ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
On the same day that the last wave of Ergenekon arrests took place, a military prosecutor launched a secret in-house investigation into alleged coup attempts, a private broadcaster revealed yesterday.
A military prosecutor had asked Zekeriya Öz, the prosecutor in the Ergenekon case, to provide him with copies of files, including allegations against two retired generals, Şener Eruygur and Hurşit Tolon, on the day of their detention July 1, NTV reported.
NTV said Öz authorized the police counter-terrorism unit to cooperate with the military prosecutor. There was no confirmation from either the military or Öz's office by late yesterday when the Turkish Daily News went to press.
According to legal procedure, any claims about military personnel in office can only be prosecuted in a military court. Therefore, the crimes attributed to generals during the 2003-2004 period will be investigated simultaneously with the civilian court.
It was alleged that Eruygur and Tolon were preparing to stage a coup to topple the government during their tenure, as recorded by former Navy Forces Commander Adm. Özden Örnek in his diary.
Opposition suspicious of indictment
Different reactions came from the political parties yesterday following the revelation of the content of the Ergenekon indictment by Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin.
Speaking to journalists in Parliament, Hakkı Suha Okay, the Republican People's Party, or CHP, deputy parliamentary group leader, said the privacy of the investigation process concerning the Ergenekon case was violated.
“Some [powers] in the country presented information [to the press] with regard to the Ergenekon case and manipulated the investigation process. They imposed a kind of pressure,” said Okay.
“Even the prosecutor himself accepted the situation about the leak of information and that a major part of the indictment took place through the media … It is because of this pollution of information and manipulation that there appeared a mystery of Ergenekon in the country.”
Okay also said the preparation of an indictment based on the statements of 20 secret witnesses would raise questions in people's minds about the accuracy of the indictment, confirming the Ergenekon investigation as a kind of conspiracy. He said that such an indictment, which was introduced to the public in such a pretentious way, required no secrecy.
‘Erdoğan should clarify claims in coup diary'
Bekir Bozdağ, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, parliamentary group deputy leader, meanwhile, said the ruling party did not manipulate the case.
“The government didn't interfere with the process. It can't direct the investigation and has no right to do so. The judiciary is independent. Those who claim otherwise tend to pervert the issue,” Bozdağ said.
He avoided commenting on the absence of the so-called “coup diaries” by Örnek in the indictment or in the preparation of the indictment based on the statements of 20 secret witnesses, saying it would be wrong to comment on the issue without having detailed information about its content.
Mehmet Şandır, the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, deputy parliamentary group leader, said the Istanbul chief prosecutor solely presented the outcomes of the investigation to the Court for Serious Crimes and the documents can only be considered as an indictment provided that the court finds them legal and files a suit.
He also said the absence of the coup diaries in the indictment was useful in terms of the country's interests.
“However, it is the responsibility of the prime minister to clarify the claims indicated in the coup diaries because the names mentioned in the diary were state officials who worked during the prime minister's term,” Sandir added.
He said remarks of former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. Hilmi Özkök about the coup diaries confused people and that the prime minister had to publicly clarify the claims.