried and punished no matter what.

The Muglali incident:

The late Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was behind the developments in the Muglali case. The “incident” or the “massacre” on which the late Turkish poet Ahmet Arif wrote a poem titled “33 Bullets” was discussed in Parliament through a motion submitted by the Democrat Party's representative of Kütahya at the time, Adnan Menderes, Kayseri representative Fikri Apaydin and Eskisehir representative Ismail Hakki Çevik – and transferred to the parliamentary investigation commission formed afterwards. The Commission report stated that prior to 1943 several incidents in the nature of lootings took place around the Turkish-Iranian border region and that no one knew who had started them. The local administration decided to establish a small group of people armed by the gendarmerie for the prevention and retaliation of such actions committed by Iranians on the border. The governor of Van and Interior Minister Recep Peker of the time endorsed the organization and de facto were involved in the case. Now, if you change the dates with 1993 or 2003 and update a few names of persons and locations, don't you think that the issue will help to clarify the “essence” of today's incident? What do you think? Approximately 60 years ago the General Staff had to file a case against Muglali at the end of long heated discussions and investigations. Gen. Muglali in his defense had said Iran was occupied by Russians with the support of the United States and Britain at that time. Russia had established a Kurdish Republic under the leadership of Sheikh Ghazi Mehmet in Mahabad. Kurds volunteered to spy for Russians. Thus it was impossible to investigate relevant incidents under standard measures and understandings of the state. The Mahabad Kurdish Republic was indeed established in 1946 but the incident that caused the trial of Muglali occurred in 1943 and the general was imprisoned in 1950.

To determine the degree and nature of the crime committed in the killings of 32 citizens in the Özalp County the commissions reached the following conclusion, as detailed in the minutes of the constitutional and judicial commission numbered 2027 and dated Aug. 15, 1956: “Thirty-three people arrested by administrative officials in July of 1943 in accordance with the Police Duty and Authorities Law were transferred to military officials. A woman in the group was released at a later time and 32 people under arrest were executed by shooting in the district called Çilli Gedigi on the Turkish-Iranian border. The names of the executed are…” One might ask the following question, considering that the trial was not over: Was Gen. Muglali guilty?

All we know is that the name of Muglali was given to a gendarmerie barracks near the Özalp County in 2006.

How far will this go?

We know little about the Ergenekon terror organization due to the press embargo imposed under the ongoing Ümraniye gang investigation. We know one more thing though: Persons who are thought to be “untouchables” are touched in Turkish state tradition and are even sent to execution. But at the same time, their names might be given to streets, airports and gendarmerie barracks later on. Of course we wouldn't know yet if the members of “Ergenekon” will be subjected to heavy punishments or monuments will be raised for them. In fact we don't even know the exact number of the gang's members.

We only can guess who they might be, in the light of insults and threats we have been receiving for some time. We know of some names through their correspondence over Yahoo or similar Internet groups. If there is anyone who did not immediately delete the messages of insult or threat he/she received, a few names might look familiar when the structure of the Ergenekon and its staff are revealed.

Another thing we know is that if the “Ergenekon” investigation fails to bring all the remnants of the gang out into the light, the trace of Young Turks in the Turkish state system will remain as is; and that would only multiply the examples given here in the years to come.

This state of leaving things half-done will also prove how impossible it is to firmly attach Turkey within any particular structure of the “modern world” or of the European Union. If the investigation touches all required ends or directions that is perfect. In this case each “equation” will change as the Ergenekon investigation indeed turns into the “most important incident” of recent Turkish history toward securing the country's future.


A Hell For Free Souls!
January 30, 2008 Orhan Kemal CENGIZ

We cannot progress in solving our free speech problem at all. It is like a nightmare. The AKP (Justice and Development Party) has totally failed to make any significant change in Article 301. What they are proposing, as fellow columnist Yusuf Kanli has wisely stated, is no reform, but an attempt to deceive. I accept that unless mentality changes the 301(s) will always be replaced by something else. But there is blood over this article, it turned into a terrible sin; it is a symbolic duty, a moral obligation for this government to get rid of this article.

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeals in the case against Orhan Pamuk, clearly showed that the judiciary has no intention to change its stance toward “denigrating Turkishness.” The Appeal Court comes to the conclusion that every Turkish citizen can bring a compensation case against Pamuk for his remarks about the “Armenian genocide.” This shows that even if we get rid of Article 301, the judiciary will immediately fill this gap with other very strong sanctions from private law. The last ruling of the Appeal Court concluded that 70 million Turks can bring cases against Pamuk because of his “insulting remarks” about Turkishness!

