Turkey Detains Top Military Brass In Conspiracy Probe - February, 2010

The recent coup attempt by military officials in Turkey was a clear indicator that the geopolitical shift we have seen in the region recently has had a negative impact on Ankara. Until recently, Erdogan's ruling Islamic party and the powerful Western/Zionist backed military establishment in Turkey were reluctantly cooperating with each other. Since the heralding of a new age in the region, which came as a result a series of regional Western setbacks, as well as the resurgence of Russia, internal problems within Turkey seems to have gotten worst.

Naturally, there is an Israeli and American factor in all this as well. It is no secret that Washington and Tel Aviv began supporting Kurds in northern Iraq soon after their invasion of the country, prompting Ankara to distance itself from Washington and to make comments critical of Tel Aviv's actions within Gaza and the West Bank. Washington and Tel Aviv, foreseeing the loss of Turkey as their regional ally, may be embarked on a plan to undermine the Islamic government in Ankara.

Nevertheless, the Islamic leadership in Turkey seems to be keen on changing the politics of the nation away from its traditional Western and Israeli influences. And in this, Moscow is more than happy to accommodate them in their endeavor. After all, the name of the game empires and superpowers still play is - divide and conquer.

Some of you may recall that Ankara had even signaled seceding from NATO during autumn of 2008, soon after hostilities between Russia and Georgia ended with an astounding Russian victory. The victory in question drastically altered the geopolitical face of the region practically overnight, sending policy makers in various capitols across the world scrambling to reevaluate the emergence of new political realities on the ground.

Moreover, last year, while many of us Armenians were obsessing over Gul's visit to Yerevan, a leading right-wing Turkish leader with close ties to Turkey's ultra-nationalistic Grey Wolves organization died in what many in Turkey at the time described as under suspicious circumstances (see article at the bottom of this page). In my opinion, what's occurring in Turkey today is at least in part a result of the new geopolitical climate in the Caucasus and the on-going political process between Yerevan and Ankara.



Turkey Detains Top Military Brass In Conspiracy Probe

Turkish police detained former heads of the air force and navy on Monday among 40 people held in an investigation into an alleged plot to undermine the Islamist-rooted government and trigger a military coup. The swoop, one of the largest against the secularist armed forces, added to a growing sense of foreboding in the Muslim nation, where a clash between the government and the judiciary had already raised fears of a political crisis. A NATO member with hopes of EU membership, Turkey is locked in a long power struggle between the AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam, and conservative, nationalist secularists, whose bastions remain the military and judiciary. Armed forces chief General Ilker Basbug postponed a trip to Egypt as a result of the detentions, state-run Anatolian news agency said. Among those held, according to broadcasters, were former Air Force Commander Ibrahim Firtina, former Naval Commander Ozden Ornek and ex-Deputy Chief of the General Staff General Ergin Saygun. Speaking in Madrid at the start of an official visit, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said more than 40 people were detained in the raids. News channel CNN-Turk put the number at 49, including 17 retired generals, four serving admirals, 27 officers and one enlisted man.


The detentions would have been unthinkable in the past for a military that has ousted four governments since 1960. But its powers have waned in recent years because of democratic reforms aimed at securing EU membership and most analysts doubt that the armed forces would mount a coup. The suspects held in Ankara were flown to Istanbul for questioning over the "Sledgehammer" plot after police raids in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. According to media reports the plot, denied by the military, dated from 2003 and involved provoking a crisis with old foe Greece and planting bombs in mosques and museums in Istanbul to stir chaos and justify a military takeover. "I don't know what the result of this is, but after the security forces have finished this process the judiciary will make its assessment," Erdogan told a news conference. Turkish markets were rattled by the prospects. The lira weakened to 1.5265 lira in Tuesday-dated trade from an intrabank close of 1.5180 on Monday, the level at which it ended last week, and the main share index ended 1.36 percent lower, having begun the day nearly 1 percent higher. "The government is now embroiled in an open and bitter power struggle with the judiciary and the military, raising the risk of a head-on confrontation that would badly damage political stability," Wolfango Piccoli from the Eurasia political risk consultancy said.


Erdogan also said he would call a referendum on constitutional reform to overhaul the judicial system, if he fails to get parliament's backing for change to curb the power of judges and prosecutors. The AK Party, which first swept to power in 2002 ending the secularists' decades-old grip, has enough votes in the 550-seat parliament to pass a bill calling for a referendum. "The judicial system should be objective and independent at the same time," Erdogan said. He did not give any timeframe for a possible referendum. Turkey is due to hold its next general elections in 2011 and Erdogan has repeatedly denied he plans to call an early vote. The clash with the judiciary followed the arrest of a prosecutor who had investigated Islamic groups. That prosecutor has been accused of links to an alleged far-right militant network, "Ergenekon." More than 200 people, including military officers, lawyers and politicians, have been arrested in the case since it came to light 2-1/2 years ago. Critics of the government say the Ergenekon investigation has also been used to hound political opponents.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/02/22/world/international-uk-turkey.html?_r=1&scp=10&sq=turkey&st=cse

A New Military Coup in Turkey Could Derail Protocols, Says Expert


There is an internal war being waged in Turkey between its secular military and Islamist rooted government and that conflict may prompt another military coup in the country, a leading Armenian expert on Turkey said Tuesday, adding that the increased tension may bring an end to the Western-backed Turkey-Armenia normalization process. “There is an internal war taking place in Turkey,” said Ruben Safrastyan, the director of the Oriental Studies Institute at Armenia’s Academy of Sciences. He was referring to the ongoing Ergenekon investigation, launched in 2007, against a clandestine group with links to the army accused of seeking to topple the Islamist government.

