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Turkish Court Hands Down Huge Sentences to Ergenekon 'Military Coup' Accused



Today on 5th of August, the biggest and most significant court case - ERGENEKON - in Turkey, against illegal (obviously) military coup gang and counter-insurgency network, handed down huge sentences after a lengthy and complicated trial process.


The people on trial were from all sorts of backgrounds both from within the state apparatus and outside of state structures: These were military personnel, high-ranking military commanders, ex-Chief of Staff and Head of Armed Forces, ex-police chiefs, media personalities, journalists, university presidents, ex-Heads of National Council of Universities, known mafia leaders, members-leaders of pro-coup nationalist parties etc...


ERGENEKON was (is) a complex network of multi layered structures embedded within the state, media and military circles. The aim of this gang was the topple the elected AKP government, re-establish the ever reduced military status quo and military influence in Turkish politics, plan-organize-train for military coups (yes there were number of instances of these), create social-political chaos to ripen conditions that will enable popular support for a military coup. In the process assassinate Armenians, Christians, Kurds, journalists, artists, Alevis (most of these actually happened), plant bombs at judicial buildings, media companies and put in place some action plans to bomb mosques to create a Muslim backlash...

Why was all of this happening?


To create a political-social atmosphere where masses are terrorized and start believing that AKP is not able to run the country... In addition to this, create a Muslim backlash and anger, further proving the point that the AKP government is about the convert the country into a sheria law countty.


All of these then would have ultimately enabled the mighty Turkish military to take action and bring down the elected government by a coup...


This is not just an AKP developed conspiracy theory against its opponents and this is not just some fictitious scenario to arrest 300 very high profile figures. AKP, especially during the Gezi protest, used the 'miltary coup' argument against the protestors but the nationalist 'coup-loving' elements were not able to hijack the protests and AKP's justification for very havy handed police brutality and arrests were completely baseless... But nonetheless, such entities were the backward elements in Gezi protests which is supported by a broad range of organized groups and individuals.


This is not to say that there were no such attemps in the past, by the nationalists, to bring out masses to demand a military take over. Such instances were only strengthening the hand of AKP and the popular support for AKP (3rd term in government as a single party rule) increased over the last 3 elections...


Turkey's history is full of military coups and full of horrific and bloody consequences of these coups. There were military coups that hung an elected PM and government ministers; jailing, torturing and killing thousands of people; students, trade unionists, journalist and political activists. There were also unimaginable brutality against the Kurds under these military regimes. In all of these coups, the popular excuses used were the 'dangers of Islam', 'communism' and 'seperatist minorities' etc...


Turkey had military coups in 1960, 1971, 1980, 1997 (military memorandum), 2007 (e-memorandum). All of these inflicted huge pain and brought fascism to the country.


The one exception is in 2007, when the ERGENEKON-MILITARY published an e-memorandum against the AKP government and the AKP government had the guts to fight back.


6 years later, today, we see the results of the long lasting court case with huge political consequences.


At this point I like refer to the words of Ron Margulies from his recent article:

''This is the AKP's eleventh year in power. One would expect, then, to see an increasingly Islamicised country, with the middle class's fears of being forced into veils and deprived of alcohol realised, and all democratic freedoms curbed. In fact, none of these have happened, and certain other things have happened which one would only expect under a left social democratic government. Things are much more complicated than might appear to the careless Western journalist.


We need first to understand what the AKP's rise to power represents. Modern Turkey was founded upon the ruins of the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious Ottoman Empire. It was founded, however, as a Turkish-Sunni Muslim-secular nation-state. The founding cadres, led by Kemal Ataturk, had a clear vision of what a modern state would look like. It would be ethnically pure, made up of Muslim Turks; it would be secular, which meant that religion would be frowned upon; and it would be "civilised", meaning Western.

There were several problems with this. First, the population were not all Turkish. Something like a fifth were Kurds, and there were many other ethnic groups in smaller numbers.

