Cengiz ÇANDAR The day after the latest wave of arrests in the Ergenekon crime gang investigation, a well-known leftist columnist friend of mine said, “As of July 1, 2008, the possibility of a military coup d'etat in Turkey ended. This is how important these detentions are.”
And the next day, I ran across a retired top-level officer from the intelligence organization in Abant when I was there for a meeting. “The event that took place on Monday, July 1, 2008 is the most important event of our Republic history,” he commented on the arrests.
The generals in prison:
Did I get him right? “Yes,” the general insisted. If someone who served as a civil servant in top security office was saying so, we better dwell upon this.“From now on,” he continued, “everything is up to the government's policy. Regardless of the closure of the government party, from now on, I mean after the point which we have reached in the Ergenekon investigation, if the prime minister can go back to the spirit he reflected on the night of the July 22 elections during his victory address, Turkey can take a very positive turn.”The day before the Abant meeting, I attended the Fourth of July Independence Day reception held at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. Everyone, from academia to the business world, asked me how I read the happenings.Could all be summarized in a single sentence? Awe and curiosity were for two retired top generals being arrested as part of an investigation about a criminal gang with the motive of a coup attempt. That was a first-ever in Turkish Republic history, but beyond that, no one can think of this could happen in Turkish political arena, which has always been shaped up by military coups and interventions.Some positions and titles in Turkey were given some sort of a “holy cow” treatment. We and the entire society were accustomed to this.An impromptu description appeared in my mind and I shared this with others at the reception: “This is such a development that,” I said, “Like sending holy cows in New Delhi to slaughterhouse, this is how it is.”We are in the judicial inquiry process; we wouldn't know of the developments about the detainees neither would we know of the course of the investigation from now on. I mean we cannot say, “Since holy cows were sent to the slaughterhouse, they will be chopped.”However, this doesn't remove the symbolic and dramatic significance of the fact that “the holy cows in New Delhi were sent to the slaughterhouse.”July 1, 2008 could be a milestone.I wrote many times that an accurate diagnosis cannot be made before reading the “Coup Diaries,” which are technically proven to be stored in the former Naval Force Commander Adm. Özden Örnek's personal computer and which were published in the Nokta news magazine in late March and early April 2007. As you know, the “Coup Diaries” were subjected to a total media blackout.
And now I see that the media have started to scrutinize the diaries. In any column in any newspaper, writers are making references to these documents.
Blacking out Ergenekon:
Months ago in a conversation with the editor-in-chief of a very influential newspaper in Turkey, he was, for rightful reasons, complaining about the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government and taunting me that I and others like me were not sufficiently focusing on similar complaints. And I taunted him back, saying, “You have a huge paper under your control. You take ordinary judicial cases to the headlines but haven't published a descent story on the Ergenekon so far as the biggest event of our Republic history. You are blacking out the story.”He made a stunning remark: “I swear I couldn't find anything worthy of news about the Ergenekon investigation.”The day July 1, 2008 must have convinced similar minds, because all front pages have focused on the Ergenekon lately. But now they approach to the issue in form only, criticize the detentions and keep talking about the so-called aggravation the detainees go through for not knowing why they are being accused of. But all of the detainees who are either in custody or in prison, the entire Turkey and even the world know what they are being accused of. The report released by the European Parliament in early May had acknowledged that the Ergenekon probe was in line with democracy and the European norms yet expressed dissatisfaction with the point arrived and asked for a more in-depth inquiry.The investigation was deepened. If these groups save themselves from the enmity against the AKP and being “shy defenders” of coups, they will be able to see that the “Gold Coin” is seized by the Ergenekon and the “Moonlight” was brought to the day light.
Dreadful information is being spilled around. For instance, there was a scenario according to which retired Gen. Şener Eruygur in his office at the Fenerbahçe Officer's Club was to give a start to a series of assassinations plotted against judicial members in early July and with the wave in indignation retired General Hurşit Tolon was supposed to start clashes with the police in Gaziantep and 40 other cities this weekend.
Another is seven assassination attempts targeting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Since there is always a possibility of being trapped by such “disinformation,” there is no need to jump over this information leaked.However, if the one taking place on July 1 is the most important event of the Turkish Republic history, we don't have the luxury to push this information aside.The Republican People's Party, or CHP, administration getting more isolated from the international community to a degree that they couldn't attend the Athens summit of the Socialist International must have been calculated that they can form a government only under extraordinary circumstances, so they are now raising the hell on the July 1 developments.It has been made certain as of July 1, 2008 that the CHP can never form a government in Turkey in normal ways. Perhaps the value and importance of July 1 bares the qualities that are enough to initiate a renewal process in the opposition side, rather than to determine the fate of the government party.Or perhaps when we look back to July 1, 2008 years from now, we will see July 1 as a turning point indicating the beginning of a liberation from the military coup d'etats and the CHP having tight relations with the coup attempters. The value of July 1 2008 will be better understood in the years to come…