From the papers
HDN | 2/12/1997 12:00:00 AM | CENGİZ ÇANDAR
A Bayram gift From a Feb. 11 article by Sabah's Cengiz Candar: There are certain significant signs. One of these signs is President Suleyman Demirel's Bayram message which many have seen as criticism directed at the Welfare Party (RP). Though its content may indeed be interpreted in this fashion, the message is also significant because with this Demirel has pulled the rug from under certain circles who would like to "legitimize" a potential military coup. A more important sign is that certain
A Bayram gift
From a Feb. 11 article by Sabah's Cengiz Candar:
There are certain significant signs. One of these signs is President Suleyman Demirel's Bayram message which many have seen as criticism directed at the Welfare Party (RP). Though its content may indeed be interpreted in this fashion, the message is also significant because with this Demirel has pulled the rug from under certain circles who would like to "legitimize" a potential military coup. A more important sign is that certain major secrets of the "gang" within the state are being exposed. On the first day of Bayram, daily RADIKAL carried a banner headline which said, "The gang's execution team confesses everything." The links of the chain of mystery murders are being unearthed one by one, from the assassination of Vedat Aydin, head of the local organization in Diyarbakir of the People's Labor Party (HEP) to the Musa Anter (an intellectual of Kurdish origin) murder, to the shooting of Democracy Party (DEP) Mardin Deputy Mehmet Sincar in Batman's marketplace in broad daylight and to the assassination of Major Cem Ersever (the former Gendarmerie Intelligence Center official who had written a book implicating the officials of the center in certain unlawful activities).
It has become inevitable for Turkey to cleanse the state ranks and move towards the "rule of law," especially in the wake of the disclosures made at the parliamentary Susurluk Commission and at the Istanbul State Security Court by Hanefi Avci, head of the Security Department's Intelligence Section.
From now on, rest assured that anybody -- whether from the ranks of the RP or from the ranks of the "Neo-Vigilant Forces" (meaning the armed forces) -- who tries to push the society once again into quarrels along the lines ofsecular versus anti-secular, a secular state versus a Shariah state, or Islamist-secularist, is in fact the "voluntary peon" of the Turkish equivalent of Italy's notorious Gladio organization, that is, "voluntary" if they are not downright idiots.
The third sign came in the form of an item in the Feb. 10 issue of daily SABAH. Quoting U.S. State Department sources, the headline announced, "NATO to go ahead with expansion plan with or without Turkey." In response to the Turkish blackmail of, "We would veto NATO's expansion plan unless the European Union pledges to admit Turkey as a full member," the other side is saying, "We may leave Turkey out of NATO if necessary." This implies that the United States is not giving the green light to a fresh military coup in Turkey. No military coup could take place without NATO or, to put it in another way, without the United States.
So the only way remaining open for Turkey is to become a country which upholds fully the supremacy of the law. A pleasant Bayram gift. Baykal accepts Ecevit's offer
MILLIYET said that Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal had reacted warmly to rival Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Bulent Ecevit's saying, "We can join forces with the CHP against the Welfare Party (RP)." Baykal said, "The regime is faced with a threat. We are prepared for a joining of hands. At a time like this social democrats must be together. We must overcome the split in the ranks of the social democrats." Air guns to be debated at Security Board meeting
HURRIYET said that main opposition Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz's complaints about the proliferation of air rifles in the country would be taken up at the Feb. 28 meeting of the National Security Board. A report on fundamentalist movements will be presented to the government in which it is stated that extremist Islamist organizations are attaching great importance to getting armed, securing mostly air rifles. These can be obtained easily in Turkey as hunting rifles. A military official said, "We have grave worries about the people buying air rifles. Considering that a lot more may have been smuggled into the country on top of the licensed ones, we are greatly worried that the extreme fundamentalist organizations have formed their own arsenals by now. Intelligence organizations have started monitoring the air rifle traffic closely. But steps in this area should have been taken right at the start. I fear that these steps come too late." Over 100,000 air rifles are believed to be produced in Turkey annually, 30,000 of these manufactured in Duzce and some 28,000 in Konya. No evidence against Bucak, Agar or Ciller
ZAMAN quoted Mehmet Elkatmis (RP), chairman of the parliamentary commission looking into the mysterious Susurluk incident and the "state gang" claims triggered by it, as saying that until now they had not come across "evidence of a kind warranting a court case" against Sedat Bucak or Mehmet Agar, both True Path Party (DYP) deputies, or against Ozer Ciller, the husband of DYP leader and Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller. Bucak was traveling with mobster Abdullah Catli when the former died in a traffic accident in Susurluk on Nov. 3, 1996. Agar resigned as interior minister following Susurluk amid reports that he had supplied the gun license which identified Catli as a police expert. Elkatmis said that some 30,000 documents had been presented to the commission on Susurluk and related issues. A Susurluk cover-up?