Second, not all were Muslims. There were large numbers of Armenians (even after the late-Ottoman genocide of more than a million Armenians), Greeks and Jews, as well as smaller communities of Assyrians and others. Third, a large part of the Muslim population were Alawites (similar to Iran's Shiites) and not Sunni Muslims. Finally, even the Sunni Muslim Turkish majority did not fit the Kemalist state's picture of a "modern" population. It was too religious and too "Eastern


A state which is at odds with practically all of its citizens, because they are non-Turkish or non-Muslim or non-Sunni or too Muslim, can only sustain itself through a powerful repressive apparatus and no democracy. At the pinnacle of this apparatus always stood the military, guardians of the "modern, secular, Ataturk-nationalist" republic, described as such by the first three articles of the constitution. The fourth article says that the first three cannot be amended and that it cannot be proposed that they be amended!'


AKP was not the first and only government targeted by the military. Since the foundation of the republic, the Turkish military has maintained its unquestioned role in Turkish politics. It has made its business to interfer with all sorts of domestic-civil-legal affairs, as well as foreign policy of the country.


Heads of Armed Forces appeared as frequently as the prime ministers on TV screens to make statements on all sorts of military and non-military affairs. The history of Turkey is full of closed down political parties (almost all of them Kurdish and Islamic parties) and party members-MPs-leaders banned from politics for many years.


Turkey is a member of NATO for many years now and has very close military-political relationship with the US. This official position of the state has not changed dramatically under any government, including the AKP government. After the coup in 1980, a White House official is known to say ''our boys did it''.


During the so called 'cold war' era, Turkey was a frontier of the West, streching deep into the Middle East and Soviet Border. There are NATO-US military bases in Turkey...


The military also is involved in huge industries in Turkey and is effectively one of the big employers in the county.


The budget allocation and public resources used by the military are mostly not questioned by any regulatory body.


Turkey had also a long military conflict in the Kurdish region for over 30 years, with horrible consequences and human cost. Kurds were not recognized by the state and the military has always maintained its position over these years to 'solve' the 'problem' by further militarization of the campaing.


Currenty there is a fragile but ongoing peace process between the AKP government and the Kurdish Leadership. This has huge potential to bring about a solution...


The military, nationalists and pro-miltary groups have always been against the recognition of Kurds and other ethnic groups in the country. AKP government is seen as traitors because they are involved in talks with the Kurdish 'terrorist'...

In short, using the Islam as an argument and seeing themselves as the protectors of the secular state, the ERGENEKON gang has put in place action plans for a military coup and executed some of these actions. It wasn't of course just abut Islam vs. secularity. It was also about the huge benefits and priviledges the military and secularist circles had in the country thanks to their powerfull status quo.


The fact that AKP had almost 50% of the votes and that ordinary citizens were supporting AKP because it promised job creation, elimination of poverty and enable religious freedom etc... was a shock for the military and secularist nationalists...


275 people were on trial for the alleged crimes against elected government and civil democracy.

21 were accuited. The rest received the sentences listed below.


We say "YES" to this court outcome. Because it is a clear progress towards democracy and ending the military coup legacy of the country!


But we also say "IT IS NOT ENOUGH!"


- The killers of the Armanian Editor – Journalist – Writer Hrant Dink are still at large.

- Many of the massacres and in the past have not been resolved and no one brought to justice

- The Ergenekon activities in Kurdistan (South East Turkey) are not persued by the courts.

- There are still departments active in the military that were involved in planning coups.

- The Turkish Military is still not part of Interior Ministery or the Ministery of Defence and maintains autonomity without any democratic control.

- The OYAK Company owned by military is still not nationalised and financial affairs of the army is not under any control.

- However much the ERGENEKON case is a significant and important step toward civil democracy, the conditions that enable such organisations are still there. These conditions must be eliminated.


The court cases should not be seen as a victory for the AKP government. It is not just AKP vs. ERGENEKON. It is a significant step for the democracy in the country. The sentences handed by the court are a clear and strong warning to any future coup attempts.

