Orhan Kemal Cengiz: It is a revolution to try coup plotters

Historic opportunity….

ETÖ (Ergenekon Terrorist Organization) presents a historic opportunity for Turkey.

Second indictment was made public. The indictment has captured -from all perspectives- the images of coup plotters, enemies of democracy and law.

It is sheer flagrante delicto…

However, democracy is so powerful that Turkey can today try coup, coup plotters and coup plots despite its well-rooted “coup culture”.

Former generals and force commanders are among the accused.

Tolon and Eruygur are indicted for being “high level leaders of the organization”.

Eruygur and Tolon are indicted on the following charges;

Setting up and leading an armed terrorist organization, plotting to eliminate TGNA, instigating rebellion against TGNA, possessing and providing tremendous amount of weapons, engaging in trafficking and provision of drugs or stimulants, influencing judges…

Let’s remember what is in the second indictment;

How Ergenekon manipulated PKK, TİT, Hizbullah and Hizbuttahrir terror organizations; how headquarter houses (karargah evleri) infiltrated into the army; the details of the coup plot “Eldiven” (literally Glove); how the foundation of Ayışığı (Moonlight) and Sarıkız (Blond Maid) coups as well as “Eldiven” coup plot was laid; plans to divide AKP and MHP; operations staged -within the CHP- by Ergenekon and attempts to topple Deniz Baykal; coup plots by Şener Eruygur and Hurşit Tolon; past and future provocations by Ergenekon to create an atmosphere fit for coup; Republican rallies; and how Kemalist Thought Association(ADD) was used as an operational power..

In this country, being a democrat is difficult whereas being a coup plotter is easy…

We all set on a challenging journey now, we advocate a system based on rule of law.

We talked to jurist-writer Orhan Kemal Cengiz about Ergenekon in the light of the information in the second indictment; we sought answers as to where we are heading for and what is happening…

We found out who is to be blamed for any future trouble Turkey may be stuck in…

– Second indictment of Ergenekon case was made public. Let’s interpret the picture anew in the light of the new information; what is Ergenekon, what is its objective, what has it done?

Ergenekon is the organization of those who deem themselves superior to law and all rules. It is the organization of the last inheritors of the conspiracy mindset bequeathed from Byzantine to Ottoman empire and therefrom to the Republic. Ergenekon is the last representative of the deep structure behind all the political assassinations and manipulations in Turkey.

– What are the linkages of this structure?

What we are holding at hand is only one tentacle of the octopus. We are liquidating one branch of Turkish Gladio. Those who play a key role in Ergenekon also played a central role in JİTEM. When you include JİTEM in the case, you would merge Sauna, Atabeyler gangs, Santoro, Dink, Malatya assassinations and many others into this case. You would also merge assassinations by unknown assailants (by prominent assailants) and all the assassinations to this network. If the investigation is furthered, Hizbullah’s and PKK’s cooperation with Ergenekon will be unveiled as well.

– What has the second indictment added to the Ergenekon case triggered by the seizure of 27 hand grenades in a shanty in Ümraniye and steered by the discovery of weapon depots, assassination plots and attempts to create chaos?

I don’t base the case simply on the second indictment. Some recent developments are as important as the second indictment.

– Which developments?

Uncovering BOTAŞ wells and taking the JİTEM colonel under arrest indicates that Ergenekon case is heading for the east of Euphrates, where it must be actually steered. This is crucial. The second indictment also brings the stages of a coup to light.


– That is, what we already knew has been documented…

We always knew that settings favourable for were prepared. The second indictment shows us how it is done as in a recipe. We understand how media instigated coups and how members of press considered coups as a means of prosperity.

What is the most prominent significance of the case?

It is of tremendous significance. It has already swept away a curtain. The details of nasty works which we smelt and heard became visible. There is no way back. We have finally discovered the truth. Society woke up. If the case progresses and takes the right direction and perpetrators are duly punished, then it would pave the way for further developments.

– What kind of developments?

Military guardianship system in Turkey would receive a deadly blow. Feeling of justice would be restored; it would also lay the foundation of a democratic State which respects rule of law.


– Some claim that the case should be delimitated, otherwise the process would be hindered. What is the imminent threat, delimitation or extension of the case?