Speaking to reporters in Yerevan, Safrastyan, was quoted by Armenian Public Radio as saying that recent developments in the Ergenekon case could likely lead to a fifth attempt at a military takeover and Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would try and “use this situation to continue dragging out the process of ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols.” “The possibility of a military coup is not great, but if there is one, there will be a lot of victims,” he said. “Under these circumstances would the US continue pressuring Turkey to ratify the protocols?” “Washington may understand that the Armenian-Turkish relations may further strain the situation and I do not rule out the possibility that they may stop pressuring the government to ratify its agreements with Armenia,” Safrastyan said, adding that the US is “closely watching the developments in Turkey” and could intervene in “one way or another” if it escalates.

The Turkish military sees itself as the guardian of the pro-Western, secular, form of government established by the Turkish Republic’s founder, Kemal Ataturk. The army has overthrown elected governments four times in the country’s modern history (1960, 1971, 1980, 1997), imposing or re-imposing its own brand of political correctness on the nation. The AKP party this week dramatically upped the stakes in its showdown with the military by detaining more than 50 current and former military commanders. The detentions have electrified Turkey as the most sweeping move to date by the AK to redefine the Turkish republic by challenging the traditional dominance of the military.

On February 22, 21 generals were detained, including former navy chief Admiral Ozden Ornek, former air force chief General Ibrahim Firtina, and former 1st Army commander General Ergin Saygun. Most of the others detained were colonels. The arrests are linked to a plan by Ergenekon members to carry out a military coup against the party in 2003. Code-named “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer), the plot allegedly involved plans to spark unrest by bombing two major mosques in Istanbul and staging an assault on a military museum by attackers disguised as Islamic fundamentalists. Safrastyan said the growing clampdown has broken the unity of Turkey’s military. He did not, however, give concrete predictions of what he thought would unfold as a result. “The processes are still developing, and today it’s hard to say what is going to happen.”

Source: http://www.asbarez.com/77777/a-new-military-coup-in-turkey-could-derail-protocols-says-expert/

BBP leader’s death was assassination, says Ergenekon suspect


The helicopter crash in which Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu died in March of this year was the result of an assassination plotted by a parliamentary deputy who is, in reality, a National Intelligence Agency (MİT) agent, claims a suspect in the trial of Ergenekon. Ergenekon suspect Erol Ölmez submitted a 14-page defense to the court, in which he said that Yazıcıoğlu's death was planned in 2008. Ölmez said in the year 1990, when he was completing his compulsory service in the army, his life changed when he met a person code-named Çerkez Ali, who recruited him in a special group called Atakurtlar.

Ölmez's testimony holds that he joined Ergenekon in 1998, when he was recruited in the Atakurtlar Republican Army, an armed unit that also collected intelligence, and which he says is the right-hand organization of Ergenekon. Ölmez also said this unit was still active. He wrote in his testimony, “I have undergone very special training, I am a person who was trained in the best possible way.” He also wrote: “Ergenekon is a structure founded by republican, neo-nationalist and Atatürkist nationalists with an honorary board of 11 members. There are people from all segments of the society inside it.”

Ölmez also wrote that the real perpetrator of the Yazıcıoğlu accident would never be found. He wrote: “I know that is not an accident, but, rather, sabotage. I would like to say that I will not keep silent as the witness of many incidents, and that the time for the truth to surface has come. The reason for this is because they left me alone the day I was jailed. The person who wanted to silence Yazıcıoğlu is currently a deputy in a political party, who is at the same time employed by the MİT and supported by the US. The reason why I am telling all this is because I have an uneasy conscience.” He said Yazıcıoğlu's death sentence was given at a meeting in Ankara on Nov. 17, 2007. He said the participants of the meeting, including the deputy, were ready to pay $10 million to a hit man. When the Ergenekon investigation expanded, the assassination was delayed to 2009.

Speaking at a press conference he called at the BBP headquarters in Ankara on Sunday, new BBP leader Yalçın Topçu did say there had been some doubt left concerning the accident, noting that a commission was established under the BBP to shed light on any ambiguous details regarding the incident. “Prosecutors should act. The authorities should get moving. Not everyone who has a mouth should be allowed to talk. A man is telling the noble Turkish nation a dream he had in his sleep,” Topçu said in response to a question from the press on Ölmez's statements.

Kanadoğlu to testify as a suspect

Meanwhile, Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoğlu is expected to deliver confidential testimony to the prosecutors conducting the Ergenekon investigation as a suspect in the case, newspaper reports said on Sunday. In addition to Ergenekon, the former prosecutor might have to answer questions about the Council of State shooting in 2006 and a hand grenade attack in that same year on the Cumhuriyet daily.

Kanadoğlu's home was also searched during earlier raids conducted as part of the Ergenekon investigation. The former prosecutor is remembered best for his role in the annulment of May 2008 elections in Parliament that would have voted in the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) candidate, Abdullah Gül, as the president. Later, Gül was elected in a referendum held after the July 2008 parliamentary elections, in which the AK Party garnered 47 percent of the total vote.

Source: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=176912

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