June 24, 2014

Lawyer: Gov't, Ergenekon unite forces in plot against Hizmet

Erdal Doğan, a co-plaintiff in the Zirve trial, has argued that the government and the Ergenekon terrorist organization have agreed to unite forces in a plot against the faith-based Hizmet movement.

Intellectuals and members of civil society continue to react to the government-devised plot against the Hizmet movement, which became public last week after former Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin submitted a question to Parliament asking if there is a secret plot against Hizmet. The Hizmet movement is also known as the Gülen movement and is inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Doğan said that as part of the plot, the government and Ergenekon reached a secret agreement to put the blame on Hizmet regarding offenses committed by the Ergenekon terrorist organization, among them the Zirve massacre, in which three Christians were brutally killed in 2007, and the assassination of Hrant Dink, the late editor-in-chief of Agos, a Turkish-Armenian weekly.

Considering the plan a “joint plot by the government and Ergenekon against Hizmet,” Doğan said it is a large operation targeting the movement.

Retired military judge Ümit Kardaş also said the claims in question are very serious, adding: “Previously, terrorist organizations such as Ergenekon, which aimed to unseat the government through a coup plot by committing murders, including of influential opinion leaders in society, were responsible for such offenses that create chaos in society. Now a civilian government has taken their place.”

Also commenting on these murders, Doğan reiterated that police neglect and even willful misconduct at the time these offenses were committed should be mentioned, saying: “These murders were planned in order to put into action a coup plot targeting the government. They aimed at creating an atmosphere of chaos. Today, there is an aim to create a similar atmosphere of chaos by collecting fabricated evidence to initiate an operation against the movement.”

“Crucial documents on these bloody assaults still exist in the cosmic room of the General Staff, but the government is making an effort to close the file on the ‘cosmic room' investigation. An investigation into the allegations about an attempt aiming at assassinating Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç was conducted in 2009. A judge and several prosecutors examined the Special Warfare Department of the General Staff for a week. Five years later and the investigation has still not been completed,” Doğan noted.

Reiterating that the judge and prosecutors who had conducted the investigation at the time were removed from their positions and reassigned to a lower post, Doğan said, “The findings in the cosmic room could answer many questions on many critical probes and bring to light the motivation behind the murders as well as the identity of the perpetrators. For five years no finding has been shared with the public. The investigation will most probably not be completed either. If the content of these documents is disclosed to the public, many offenses which have remained a mystery may return to the agenda today.”

Doğan also said that even though the evidence in the Zirve massacre case is quite substantial, “closing the investigation into the cosmic room by saying that the perpetrators are not the same is in a sense intentional tampering with evidence as well as hiding and destroying evidence relevant to a trial.”

According to Doğan, a secret formation nested within the General Staff, the National Strategies and Operations Department of Turkey (TUSHAD), is mentioned in the case, and as the lawyer involved in the case, he asked Prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili to provide information about the organization, saying, “We asked twice and the response we received was, ‘Sorry, we cannot share information related to TUSHAD for the healthy proceeding of the investigation.' Had we been able to have the necessary documents concerning the organization, Ergenekon and its dirty activities within the Special Warfare Department would have been uncovered. I know that the political authority took a position to stifle the investigation. Arınç also complained about it.”

Regarding the plot against Hizmet, Şahin said he had received a large number of documents pertaining to an alleged plan, called the “Action Plan” and drafted by the Interior Ministry, that ordered intelligence officers to investigate the “archives” of the Hizmet movement and gather evidence to launch a police operation against the group.

Şahin resigned from the AK Party in December of last year over a government corruption and bribery scandal. When resigning, the former minister stated that the AK Party was under the control of a “narrow oligarchic group.”

Published on Cihan, 23 June 2014, Monday