One hundred other 301s

Atilla Yayla received a suspended 15 month prison sentence this Monday because he allegedly mentioned Atatürk by referring to him as “this man/guy.” He has to pay attention to every single word he utters from now on. If he is found guilty once again, he has to serve this one year and three months in addition to the new sentence he receives. He has to remain silent. Will any academic dare say anything about Kemalism from now on then? I do not think so.

I also would like to mention some other cases that you may think are practical jokes.

Lawyer on trial

Once I saw a caricature in a magazine, I cannot remember its name. This caricature still vividly exists in my mind. In the first scene we saw a man who was hanged on a wall with his wrists cuffed. He says, “I know my rights, call my lawyer.” In the second scene we have a broader perspective and realize that there is another man beside him hanging on the wall like him, saying, “I am here.” This caricature has always reminded me of my dear friend Tahir Elçi, who is one of the frontline fighters of human rights in Turkey. In 1999 we were attending hearings in the European Court of Human Rights. Tahir was following the most horrific cases in southeastern Turkey. I was trying to help him before the European Court. We attended the hearings before the court in the Özkan and others vs. Turkey case, which was one of the most tragic village destruction cases the court had ever handled. One month later, I was representing Tahir before the European Court in the case Tahir Elçi and others vs. Turkey, in which the torture and mistreatment Tahir and his friends suffered was being reviewed by the court. It was a funny experience for all of us. He was the lawyer of the plaintiffs in a hearing and just one month later he was a plaintiff himself, giving testimony regarding his own case in another hearing in front of the same court.

Tahir has always followed the most difficult cases in Turkey and of course he has never been away from trouble. One of the recent cases he has been following is Ugur Kaymaz's case that concerns the extra judicial killing of 12-year-old Ugur and his father in front of their house in Mardin Kiziltepe in the Southeast. The police claimed that there was an exchange of fire between the deceased “terrorists” and themselves. However, forensic examination showed that both victims were shot from behind. Eskisehir Criminal Court was handling this case, but what happened in the end was that the members of the special forces who carried out this operation were acquitted. However, Elçi is now being tried because of his alleged “attempt to influence a fair trial.” After one of the hearings in the Kaymaz case, Tahir had given the following statement to the press: “We have not seen a fair attitude from the judges. They were insensitive toward our demands. We want a unbiased trial, we want justice.” This is the statement that put him on trial.

Sometimes I see Turkey as a surrealist country. Where else could this happen? The accused, in an apparent extra judicial case, have been acquitted but the lawyer of the victims put on trial with charges of “attempting to influence a fair trial” in a country in which the “real influencers” have never been tried.

Another surrealist case

Nalan Erkem was the member of board of directors of the Izmir Bar Association and she was responsible for the bar's “Torture Prevention Committee.” I had the privilege to work with her in this committee that we established together. As a result of its work, many cases of torture were brought to daylight and many cases were filed against the security forces that allegedly mistreated people under custody. On Nov. 5-6, 2003 there was an attempted revolt in the children dormitories of Izmir's Buca Prison. Nalan and some other lawyers went to prison to find out what had been happening there. They spoke to children and recorded their testimonies. The children had claimed that the gendarmeries forces and the guards beat them and they were kept in the cells stripped naked. The lawyers also noted that there were bruises and lesions on their faces and bodies. After exhausting attempts to bring the grievances of these children to the attention of the relevant authorities in Izmir and receiving no response to their applications, the lawyers sent a petition to the then minister of justice. Nalan had also held a press conference and read out this petition to the members of the press. Again, the accused who allegedly mistreated the juveniles in the prison were acquitted but Nalan, an anonymous heroine in the Turkish human rights movement, is on trial. The prosecutor argued that by holding this press conference, Erkem abused her duties.

In short, our freedom of expression problem is not limited to Article 301 and Turkey has become a hell for free souls!

Note:

The next hearing in Tahir Elçi's case is tomorrow and it is before the Eskisehir Court for Serious Crimes in Eskisehir at 9:00 am. The first hearing in Nalan Erkem's case will be held on Feb. 27 at 11:00 am in the fourth branch of the Court for Serious Crimes in Izmir.

* The writer can be reached at orhan.kemal@tdn.com.tr


"Ergenekon" Conspiracy Is Rooted In "Susurluk" Says Former Minister

Fikri Saglar, former minister and a member of the parliamentary investigation committee into the Susurluk affair urges for persistent investegitation into the "Ergenekon" conspiracy, in order to relieve Turkey from "deep state cancer."

Bia news centre 30-01-2008 Erol ÖNDEROGLU

Fikri Saglar, former Minister of Culture and member of the parliamentary investigation commission concerning the Susurluk scandal, spoke to bianet about the ultra-nationalist Ergenekon gang, many of whose members have been arrested.

