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HDN | 10/30/1998 12:00:00 AM |

The contradictions From an Oct. 29 article by Hurriyet's Sedat Ergin: At his meeting with journalists at his residence on the night of Oct. 27, Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz indicated that on June 4 when bids were invited for Turkbank, he received a note from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the police intelligence indicating that businessman Korkmaz Yigit had been in contact with [mafia boss] Alaattin Cakici. This encouraged him to tell State Minister Gunes Taner to leave Yigit out of the

The contradictions

From an Oct. 29 article by Hurriyet's Sedat Ergin:

At his meeting with journalists at his residence on the night of Oct. 27, Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz indicated that on June 4 when bids were invited for Turkbank, he received a note from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the police intelligence indicating that businessman Korkmaz Yigit had been in contact with [mafia boss] Alaattin Cakici. This encouraged him to tell State Minister Gunes Taner to leave Yigit out of the bidding process because Cakici was intervening on Yigit's behalf.

At that stage, Yilmaz obviously had no doubt that he had the authority to leave Yigit out of the bidding process. Yigit visited Taner but the latter told him, "You are involved with the mafia. So don't go into this." Had Yilmaz's coalition partner Husamettin Cindoruk not pleaded on Yigit's behalf and persuaded Yilmaz to have a talk with Yigit, the latter would not be able to take part in the bidding process and things would not have reached this scandalous stage.

After having a talk with Yigit on June 30, Yilmaz performed an about-face. While not saying anything against Yigit taking part in the bidding process, he sought more detailed information on Yigit from the police and the MIT. Meanwhile, the government has A) let Yigit take part in the bidding process, B) acknowledged him as the winner of the auction, C) concluded the bank's handover protocol on Sept. 9. The government took all these steps despite the information it had on Yigit since the beginning of June.

When journalists asked Yilmaz at the meeting how could he do it, the answer was, "I had to act according to law rather than according to logic. Intelligence notes do not constitute evidence. When we obtained evidence we suspended the tender." Then the question which must be posed to Yilmaz is, "What evidence did you have in the beginning when you told Taner to leave Yigit out of the bidding process?" There is a clear contradiction on this subject.

Another contradiction involves the note the police sent to Yilmaz on Aug. 4 to warn him against Yigit. As Necati Bilican, head of the police department, disclosed in Yilmaz's presence during the Oct. 27 meeting with journalists, the department had sent a similar note to the prime minister on Aug. 3 too. Yilmaz preferred not to discuss that note, saying that a procedural mistake had been made in the delivery of that note. It is not clear what happened to the Aug. 3 memo. It is not clear whether the prime minister read it or not.

Also significant point is that in the Sept. 30 meeting Interior Minister Kutlu Aktas met with Yigit and made the businessman confess during that meeting that he had been in contact with Cakici. But it took Yilmaz and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit almost a week, that is, until Oct. 5, to decide, taking Aktas on their side, to have the bidding process invalidated. What was the reason for that delay? Did Aktas fail to inform the prime minister promptly? If he relayed that sensitive piece of information immediately then why did the prime minister fail to take prompt action? Why did the prime minister wait until Oct. 5, that is, until Ecevit decided to take the initiative?

Vote of confidence

From an Oct. 29 article by Sabah's Gungor Mengi:

After attending the meeting at the prime minister's residence on the night of Oct. 27, I am convinced that the scandalous developments which occurred until Oct. 13 when the government suspended the sale of Turkbank to Korkmaz Yigit, is not reason enough to accuse the government of becoming involved with the mafia. On the contrary, I feel that Mesut Yilmaz and his government is making a determined effort to rid the state of the gangs.

Yigit was not left out of the bidding process because he kept denying his involvement with Alaattin Cakici and the prime minister was seeking hard evidence. After Yigit the confession made to Interior Minister Kutlu Aktas and a phone conversation between Yigit and Cakici -- recorded by the police last May -- surfaced, the tender was suspended. Two days later, Fikri Saglar of the Republican People's Party (CHP) disclosed the tape recording in question [in which the two discuss ways of coercing the other bidders into dropping out of race.]

I am not saying that I can vouch for the prime minister. But it is a fact that the mafia has reached the stage where it can play with trillions of lira, commit brutal murders, give directions to politics and try to have its own men to be appointed to key MIT positions. People see that and support with excitement the fight started against the mafia. The ruling parties see that the accomplishments in that area will be their major trump card in the forthcoming election.

The republic day

On the 75th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, the leading Turkish dailies carried on their front pages pictures of Ataturk, founder of the republic. YENI YUZYIL told Ataturk, "We love you", MILLIYET and RADIKAL, "Long live the republic" and SABAH, "Turkish nation, you deserve the republic." MILLIYET quoted Ataturk as saying, "The Turkish press will build a protective bastion around the republic. That will be an intellectual bastion." HURRIYET reported that, on this historic day, Chief of General Staff Gen. Huseyin Kivrikoglu addressed the followers of Ataturk via the daily, saying: "Kemalists, do not be discouraged. It is a historical fact that when we have to protect the republic we do not hesitate to give our lives should that be needed as on May 19, 1919 [the day on which Mustafa Kemal arrived in Samsun from Istanbul to organize the people in Anatolia against the invading foreign forces, starting the Turkish War of Liberation.] The attacks directed at the Republic must never undermine the morale of the Kemalists. The only thing we must do is to always look ahead, the army and the nation hand-in-hand, without becoming desperate. The internal and external focal points of evil who are against Ataturk and democracy may cause the society to lose time, resources and even lives. But eventually they will hit the wall, that is, the democratic republican regime."