A CUMHURIYET headline said, "State being governed by a secret hand -- They will try to mount a cover-up." Osman Ergin, a member of the special work group the Istanbul Bar Association has created to look into the Susurluk incident, expressed the conviction that Susurluk would be covered up in the usual fashion. Five or six persons would be chosen as scapegoats. They would be told, "Don't speak up. We will protect you. Do that for the sake of the state and the nation." Bucak receives visit from military well-wishers
RADIKAL said that DYP Sanliurfa Deputy and clan leader Sedat Bucak's current Bayram visit to his hometown of Siverek was being turned into a show of force. When he arrived in Siverek for the Bayram holiday, the local military officials queued up to visit him and wish him a quick recovery from the injuries he suffered during the Susurluk crash. The Susurluk contradictions
ZAMAN said that it was still not clear how many silencers were found in Sedat Bucak's Mercedes when it crashed in Susurluk. Security Department documents indicate that there was only one silencer. Yet the commander of the Susurluk gendarmerie station had said that they had found two silencers. Also, official records give contradictory information on where exactly the guns were found. Security Department documents indicate that two unlicensed MP 5 guns, two pistols and a silencer -- in addition to three guns licensed to Abdullah Catli using the Mehmet Ozbay alias -- had been found in the trunk of the car. Gendarmerie records, on the other hand, indicate that all seven guns were found inside the car and not in the trunk, and that a Nike sports bag found in the trunk contained 100 bullets for a M16 type gun as well as 13 bullets for a Bixie (BKC) type gun. And now Erkan implicated
ZAMAN said that Unal Erkan, a former governor of the emergency rule region, had now been implicated in Susurluk. Murat Demir and Murat Ipek, two former militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who have cooperated with the state against the PKK after being caught by the security forces, claim that they committed "mystery murders" in the Southeast in full knowledge of Erkan, at that time governor of the region. Surprise development in Yaprak incident
SABAH said that Mehmet Ali Yaprak, the owner of a local TV station who was abducted on Apr. 25, 1996 in Gaziantep and released a week later, applied to the prosecutor's office and said he was dropping his charges against the three persons whom he had accused of having abducted him for ransom. He said that the three, namely, Mehmet Yahya Efe, Turgay Marasli and Mufit Sement, had nothing to do with the incident. The Yaprak incident had been linked to the "state gang" claims triggered by Susurluk because Yaprak had implicated certain officials and said he had been taken to a place which he believed was Siverek, the home town of Sedar Bucak, the sole survivor of the Susurluk crash. 'We would keep the guns'
RADIKAL interviewed two "penitent" PKK informants cooperating with the security forces, Murat Demir and Murat Ipek. They said that they would hand over to the authorities only a tiny part of the guns and ammunition seized in the raids staged against the PKK. The rest would be loaded on trucks and sent to other spots. The aim of the gun smuggling was to supply arms to the Turkic republics. The guns supplied to Azerbaijan and Bosnia-Herzegovina came from this source. They said, in brief, "Abdullah Catli (the mobster who died in Susurluk) had been undertaking work in Istanbul. But recently he had started paying frequent visits to the Southeast. He was planning to seize the heroin traffic into his hands alone." Demir said the leader of a certain clan in the Southeast knew them well. In fact they trained the volunteers supplied by him. Ozcan on his way to freedom
ZAMAN said Mehmet Ozcan, the alleged head of the so-called "state gang of Kocaeli," has been ordered released from custody in 10 out of a total 19 court cases initiated against him. Currently he is in Izmir prison pending the outcome of the rest of these cases. The charges against him vary from forming a gang with criminal intent, robbery, narcotics use and car theft. Ozcan is a National Intelligence Organization (MIT) man according to the testimony given at the parliamentary Susurluk Commission by Hanefi Avci, head of the Intelligence Department of the Security Directorate. Terrorism takes a bitter toll
CUMHURIYET said that some 23,000 persons lost their lives in Turkey in terrorism-related incidents in the past 12 years. The government's "return to the villages" project launched last year to reverse the migration from the regions worst-hit by terrorism, proved a fiasco. On one hand the state encouraged people to go back their villages in the eastern and southeastern provinces in areas declared safe by the government. On the other hand villagers in Tunceli were forced to migrate. In one year, 16,920 villagers in Tunceli had to resettle. In the past six years 1,452 mystery murders were committed in the country's "police-controlled areas" (urban centers) alone. Government in debt bottleneck
CUMHURIYET said the government was being crushed under the weight of domestic and foreign debts. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not given the green light for further foreign borrowing. The country's future is "mortgaged." In Jan.-Feb. 1998 alone the government will have to repay TL 825 trillion in domestic debt as well as DM 1.5 billion arising from deposits made by Turkish migrant workers in the framework of a secondhand car importation scheme, $42 billion in foreign exchange credits received from residents in Turkey and a $4 billion foreign debt. This will put a lot of strain on DYP leader Tansu Ciller when she takes over the prime ministry from her coalition partner Necmettin Erbakan in early 1998. SABAH said a new tax package was in the offing, containing stricter tax controls and the registering of the unregistered economic activity. The focus will be on the planned "Private Consumption Tax" and the more effective taxation of the income from real estate. French Telecom wants to buy Turkish companies
YENIYUZYIL said that by the year 2000 there would be five million cellular phones in use in Turkey. U.S. and European companies are vying for a piece of the TL 100 trillion Turkish market. France Telecom has already made an offer to buy the licensing rights of two Turkish companies, Turkcell and Telsim.