Kücük related to Susurluk case

The Susurluk case began with a car accident near Susurluk, Western Turkey in which several people died. The accident revealed connections between the Istanbul police, the nationalist Grey Wolves organisation, and politicians. Ever since, people in Turkey talk of a “deep state”, that is illegal forces that act behind the screen of a democratic government.

The parliamentary investigation commission published a 350-page report in 1997, in which it claims that state organs used the Grey Wolves to carry out illegal activities. It also accused some state forces of deliberately fomenting the battles between rightists and leftists in Turkey in the 1970s.

Saglar points out that Veli Kücük, retired brigadier general and now under arrest after the Ergenokon operation, was a suspect in the Susurluk case as well. However, the then government of Necmettin Erbakan and Tansu Ciller, as well as the army, protected him from questioning.

Speaking to bianet about the Ergenekon operation and Veli Kücük, Saglar said: “Even if the operation is a result of the scuffle between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the army, it is still positive. If our government had done this ten years ago, we would not have to talk about any of this today.”

It seems that neither the judiciary nor your commission was listened to as regards the allegations against Veli Kücük. Was he not called to your commission?

No he was not. When the commission decided to question him, Necmettin Erbakan, Tansu Ciller and others put pressure on commission chair Mehmet Elkatmis […] and Kücük did not come.

Why did you want to listen to Veli Kücük?

Veli Kücük was the last person to speak to Abdullah Catli before he died [Catli died in the crash; he was a drug trafficker and wanted for murder, but was also a police collaborator]. The commission had statements saying that Kücük had spoken to Catli, Drej Ali and Sami Hostan many times in one month, at least 34 times with Hostan [Drej Ali and Sami Hostan are also suspects in the Ergenekon case].

It is known that Kücük knew about those murdered in the Kocaeli, Sakarya, Düzce area.

[…] And now he is on the agenda for relations with Hrant Dink, Azerbaijan, the attack on the State Council and the weapons arsenal.

How do evaluate the fact that it is during the AKP era that the Ergenekon operation has been carried out in such an extensive manner?

Because the AKP is in opposition to the army, it has initiated such an operation. But whatever the motivation, it is a positive step. Turkey has taken an important step on the way towards a state ruled by law. That is of course provided that this trial will have any results…

If the investigation is carried out properly, what do you think its effects will be?

There would be great effects because it would expose the “deep state”, that is the cancer or tumour which has disabled the organizations and institutions which are necessary for a democracy. Thus, the Turkish Republic could become a state governed by the rule of law.

Do you interpret the discovery of such organizations as related to the EU’s or the USA'S Middle East policies concerning Turkey? If such organisations are exposed, what could be the result?

It is clear that there were contra-guerilla organizations in other NATO countries apart from Turkey, but that other countries have worked hard to get rid of these illegal organizations. However, the same effort has not been expended in Turkey. If it is possible to do so with this case, then Turkey would be getting rid of the deep state tumour and turn into a democratic legal state.

This is not related to the EU or other factors. This is something that Turkey must do for its own future. It is a duty which Turkey has been delaying.

If our government had done this ten years ago, we would not be talking about any of this today. (EÖ/TK/AG)


PRESS RELEASE The Heritage Party Yerevan, Armenia
www.heritage.am

Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe Doc. 11510 25 January 2008

The State Of Cultural Heritage In Turkey Motion For A Resolution Presented By Mr Hovannisian And Others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

The genocide of the Armenian people in the final years of the Ottoman Empire is duly documented by incontrovertible evidence housed in the official archives of France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and other nations around the world. It resulted not only in the death and dispossession of more than two million human beings but also in the decimation of the Armenian patrimony, its ways of life, and its foundational contributions to western culture and world civilisation.

Today, virtually no Armenians remain upon their historic homelands currently incorporated in the Republic of Turkey, and thousands of churches, monasteries and other spiritual and secular treasures of European architectural heritage have been destroyed or sent into disrepair.

Despite Turkey's long-standing official denial of the genocide and its attendant dispossession, a happy exception to the general rule has been the recent restoration of the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Aghtamar in Lake Van. Hopefully, this trend will continue into the future, but it must be recorded that the Turkish authorities have forbidden the placement of a cross atop the church. Holy Cross remains crossless and, having been converted into a museum, is closed to prayer, worship and religious ceremony.

Turkey is a member state of the Council of Europe subject to a full undertaking of all commitments thereto and duties thereunder, and has long sought ultimate accession to membership of the European Union. In particular, it is a party to the European Cultural Convention and the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe.