Şamil Tayyar is a colleague who spends tremendous efforts for Ergenekon to be uncovered; however he advocates the delimitation of the case, which is extremely misleading. Have a glance at the Susurluk report, Kutlu Savaş has made a crucial point in the report when he said “Dealing with interconnected incidents and networks in separate court cases has made it impossible to understand what Susurluk actually is”.

– It is equally, even more, relevant to Ergenekon…

That’s right, as long as you deal with interconnected incidents and cases separately, you would neither understand what Ergenekon actually is nor you could fully liquidate this structure. Coup plots are significant, yet reducing the case to such coup plots would weaken it. By doing so, you would create more room for the insidious propaganda which claims that the case targets AKP opponents. Let’s keep in mind that Ergenekon is a gigantic organization and it is in the centre of many shadowy deeds in Turkey.

– What is in the past, what would future bring?

A document seized on one of the accused says “Special Forces is the apple of Ergenekon’s eye. Special Forces is the continuation, or inheritor of Special Warfare Department. General Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu, one of the former presidents of the Department once said that 6-7 September is a spectacular deed by Special Warfare Department. When you trace the ties, you would be appalled to see the extent where Ergenekon goes.

– What is the forward-looking face of Ergenekon?

It is confiscating Turkey’s future. Blocking EU process, disconnecting Turkey from the world, setting up an authoritarian-fascist regime…

– The indictment is centred on coup. This is the first time that generals are tried on charges of coup.

It is sort of a revolution for Turkey. We named schools and streets after Kenan Evren. We celebrated the May 27 like a festival. There are still some people who consider the May 27 as a modernist revolution against reactionism. In fact, judging coup plotters is a revolution in a country like ours.

– The circumstances favourable for a coup were created by ensuring media support, creating public opinion, deactivating politics, drawing attention to the dangers threatening the homeland, convincing command echelon or bypassing it when the former cannot be achieved…Is this how they acted?

Weren’t all the coups staged thereon? We caught the coup plotters red-handed for the first time. Their masks dropped for the first time. We saw their faces bare for the first time. If an army intends to stage coups when circumstances are mature, some people both inside and outside that army will eventually create such circumstances.

– Does the process consist of liquidation of history of coups and deep state?

It is too early to call it the liquidation of deep state. Ergenekon is cantered on what we call deep state structuring. If all the cases connected to Ergenekon are joined to the file, a glimpse of hope would emerge for fully purging the State of gangs.


– What do the (coup) diaries tell you?

The diaries tell how deeply Ergenekon mindset is rooted and how the system functions. It sheds light on why we have been living under a military guardianship for so long.

– I already knew Sarıkız, Ayışığı, Yakamoz, Eldiven coup plots, and now popped up “Iron fist”.

I heard it for the first time. Coups are iron fists that crack down this country. They seem to have named it correctly. If they had not been captured, they would have knocked out the democracy with iron fist.

– Increasing number of people say they are convinced (that Ergenekon exists). Has the Ergenekon case gone beyond the stage where it was diluted?

It is tragicomic that we still debate whether or not it actually exists. A certain media group’s incredible efforts for blurring and subtle disinformation tactics led to this situation. It is shameful. However, despite these efforts, people can sort out what is what.


– Why does Istanbul Bar Association give explicit messages of support to Ergenekon members?

Unfortunately, it is not only the Istanbul Bar Association. The executive boards of some bar associations are now dominated by groups, who call themselves the “neo-nationalists” (ulusalcılar). They have actively rolled up their sleeves to act as the advocates of Ergenekon. Who knows, maybe it is extremely scary for some people to see that in a country where Ergenekon has collapsed everyone will have to fulfill their duties duly, [and to see] that this country will enter the EU etc…

– You have a definition of the lawyers, elites, and gunmen of the Ergenekon structure. Who are they? Lawyers?

Those who hope [to get] something out of the coups; who scare away the public because they are afraid of people; those who think that they are chief politicians in Turkey although they would not achieve to be involved in politics even for three days in any democratic country; those who are frightened by democracy as if it were a monster.

– Elites?

Those who actually do not deserve -but owe to the military guardianship- the seats that they occupy. Those who think insulting people means progressivism; who think their memorized knowledge is intellectual power. Those, who sit in the center of Ergenekon, and pretend to be journalists, politicians and bosses.

– Gunmen?