Yilmaz tells all

YENI YUZYIL quoted Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz as telling a group of journalists at the historic dinner at his residence, "Hold me responsible for the mistakes made outside my knowledge too." He said, in brief: "A total 43 black money files involving hundreds of trillions of lira are being examined. The mafia groups have a more far-reaching organization than we had thought. A team will be sent to France in November to interrogate [mafia boss] Alaattin Cakici." MILLIYET said, "Knowingly." Yilmaz's words boil down to the following: Several months before Turkbank was sold to businessman Korkmaz Yigit, Yilmaz received information that Cakici was threatening certain businessmen to make sure that they would not bid against Yigit. Yilmaz told State Minister Gunes Taner to leave Yilmaz out of the bidding process. Despite that, Yigit took part in the bidding. The memos the police sent prior to and following the Turkbank auction to warn against Yigit's underworld links were lost in the Prime Ministry "accidentally." Though officials knew very well who he was, Yigit took part in the auction and made the best bid. Following the auction, Yilmaz demanded from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) a file on Yigit. MIT's reply was "We have no information on him." Meanwhile, police sent to the Central Bank a copy of the memo that had been sent to Yilmaz. But the bank did not take any action. And 34 days after the auction, while Ankara was reverberating with the rumors of the Yigit-Cakici relationship, the Treasury approved Turkbank's sale to Yigit.

The Cakici-Yilmaz line

YENI SAFAK reported that it had obtained the full text of yet another tape recording of a phone conversation between Cakici [mafia boss currently imprisoned in France] and Bursa businessman Erol Evcil [the person who allegedly ordered "moneylender" Nesim Malki's murder.] The tape shows how Cakici had established an indirect dialogue with Motherland Party (ANAP) leader and Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz. The conversation took place On Feb. 3, 1998 before Senkal Atasagun was appointed MIT undersecretary. The tape makes it clear that Cakici was lobbying on the businessmen-police-politician line to have Yavuz Atac appointed to a higher position in the MIT. The two discussed, among other things, the possibility of [Ordu governor, Istanbul's former police chief] Kemal Yazicioglu being made MIT undersecretary. According to the conversation, Yazicioglu assured Evcil that Atac would be appointed to a key position in the MIT. Evcil also says Yazicioglu had assured him that he would relay to him a piece of information he would obtain from the prime minister. Cakici says that to be reinstated as head of the MIT's Overseas Operations Section, Atac might use the major trump card in his hands. Without specifying what that trump card is, Evcil says Gedik [apparently head of the Bursa branch of ANAP, Mehmet Gedik] knew about the trump card, and that he had warned Gedik not to speak on this issue. Meanwhile, Yazicioglu has categorically rejected the allegation that he knew Cakici and Evcil.

Police search Yigit's office

MILLIYET reported that financial and organized crime police teams searched businessman Korkmaz Yigit's house and his office at Korkmaz Yigit Holding in Istanbul on Oct. 28, seizing account books and computer discs and detaining two company officials for questioning.

Minister or detective?

MILLIYET quoted Interior Minister Kutlu Aktas as saying that when businessman Korkmaz Yigit sought an appointment with him early this month he had their conversation secretly recorded. Speaking to journalists during the meeting held at the prime minister's residence, Aktas said, "Yigit told me that [businessman] Erol Evcil was responsible for the Malki murder, that Evcil had him killed."

Four scenarios on Apo

CUMHURIYET reported that, at its Oct. 27 meeting, the National Security Council (MGK) assessed the preparations being made against four potential steps Moscow may be inclined to take regarding the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah "Apo" Ocalan. From Turkey's standpoint, the worst scenario would be the Russian government deciding to openly protect Apo and to grant the PKK political rights. The best option, that is, extradition of Apo to Turkey, is a weak possibility. There is also the possibility of Apo being interned in Russia or being sent to a third country. Meanwhile, Commander of the Second Army Aytac Yalman went to Damascus on Oct. 28 to get acquainted with the Syrian representative who will take part in the inspection mechanism to be created for verifying that Syria complies with the agreement recently concluded with Turkey on the measures to be taken against the PKK. A hot line will be established between the two countries.

Interview with Tarar

ZAMAN quoted Pakistani President Muhammed Rafiq Tarar as saying that Turkey and Pakistan were parts of a single body. Interviewed prior to his departure for Turkey to attend the 75th anniversary of the republic ceremonies, Tarar said that Ataturk's leadership guided the Muslims to independence not only in Turkey but also in south Asia. He stressed that the two countries have always supported one another on such issues as Cyprus and Kashmir, and that the Afghanistan problem would not be able to shake bilateral relations.

ULKEDE GUNDEM quits

ZAMAN reported that [pro-Kurdish] daily ULKEDE GUNDEM went out of business for good 15 months after it hit the newsstands. The daily's editor-in-chief Yurdasev Ozsekmenler said that the Istanbul State Security Court's order suspending the daily for one month constituted a clear case of press censorship. MILLIYET reported that three TV channels, Kanal D, Star and Show, will suspend their broadcasts for three minutes on the night of Oct. 31 to protest the Supreme Radio-TV Board (RTUK) practice of suspending the programs of errant TV channels rather than merely making them pay fines.

Ozden calls for special courts

YENI SAFAK reported that Yekta Gungor Ozden, former chief justice of the Constitutional Court, said at a meeting organized by Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University, that fundamentalists, Kurdists and communists had joined hands to destroy the republic. He said that, to prevent that, special courts with wide powers could be set up should that be needed.

Vice squad chief caught with call girl

MILLIYET reported that Chief Superintendent Nejdet Tasdemir has been suspended as the chief of the Icel province's vice squad after being caught at a hotel with a 20-year-old Romanian girl.

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