Taking the foregoing into account, the Parliamentary Assembly invites Turkey to take the following measures pursuant to its international obligations and the European identity to which it aspires:

- in the finest example of integrity and leadership proffered by the Federal Republic of post-war Germany, to face history and finally recognise the ever-present reality of the Armenian genocide and its attendant dispossession, to make restitution appropriate for a European country, and so to achieve reconciliation through the truth;

- to provide a vision and an implementing plan of action worthy of a truly and fully European Turkey, including a comprehensive resolution of issues relating to the freedom of expression and reference to the genocide in state, society and education; and to the freedom of conscience, the unrestricted training of seminarians, and the repair of religious and other cultural sites and their return to the Armenian and other relevant minority communities;

- in particular, to conduct in good faith an integrated inventory of Armenian and other cultural heritage destroyed or ruined during the past century, based thereon to develop a strategy of priority restoration of ancient and mediaeval capital cities, churches, fortresses, cemeteries, and other treasures located in historic Armenia, and to render the aforementioned fully operational cultural and religious institutions;

- and, finally, to launch the long-awaited celebration of the Armenian cultural heritage based on a full Turkish-Armenian normalisation anchored in the assumption of history, the pacific resolution of all outstanding matters, and a complete Europeanisation of their relationship.

The Assembly also invites the Monitoring Committee, in the framework of the post-monitoring dialogue on the honouring of commitments and obligations by Turkey, to accord continued attention to the recognition, restoration and restitution of our common European heritage as tendered herewith.

Signed 1:
HOVANNISIAN Raffi, Armenia, EPP/CD
AGRAMUNT Pedro, Spain, EPP/CD
BANIAS Ioanni, Greece, UEL
BARTOS Walter, Czech Republic, EDG
BEMELMANS-VIDEC Marie-Louise, Netherlands, EPP/CD
BERENYI Jozsef, Slovakia, EPP/CD
CHERNYSHENKO Igor, Russian Federation, EDG
DUESUND Ase Gunhild Woie, Norway, EPP/CD
DURRIEU Josette, France, SOC
EORSI Matyas, Hungary, ALDE
FREIRE ANTUNES Jose, Portugal, EPP/CD
FRUNDA Gyorgy, Romania, EPP/CD
GROSS Andreas, Switzerland, SOC
HOOPER Gloria, United Kingdom, EDG
HORSTER Joachim, Germany, EPP/CD
HURSKAINEN Sinikka, Finland, SOC
JURGENS Erik, Netherlands, SOC
KEAVENEY Cecilia, Ireland, ALDE
LAUKKANEN Markku, Finland, ALDE
LEUTHEUSSER-SCHNARRENBERGER Sabine, Germany, ALDE
LEYDEN Terry, Ireland, ALDE
MELO Maria Manuela, Portugal, SOC
MORSELLI Stefano, Italy, EDG
MUTTONEN Christine, Austria, SOC
NACHBAR Philippe, France, EPP/CD
PAPADOPOULOS Antigoni, Cyprus, ALDE

1 SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People's Party
ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
EDG: European Democratic Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: not registered in a group


Armenia Is The Paraguay Of This Century: Says Former Assistant Of British Prime Minister
Azerbaijan, Baku, 30 Januay / corr. Trend K. Ramazanova, F. Rzayev / Armenia is the Paraguay of this century, said Normann Stone, assistant to Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the Great Britain.

“During the reign of the dictator Lopes (19th century) in Paraguay, the country conducted numerous crusades against its neighbors (Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina) and each time came off as second-best and lost 90% of its population, similar consequences await Armenia as well,” Stone said.

According to Stone, the Azerbaijani and Turkish Diasporas should learn how to earn money and spend them in the right way.

“Unlike Azerbaijani and Turkish Diasporas, the Armenian Diaspora can distribute its money in an appropriate way and can tell barefaced lies taking advantage of its authority, but it ultimately works to the detriment of their interests,” Stone said.

According to Stone, many scholars in Great Britain do not recognize the so-called Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century and they know the truth that the genocide did not take place.

The US Congress has worked out a draft resolution which says that the Armenians were subjected to the genocide committed by the Turks in the territory of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. The Armenians claim that the genocide claimed the lives of more than 1.5 million people.

The vote on Resolution 106 in the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the US Congress will take place on 10 October. Steny Hoyer, the leader of the majority in the House of Representatives and a congressman announced that Resolution 106 on the so-called Armenian genocide would be adopted by the House of Representatives on Thanksgiving Day, 25 November.

Turkey has warned the US several times that should Resolution 106 be adopted, the American-Turkish relations will become worse.