They are well-known. We know them from [the] Susurluk [incident]. [They are] Those who had created the “death-triangle” around Sapanca-Adapazarı-Hendek; those who abducted people and threw their bodies in the acid wells; those who shot Dink on his nape; those who washed the Council of State with a rain of bullets and then pretended to be pious Muslims …

– Do the high judiciary and prominent bureaucrats impose pressure on the Ergenekon prosecutors?

You have the evident example of Şemdinli prosecutor; it speaks for itself. The Şemdinli prosecutor has been turned into a living-dead. After this example, actually it is a miracle that an investigation such as Ergenekon has been launched…


– There are some people, who elaborate on the thesis of “It is not an offence to think about a coup, but it is an offence to put it into action”. Are these efforts aiming at legitimizing Ergenekon?

But we are not talking about a single man who just sat down and dreamt about a coup. The same guy goes and acts like the mentor of the coup plotters.

– You are talking about the diaries of Mustafa Balbay…

Of course! If some call this a crime of thought, I doubt about their intelligence and good will. And the other, in his own corner, act like a coup-provocateur. Those, who consider this as freedom of expression are actually those, who –subconsciously- do not see coup as a crime. Otherwise, I reckon everyone knows “praising an offence, instigating an offence” itself constitutes a crime.

Ergenekon case is a historic opportunity for the TAF (Turkish Armed Forces)

– There is the impression that the TAF is protecting some retired generals. GATA is a typical example for instance. How will the civil judiciary–military judiciary reality influence the Ergenekon case?

In Turkey, we have a military judiciary with a tremendous extent of jurisdiction. In other parts of the world, there is either no such thing as the military judiciary or even if there is, it is merely reserved for issues related exclusively to the military profession. Around us, there is this weird mentality which thinks that coup attempt is a military offence…

– Is there a task as “staging military coups” so that there should also be an offence linked to this task?

In the Şemdinli case, we saw what would happen if the issue is dealt with by the military judiciary. The accused, who had been tried by the civilian courts for imprisonment penalty of 30-40 years, were released the next day they were referred to the military court. If this is a fait accompli, this is a rigorous insult to the intelligence of the society.

– What is the position of TAF towards the Ergenekon case?

Ambivalent… It seems as if it does not prevent detentions; but on the other hand, their manner to take up “headquarter houses” issue is thought-provoking. [We now learn that actually] MİT informed [them] in 2005, but military prosecutors did not take any action. The old days, when silence was golden, are now far behind. Ergenekon case is imposing on the army a brand new institutional culture, a new model of structuring. The case, which is a pain in the neck for some, is actually presenting the military with an opportunity to get rid of the rotten eggs in the basket.

– Instead of getting rid of the rotten eggs and saying ‘era of coups is over’, why does the General Staff insist on saying ‘do not damage the reputation of the TAF’?

Solders could not somehow start an auto-criticism. But this, in fact, gives a big damage to the military.


– Where is the first place that Ergenekon took its first steps? Where is the main center?

Looking at the documents in the dossier, you will see the expression ‘Ergenekon, established under the TAF’. Being a military structure until then, Ergenekon was opened up to civilians in 1999 and was restructured. Before that date, perhaps it had some contacts with civilians; but after 1999, it branched out considerably reaching out to the judiciary, security organization, media, politics, business world, universities…

Gunmen have received a blow, the brain-team is out there

– To what extent has the core structure been touched in Ergenekon? What is the rest [of the structure] doing now? Are they seeking revenge?

In fact, it is evident that they have touched the operational side of the structure. Look how the murders have stopped at once after the case was launched! This means that the gunmen have been deactivated. If this operation had not been undertaken, we would have seen blood flowing all around the country. They would have attacked the Alewites, shot the intellectuals and non-Muslims. But the brain-team of Ergenekon is still out there. Some say “I was involved in all the coups”…

– I think they have not surrendered. What kind of moves can they take in the upcoming period?

Of course this structure has not been liquidated completely. If they were capable, and if they had the chance, they would assassinate the Prime Minister. We should be extremely careful: we have to be ready for a second closure case and start today to roll up the sleeves to ward it off. We sense a devious plan. They realized that the first closure case was prevented with the opposition of the EU. Now there is a tremendous effort to ward that support off. They are trying to convince the West that the AKP is taking Turkey towards “Moderate Islam”. We should not fall in this trap. The AKP should launch a new series of efforts towards the EU and should succeed to depose these conspiracies. No one should be so naive as to think that the Ergenekon has fully been liquidated. We are just setting off the road…