ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
A former Gendarmerie commander who is in jail for plotting a coup tried to assassinate the chief of General Staff in 2004 in order to pave the way for a military takeover, but was prevented from doing so by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, according to the latest claim reported in the weekly Yeni Aktuel.
According to the magazine, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, victory in the 2002 elections caused distress in the military. The Gendarmerie, under the leadership of Gen. Şener Eruygur, formed a �Republic Work Group� in order to plan what could be done without any knowledge of the then Chief of General Staff Hilmi Özkök.
When the commanders of the land and air forces retired in 2003 and were replaced with more hard-line commanders, Eruygur and Navy Commander Adm. Özden Örnek found allies against Özkök, according to Actüel.
Örnek was the person whose alleged diaries, when published by Nokta magazine in 2006, caused serious consternation because they had outlined a military coup. Örnek denied any such diary existed, but later at court it was found that the text had originated from a Naval Command computer.
According to the magazine, Özkök was dead set against any coup, with the First Army Commander Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt, the current chief of General Staff, supporting him.
The plan was for Eruygur to force Büyükanıt out and become the next Land Forces commander while the Aegean Army Commander Gen. Hurşit Tolon became the chief of General Staff.
On Feb. 3, 2004, the CIA warned a top Turkish intelligence agent about a �serious act� planned against Özkök, thus allowing for security measures to prevent any such act.
The magazine says the coup plans only ended in the spring of 2004 with Özkök calling in Eruygur and showing him video recordings of Eruygur at the Gendarmerie Command planning a coup.
Eruygur's response was, �My headquarters stabbed me in the back,� the magazine claimed, adding that that was the end of the coup plans.
Afterwards, all top officers at the Gendarmerie Command were posted in positions outside Ankara.
Eruygur and Tolon, who after retiring became vocal critics of the AKP, are currently in jail for being part of the Ergenekon gang, which stands accused of planning a coup. They both face charges of forming and leading a terrorist group aiming to topple the government.
Özkök's meeting with president:
Days after calling on President Abdullah Gül to meet with the nation's leaders to quell the tension caused by the closure trial faced by the AKP and the Ergenekon arrests, Özkök met with the president on Thursday.
The two-hour lunch between the two caused much speculation despite the fact that Özkök remained tight lipped about the Ergenekon investigations.
According to daily Milliyet's Fikret Bila, both Gül and Özkök agreed that the harsh actions and reactions due to the tension caused by the closure case and the Ergenekon investigation created public anxiety, noting the importance of creating an environment that eliminates polarization.
Bila said the two agreed that the European Union membership process could be an important lever in resolving many of the divisive issues.
Meanwhile, Istanbul's Chief Prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı said Friday the indictment of the Ergenekon investigation was still being assessed and a statement would be made on Monday.