The resolution was put into the agenda of the House of Representatives by Congressman Adam Schiff on 30 January 2007. Some 227 congressmen support it at the moment.

The US President George Bush has repeatedly opposed the recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide. The US Secretary of State and eight former Secretaries of State also opposed its recognition.

Stone called the Book Adrent Tiger by Peter Balakyan ‘nonsense’ which tells about the reaction of the US to the so-called Armenian genocide committed in 1915- 1923 in the Turkish Ottoman Empire.


Armenian Lobby Falsifies European Archives: Turkish Prof.
30.01.08
Great Britain, London, 30 January /corr. Trend G.Ahmadova / The Armenian lobby placed false documents regarding the 1915-1917 events in Turkish-Armenian relations, in the archives of Europe, said the Turkish researcher, Salahi Sanel.

“I was in the archives of many countries and saw that the Armenians replaced ‘Order of Talat Pasha’, replacing key words in the documents with regards to the Armenians. Indeed, the copies of the original documents were brought to Great Britain by the British. I found and published them as book,” Prof. Sanel said at the conference ‘Turkish-Armenian relations and terrorism’ in London.

The Armenian historians state that on 25 April 1915 the Interior Minister of Turkey, Talat-pasha issued an order for the mass destruction of the Armenians. However, up to now, the Armenian side has not been able to present any original documents confirming this fact. The European inspectors discovered in the archives of Turkey that the Ottoman Government took measures to ensure security of the displaced Armenian population.

According to the Professor, during the hard times of Turkey, the imperialist forces used the fact of displacing Armenians against Turkey. “These displaced Armenians fought against Ottomans in many parts of the country,” Sanel said.

Organized by the Federation of Turkish Associations in Great Britain, the conference took place in one of the well-known universities of London – in Oliver Thompson Theatre at City University.

The Prof. Belma Basket said during the conference which was dedicated to the memory of 42 Turkish diplomats killed in various periods of history by the Armenian terrorist groups, that she was familiar with many of the Turkish diplomats killed by the Armenians. “These assassinations took place in the most civil European countries,” she said.

In his speech, the Turkish Professor, Kemal Chichek, highlighted the facts from his lastest book ‘Forced Migration of Armenians in 1915- 1917’. “The Armenians could confirm only one displacement from one part of the Ottoman Empire to other part,” Chichek said. According to the Turkish historian, during that period, Syria was Part of Ottoman Empire and therefore, displacing the Armenians was not deportation. “The temporary law on displacement of the Armenians in 1915-1917 was a security measure,” Chichek said.

Armenia supports the position that in 1915-1918, the Armenians incurred ‘genocide’ by Ottoman Empire and 1.5million people were killed. Turkey refutes such accusations. The claims of the Armenians are being used to present obstacles to Turkey’s entrance to the European Union.


Deputy Raises Eyebrows With Icj Proposal
Veteran Turkish diplomat Sükrü Elekdag has said Ankara and Paris could jointly take an almost decade-old French parliamentary decision recognizing the controversial World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to determine whether the century-old incidents can be accurately categorized as acts of genocide according to a related UN convention.

The controversial decision bluntly stating that "France publicly recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915" was made in January 2001, leading Ankara to launch strong protests of Paris, including the cancellation of a number of major projects with actual or potential French involvement.

In October 2006 the French parliament approved a bill that made it a crime to deny that the Ottoman Turks committed "genocide" against Anatolian Armenians during World War I, despite Ankara's protests and a warning that this would "poison" the deeply rooted relations between the two countries. Later in the year, the Turkish military announced that its ties with France had been suspended after the French legislature's approval of the so-called genocide bill.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Elekdag's proposal presented in Paris following talks at the French parliament as part of a Turkish parliamentary delegation has so far never been voiced as an official stance by Ankara. Foreign Ministry officials approached by Today's Zaman briefly stated yesterday that this should be considered a personal view of Elekdag, who was formerly an ambassador to the United States.

"We can go to the ICJ with France and ask whether the law adopted in France in 2001 is in compliance with the agreement in 1948 and whether the 1915 incidents constitute genocide," Elekdag was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency, in an apparent reference to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. He noted that the delegation shared this view with French lawmakers during their talks.

Head of the Turkish delegation Yasar Yakis, a former foreign minister and chairman of Parliament's European Union harmonization commission, said Turkey has no official policy on taking the Armenian issue to the ICJ. He, however, added that certain studies on the issue have been conducted at the Foreign Ministry.

Armenians claim that up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects these claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops who were invading Ottoman territory.
31.01.2008 Today's Zaman Ankara


Ergenekon Gang-Linked Bogus Turkish Patriarchate In Spotlight
Sevgi Erenerol (L), the spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, and ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz are both under arrest in connection with the Ergenekon probe.

