ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
The indictment for the Ergenekon investigation refers to ties between the gang and many unsolved crimes in the past but the connection is at most flimsy because the air of secrecy surrounding the group remains, according to reports.
While the Istanbul prosecutor briefed the public on charges faced by members of the Ergenekon gang Monday, the Doğan news agency, or DHA, has revealed there are many documents pertaining to assassinations and coup plots in the unreleased indictment, but there is no evidence directly tying the suspects to the crimes.
The organizational structure of the group creates separate cells, with their presidents and deputies leading largely independent existences with different ideological foundations. Leftist, rightist, fundamentalist and nationalist cells exist under the umbrella of Ergenekon, according to the indictment. Only the top executives in the group knew about all the cells.
The Ergenekon case started after the discovery of 27 hand grenades on June 12, 2007 in a shanty house officer in Istanbul's Ümraniye district that belonged to a retired noncommissioned officer. The grenades were found to be the same ones used in the attacks on Cumhuriyet daily's Istanbul offices in 2006.
The findings led to scores of detentions, putting more than 100 journalists, writers, gang leaders and politicians under interrogation in what turned into a terror investigation that seeks to crack down on an alleged ultra-nationalist gang named Ergenekon, which sought to topple the government by staging a coup in 2009 by initially spreading chaos and mayhem. Ergenekon is originally a pre-Islamic Turkish saga that tells of Turks' re-emergence from defeat by trickery of their enemies under the guidance of a gray wolf.
Earlier bombings of daily Cumhuriyet, the murder of Hrant Dink, the murder of the top judge of the Council of State and alleged plans for the assassination of high-profile figures in Turkish politics are sometimes associated with the case.
Police likewise raided the houses of 11 people on March 21 in a previous wave of detentions, including Cumhuriyet's chief columnist and licensee, İlhan Selçuk, 83; Workers' Party, or İP, leader Doğu Perinçek; and Istanbul University's former rector, The list of detainees includes retired generals Şener Eruygur and Hürşid Tolon and retired Major Gen. Veli Küçük.
Many detainees are retired officials who gathered in associations linked to the ultra-nationalist Kuvayi Milliye (National Forces) -- a reference to irregular forces that led the Turkish independence war back in early the 1920s.
Behind the scenes:
According to the documents found, the gang wanted to become the true power broker in Turkey without attracting any publicity.
Drug trafficking is believed to be the main moneymaker for the group, but the investigation has yet to lead to any evidence proving this allegation.
Around 10 nongovernmental organizations were used to steer the public in the direction the gang wanted.
The indictment also noted that the official Kemalist version of nationalism differed from the nationalism the gang followed.
While the suspects in the Ergenekon case are accused of trying to topple the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government, the indictment notes that a similar coup plot was also considered in 2001 when Bülent Ecevit from the Democratic Left Party, or DSP, was in charge.
The indictment also includes information found on the assassinations of journalist Uğur Mumcu and academic Ahmet Taner Kışlalı in the 1990s, according to the DHA. However, it was also noted that there was not enough evidence to charge the suspects for the crimes.
References to the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, and to the assassination of businessman Özdemir Sabancı and two of his associates in 1996 are also noted in the indictment, the news agency reported.
According to the indictment, records were kept by the group on many journalists and media company owners, who were classified as agents of the CIA, FBI, Mossad and Turkish National Intelligence Agency, or MİT.
The gang had records for executives in almost all sectors but special focus was placed on journalists.