Mehmet Ali Birand There is no need to be an expert to see that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday was a clumsy plot. Neither the weapons they used, nor the target they chose, nor their way of handling the plan was professional. These youngsters, who are said to be 25, are alleged members of religious groups and were even trained in Afghanistan for some time. Plus one of them was interrogated in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay base; these are the news leaked to the press. Obviously they were sent to die.Don't you see, they came in a car and remain in seat for a while doing nothing. They didn't think wearing winter coats in hot summer day would catch the eye. The driver waited in the car for the other three during the attack. But the street was crowded at the time of the incident. On top of it, the U.S. Consulate is the best-protected compound in Istanbul. Even if they had been able to pass the police guard post outside the building, they wouldn't proceed inside. I think assailants didn't know this. Besides, their weapons couldn't be affective for such a raid.
Now let's discuss the question everyone asks. Who were the masterminds; by whom these youngsters were deluded; who did send them to death and what were they after? To date we have no sound answer to this question. We should wait a little more.
However, we try to develop some ideas. Even if this was an amateur attack, its repercussions were effective. Turkey has turned upside down. American and European televisions were busy with live broadcasts and analyses. Some people are trying to link this with the closure case the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is facing and with the Ergenekon crime gang investigation. Some even are looking for ties with the Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK, terror organization. Experts deny all these.At this point there is one thing to say: Uncontrolled groups rolled up their sleeves to bring chaos into Turkey. Soon we'll learn the names of the assailants; however nothing will change. The real important thing here is to rid of these court cases. As long as this uncertainty atmosphere continues, you'll see some more dangerous attempts we will witness.
General Özkök confirms coup diaries:
A wind blows strong in the Ergenekon investigation from a direction that some circles claim the “coup diaries” in fact are not owned by the former Naval Force Commander Adm. Özden Örnek and all the documents are fake. It's been alleged that the diaries were prepared only to create the image of a coup preparation. And the purpose is claimed to be to set the ground for the Ergenekon investigation and to launch a move against retired top generals by using the diaries. Therefore, some circles claim everything is just a big fat lie and Örnek denied that the documents were under his possession.
Another circle contrarily defends that the diaries are real and serious. Since Örnek is afraid, he denies the whole thing. This group claims the military coup plans in the text and linked discussions mentioned in it are true.
That, all eyes turn to former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök, who was in office in that period.In the coup diaries, it is being written that Gen. Özkök knows the coups preparations but raised objections and showed a negative stance. So the attempt turned into null. This question was asked Özkök before. But the general has never denied these diaries.
He recently answered the questions Fikret Bila of daily Milliyet and said exactly the following: “I neither can say they exist nor can I deny. In other words, I neither confirm nor disclaim them.”
The translation is “Yes, the diaries exist; however I do not want to make any explanation.” If he hadn't known the diaries, he could have clearly said, “No they do not exist.” Likewise, when Bila asked about Örnek's remarks on them, Özkök said, “One side says the diaries belong to Örnek, but the admiral says they are not his. I am of the opinion that we should regard what the admiral says.”
And the translation is “Don't put me in a difficult situation. I cannot confute a commander. Whatever he says, I will regard it.”
Özkök is a key witness because if he is summoned for witnessing at the court, the Ergenekon investigation will sail into a very different direction. Many more retired commanders and even retired top generals might be involved in this inquiry. And for the first time ever, some commanders can be sentenced for preparing a coup in the past. The course of the events will head to an interesting direction.
These dramatic developments have deepened more as President Abdullah Gül invited Özkök to the presidential office. I know that this appointment was scheduled long ago and has nothing to do with the latest developments. After this meeting, nothing was clear. However, everything got more confusing and turns into a matter of “life and dead”, it is difficult not to think that Mr. president might violate neutrality principle and dwell on this issue.
In brief, the Ergenekon investigation should be undervalued. Even if it was kind of amateurish and exaggerated at first before the public eye, I have a feeling that so many different things will come out under the rug.