A self-declared "Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate" that is based in Istanbul has neither a congregation nor a spiritual base and has turned out to be a creation of the Turkish state together with some members of the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey in the 1920s when parts of Anatolia were invaded by the Greeks.

As Sevgi Erenerol, who bears the title "media and public relations officer of the Independent Patriarchate," remains in custody as part of last week's arrests in efforts to deal with shadowy networks within the state, the political role of the church she claims to represent has come to light.

The Turkish-speaking Karamanli Greek community of Cappadocia in Anatolia supported the Turks during the War of Independence, said Elçin Macar, the author of "Istanbul Rum Patrikhanesi" (Istanbul Greek Patriarchate, 2003) and a professor at Yildiz Technical University's department of political science and international relations.

"Supporting the struggle of Turkish nationalists during the war, Father Eftim was a village priest and had no place in the hierarchy among other churches. He was preaching in Turkish although he was Greek Orthodox," he said.

Originally Pavlos Karahisarithis, Eftim was his religious name, and he later changed it to Zeki Erenerol. He is the great grandfather of Sevgi Erenerol.

"Even though he was married, Eftim became the preacher of a village church out of necessity and later became the leader of the patriarchate in Kayseri in 1922 under the name the 'Independent Patriarchate of the Turkish Orthodox'," Macar said.

But as the population exchange took place between Greeks and Turks, his small congregation in the area moved out of the country; Eftim and his family were exempted from the population exchange and moved to Istanbul in 1924, together with the patriarchate, Macar explained.

Father Eftim gained some followers in Galata, an area with a large Greek population.

Macar said Father Eftim was hostile to the Greek Patriarchate and claimed that the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul was ethnically centered and favored the Greek population. However, most of the ethnic Turkish Orthodox in Turkey and Greece remain affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul.

In 1962 when Father Eftim was ill, his son Turgut (George) Erenerol was ordained as "Turkish Orthodox patriarch," taking the name Eftim II. The father died in 1968 and the Greek Orthodox Church refused to bury him in the Greek Orthodox cemetery, located in the Sisli district of Istanbul. The funeral proceeded only after an intervention by state authorities and was attended by Turkish dignitaries.

"Every time a member of this family dies, the burial of the deceased has required the Turkish state's intervention," Macar said. "The patriarchate is a title shared only by members of the Erenerol men in the family. They are married and still take the title against Christian tradition and rules."

Eftim II died in 1991 and again no priest wanted to conduct the funeral. His brother Selçuk Erenerol ascended to the patriarchate taking the name Eftim III. He died in 2002.

Sevgi Erenerol, the daughter of Selçuk Erenerol and the sister of Pasa Erenerol (the current Eftim IV), was arrested last week for alleged links to a Turkish nationalist underground organization named "Ergenekon." According to allegations, the Turkish patriarchate serves as a headquarters for the organization.

Known for her nationalist activities, she ran for Parliament as a candidate of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at the time of MHP leader Alparslan Türkes. She also showed up at trials based on Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which restricts freedom of speech, to support the prosecution of those who stood accused of violating the article.

Macar said today that the number of followers in the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate is close to zero, excluding the Erenerol family, which governs the patriarchate.

The family owns a number of properties which belong to the "Independent Turkish Orthodox Foundation" around two churches in Galata, St. Nicholas and Panayia Kafatiani, both inactive.

When it comes to potential "patriarchs" in the family, Macar said there are Selçuk Erenerol's sister's sons Ümit and Erkin Kontoglu as well as Turgut Erenerol's son Timur Erenerol.

"In an interview, Turgut Erenerol said, 'My father damaged my future, but I won't do the same for my son'," Macar said, adding, "So far, it seems like the patriarchate is a family dynasty."
31.01.2008 Yonca Poyraz Dogan


Ergenekon Academic Called For Coup D’état
A neo-nationalist academic whose links with the deep-state Ergenekon gang were exposed during a recent investigation previously alluded to plans for a military coup in 2009, recently released footage has shown.

Ümit Sayin, an associate professor who is accused by the police of being a mentor for Ergenekon leaders, said in a conference in Ankara in November last year that the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) plans to adopt a new constitution were a reason for the military to stage a coup. Among the participants of the conference were retired Col. Oguz Kalecioglu and retired Brig. Gen. Alattin Parmaksiz, the former commander of Hakkari's Mountain Rangers Brigade, video and pictures from the conference organized by the Turkish World Human Rights Associations showed.