Struggle goes on...

No TEARS for for the convicts, no CHEERS for AKP....


Ex-Chief os Staff and Head of Armed Forces - İlker Başbuğ: Aggravated life in prison

Retired brigadier general - Veli Küçük: Aggravated life in prison

Retired colonel – Founder of secret military intelligence unit JİTEM - Arif Doğan: 47 years 3 months

Retired general - Hurşit Tolon: Life in prison

Retired general - Chief of General Staff Head of Intelligence - İsmail Hakkın Pekin 7 years 6 months

Retired Naval colonel - Dursun Çiçek: Life in prison

Retired rear admiral - Alaaddin Sevim 10 years

Retired vice admiral - Mehmet Otuzbiroğlu 20 years 6 months

Major general - Hıfzı Çubuklu 9 years 6 months

Retired colonel - Levent Göktaş 23 years 9 months

Retired majorf - Fikret Emek 41 years 4 months

Ex Chief of Police - Adil Serdar Saçan 14 years

Retired sergeant - Mehmet Demirtaş 22 years

Retired soldier - Erdal Şenel 7 years 6 months

Media, writer - Tuncay Özkan: Life in prison

Media, journalist, politician - Mustafa Balbay: 34 years 8 months

Media - Mehmet Haberal 12 years 6 months

Ex-President of İnönü University - Fatih Hilmioğlu: 23 years

Leader of the Workers Party - Doğu Perinçek: 117 years

Academic (son of Doğu Perinçek) - Mehmet Perinçek: 6 years

Ex-Head of ATO (Ankara Chamber of Trade) - Sinan Aygün: 13 years 6 months

Mafia Leader - Sedat Peker: 10 years

Bomber of Cumhuriyet Newspaper - Bedir Şinal: 18 years 8 months

Bomber of Cumhuriyet Newspaper - Bedir Şinal 18 yıl 8 ay

Member of Secret Army Intelligence - Ergün Poyraz: 29 years 4 months

Ex-Mayor - Gürbüz Çapan: 1 year 3 months

Ex- Head of Council of Universities - Kemal Gürüz: 13 years 11 months

Mafia leader - Ali Yasak 6 years 3 months

Leader of National Unity Party – who planned the gun attack on Akın Birdal a prominent human rights campaigner and writer - Semih Tufan Gülaltay 12 years

Criminal medicine expert - Ümit Sayın: 4 years

Ex-president of Ondokuz Mayıs University - Ferit Bernay: 10 years

Ex-president of Uludağ Universitesi Prof. Dr. Mustafa Abbas Yurtkuran: 10 years

Wife of Member of the Constitutional Court Osman Paksüt'ün - Ferda Paksüt 2 years 6 months

Workers Party deputy leader - Ferit İlsever: 15 years

Workers Party deputy leader - Turan Özlü: 9 years

Workers Party lawyer - Emcet Olcaytu: 13 years 2 months

Workers Party leadership - Hikmet Çiçek: 21 years 9 months

Workers Party leadership - Hayrettin Ertekin: 12 years

Workers Party leadership - Adnan Akfırat: 19 years

Assassin of member of Council of State - Osman Yıldırım: 8 years 9 months

Academic - Prof. Dr. Erol Manisalı: 9 years

Ex-Ulta Nationalist Leader - Levent Temiz: 10 years

Writer Yalçın Küçük: 22 years 6 months

Ex-Editor of Aydınlık Journal - Deniz Yıldırım: 16 yıl 10 months

Adnan Bulut: 6 years 3 months

Güler Kömürcü: 7 years 6 months

Özlem Usta: 6 years 3 months

Bekir Öztürk: 12 years

Fatma Cengiz: 11 years

Boğaç Kaan Murathan: 17 years

Mehmet Ali Çelebi: 16 years 6 months

Mehmet Zekeriya Öztürk: 19 years 6 months

Nusret Senem: 20 years 3 months

Ünal İnanç: 19 years


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