ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
The Ergenekon investigation's ardent supporters, who herald the case as the coup-de-grace to all terrorism and political violence, miss the point, asserts Gareth Jenkins, a journalist writing for conservative American think tank the Jamestown Foundation. Reaching 2,500 pages, the Ergenekon indictment met with various interpretations, from outright denial of its claims to enthusiastic approval of its content.
A rather suspicious and disappointed comment on the claims evolving around the indictment arrived from the Jamestown Foundation, a conservative American think tank based in Washington D.C.
“There is little doubt that the Ergenekon investigation is rooted in fact. But what is alarming about the indictment is that it extrapolates from a kernel of truth through rumor, hearsay, unsubstantiated supposition and simple invention into the realms of fantasy,” wrote Gareth Jenkins in a paper on the Ergenekon case published Tuesday.
The paper notes that the Ergenekon case was heralded as a victory for democracy by pro-government media. Jenkins underlined that some publications went so far as to say that virtually every terrorist organization that operated in Turkey for the past 20 years was a brainchild of the Ergenekon gang.
“One of the most startling claims in the indictment is that Ergenekon was cooperating with – and in many cases had both created and subsequently controlled – the entire range of terrorist groups in Turkey, ranging from leftists and Kurdish nationalists through to violent Islamists; and was responsible for almost every political assassination in the country since the early 1990s,” wrote Jenkins.
He pointed to one of the examples of such an argument where some columnists “proclaimed that the indictment proved that Ergenekon had ‘played a major role in the formation of the (outlawed) Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the religious fundamentalist (Turkish) Hizbollah, Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) and the fundamentalist Islamic Great East Raiders Front (İBDA-C).”
The claim is a fiction, wrote Jenkins. Nevertheless, he stated that the argument “is a convenient one for conspiracy theorists and those non-violent Turkish Islamists whose own horror at the atrocities committed in the name of their religion by militant groups invariably results in them attempting to shift responsibility for them to other – usually mysterious – forces.”
Ergenekon neither to exaggerate, nor to belittle
Jenkins wrote instead of targeting members located in the deep state, Ergenekon ought to target small moribund ex-deep state members who established a new group to counter mainly two political trends. First is what they perceive as the erosion of Turkey's sovereignty with the European Union accession process, and second the allegedly anti-secular motives of the justice and Development Party, or AKP, government. “They tried to recruit both from other former members of the ‘deep state' and ultra-nationalists and hard-line secularists who had previously had no involvement with it. There is little doubt that Ergenekon planned to use violence,” Jenkins underlined.
The Ergenekon gang is a hangover from the heyday of Turkey's “deep state,” which in the ‘50s and ‘90s fought against communism and the PKK, according to Jenkins, and was “much larger and complex than in the simplistic conspiracy theories now being peddled by AKP supporters.”
“But, contrary to the claims of many of the AKP's opponents, it was also as much a reality as the organizations which continue to resort to terrorism in Turkey in the name of socialism, Kurdish nationalism or Islam,” he said.