The footage shows Sayin saying "They are trying to change the Constitution. They measure the reactions and then take steps back. In fact, this is a reason for a coup d'état. If this was going on in the '80s, a coup would have been staged. They want to change the constitution and divide Turkey. They are going step by step so conspicuously that the [Turkish Armed Forces (TSK)] now has to say something. Things can't go on like this. But we are not seeing anything."

He continued: "If you ask my opinion, I favor a coup d'état. Nothing else can save us. Parliament was turned into how it is now with the 1980 coup. It should be fixed the way it was ruined." He also asserted that in any other country President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would have been brought down by the army, adding that Erdogan is working to divide the country.

He said in the footage that every country has its own deep state, a term that denotes clandestine and armed mechanisms that carry out assassinations or bombings to further their own political agenda. Sayin said Turkey did not have a deep state, implying that if it did it would not be in its current situation. He said the National Security Council (MGK) previously functioned as a safety brake. "The MGK has now turned into an association of canary lovers. It has no influence whatsoever," he told the audience.

Speaking about late President Turgut Özal and President Gül, he said, "I don't believe these presidents work for Turkey or for Turks." He claimed Erdogan and Gül had ties to the secret services of foreign powers.

Sayin also described himself as being anti-Semitic, saying that Jewish people were fanatical, racist and in favor of religious law. "Hitler was right about certain things," he said.

He expressed his opinion that the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US were the work of the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency. He also claimed that the ruling AK Party had not won 47 percent of the vote in the elections on July 22, 2007, but instead only 30 percent.
31.01.2008 Isa Yazar Ankara


Declare Ergenekon A Terrorist Organization
There is a great responsibility on the shoulders of those who oppose the abolition of the headscarf ban, claiming that such a move will undermine Turkey’s unitary and secular structure.

You may make your opposition struggle through civil organizations and on the level of politics; any legal means is fine. But make sure to distance yourselves from the members of the Ergenekon gang, who claim to share the same goals as you but resort to violence and illegal methods to achieve these goals. Just as you call on the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) to distance itself from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and accuse the former of having links with the latter, you should also declare these illegal gangs to be terrorist organizations.
31.01.2008 Yildiray Ogur, Taraf


Büyükanit Says TSK Not Crime Organization
The Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) top commander has slammed efforts to associate the acts of illegal organizations -- whose shadowy relations with the state have been unearthed in a recent operation -- with the TSK, saying that the TSK is not a crime organization.

Twenty-nine people, including retired generals and former military members, have been arrested over the past week in Istanbul for alleged links to a deep-state organization called Ergenekon, which has been involved in a serious of attacks and murders in Turkey. Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit was asked about the Ergenekon incident as he met with Macedonian Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski at military headquarters in Ankara yesterday.

“In every society, there may be some people who resort to illegal methods. They will be tried by the court and the judiciary will have the final word on their actions. And that ruling is put into practice,” Büyükanit said.

The top general complained about efforts to associate the TSK with these illegal formations, saying: “There were such efforts in the past, and they also exist today. The TSK is not a crime organization. Those who commit an offense as TSK members will be tried in court and punished accordingly. Thus it is an empty effort to relate the TSK to such incidents. If there is a crime, there is also a punishment. And it is the judiciary who will give that punishment, not individuals.”

In the meantime, Büyükanit was also asked about what his reaction would be if Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was invited to Turkey for an official visit. The Turkish military has so far refused to talk to Iraqi Kurdish leaders on grounds that they support the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which launches deadly terror attacks on Turkey.

“I do not even know whether there has been such an invitation or not,” responded Büyükanit.

When the reporter changed his question, “I asked this question because there exists such a likelihood,” in an apparent reference to a recent statement by President Abdullah Gül's saying that Turkey could invite Talabani, Büyükanit replied: “If you recall, I made a statement at a press conference last February in the US. Back then, I said there was no point to our meeting with Talabani as the Turkish military. Yet this does not mean that other state institutions should not meet with those leaders. Here, we do not have a right to ask other state bodies to do the same [as we do]. This is our attitude. As the military, we think there is no point in our having such a meeting.”
31.01.2008 Today's Zaman Ankara


Million-Dollar Question: Who Is The Boss Of Ergenekon?
Although dozens of arrests have been made in the recent investigation into a crime network accused of involvement in plans for a violent uprising against the government, including retired Gen. Veli Küçük who seems to be the leader of the network, nobody is convinced that the actual boss of the neo-nationalist group is currently in the hands of the police.

The operation against Ergenekon has brought the question of illegal formations inside the state, an ancient phenomenon that has been plaguing the Turkish state for decades, to newspaper headlines once again. In this confrontation with the deep state, pundits also see the opportunity to put an end to this disease once and for all if the "number one" is captured.

Star daily's Samil Tayyar yesterday wrote about recent statistics that showed an increase in the number of organized crime gangs with dubious links to state agencies, which showed the dimensions of the deep state network. However, Ergenekon is the most powerful and well-organized of such formations, he said, and asked, "Who is number one?" He said he was sure that Küçük, arrested as a mastermind of the gang, is not even in the top 10 of the command chain. He said he believed that the man who sits on top of the command chain is a retired general, but did not give a name. The "number two" according to Tayyar is Dogu Silahçioglu, a retired major general among the leaders of an unarmed military intervention in February 1997, although he used only his initials.

Like Tayyar, most newspapers were not convinced that Küçük was significantly high up in the chain of command of Ergenekon. In a recent headline, the daily Radikal gave no names, but asked, "Where are the partners in the military?" urging the authorities to get to the top of the hierarchy.

Nevzat Tarhan, a professor of psychiatry also known for his research in social and political psychology, in an article he penned on the issue guessed the number one of the gang is retired Gen. Ismail Hakki Karadayi, who was the chief of General Staff during the military's unarmed intervention which brought down the government in 1997. Tarhan was dismissed from the military, where he was a colonel doctor in 1997, for being an observant Muslim.

The Taraf daily got a hold of transcripts of computer chat conversations between Ümit Sayin -- a neo-nationalist academic whose links with the Ergenekon people have been exposed during the investigation -- and various military personnel and published them. The transcripts, which were logs from the year 2005, are from conversations between Sayin and Brig. Gen. Levent Artürk, who used MSN handle L.Pasa, Gen. Hursit Tolon, the commander of the 1st Army Corps who retired in the same year and who used the handle H.T; then senior Col. Mustafa Canatan, who has since been promoted to brigadier general and who used the handle M. Clalbay; current Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug, who used the handle I.B; Ogan Türkmen, a major who is currently on duty with the military intelligence unit of the 1st Army Corps and Tevfik Yüzbasi, who also currently serves for the military intelligence unit of the 1st Army Corps.

Sayin's computer was seized by the police when Istanbul University Rector Mesut Parlak applied to the Istanbul prosecutor after e-mails including insults directed at the university administration started circulating. The investigation found that the e-mails were sent from the computer of Ümit Sayin, who was employed at the Forensic Medicine Institute of Istanbul University. In addition to the e-mails, the police found a large number of digital documents proving Sayin's links to an organization made up of military and civilian members.

The investigation of the Ergenekon gang has uncovered evidence that the gang was planning a coup d'état for 2009. With the purpose of creating chaos in the country and thus an atmosphere suitable for a military takeover, the group staged a number of attacks and murders whose perpetrators remain unknown as well as others in which the assailants have been found. All in all, 29 Ergenekon members are currently under arrest.

The first time the Turkish public understood the graveness of the situation of Gladio-like formations operating in the background was in 1996 when a Mercedes crashed into a truck. A mafia leader for whom Interpol had issued a search warrant, a police chief and a deputy were together in the car. The mafia leader and the police chief lost their lives at the scene; the deputy survived but he only received a one and a half year sentence. He denied knowing the real identities of the police chief and the mafia leader or having any links to the "deep" operations. Some of the gang's leaders were also key figures in the investigation into the Susurluk incident.

An Istanbul court has accused the members of the Ergenekon gang of certain bombing incidents and attacks in the past two years, of inciting people to revolt, establishing a terrorist organization, of leading that terrorist organization and of membership in the terrorist organization.

Some of the gang members against whom charges have been brought include Küçük, who is also the alleged founder of a clandestine and unofficial intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Karadag, a retired army colonel; and Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate.

Earlier this week, the case's public prosecutor objected to the release of nine individuals taken into custody earlier on in the Ergenekon investigation but later freed by the court. Late in the evening on Monday, the prosecution appealed the release of lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is currently the legal counsel of a suspect in the Dink murder, daily Aksam columnist Güler Kömürcü, Asim Demir, Raif Görüm, Emir Caner Yigit, Tanju Okan, Yasar Aslanköylü, Anatoli Medjan and Atilla Aksu. Representatives of Kerinçsiz also appealed his arrest. The Istanbul 13th Higher Criminal Court will review the appeals from both sides.

Meanwhile, two police chiefs, two army officers and two noncommissioned officers charged with membership in another crime gang known as Atabeyler were in court yesterday. The court was adjourned as a new prosecutor assigned to the case requested more time. The suspects face up to eight years in jail if convicted.
31.01.2008 Today's Zaman Istanbul