Government supported ‘Ergenekon’ case, says Turkey’s former military chief

Government supported ‘Ergenekon’ case, says Turkey’s former military chief

Çınar Oskay - ISTANBUL
Government supported ‘Ergenekon’ case, says Turkey’s former military chief

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government supported the “Ergenekon” coup plot case between 2007 and 2011, according to Turkey’s former military chief, İlker Başbuğ, who claimed the main actors behind the conspiracy were the sympathizers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. 

“The Gülen movement is the main actor that planned the conspiracies and brought them to life. But it is self-evident that the government supported these conspiracies, especially between 2007 and 2011,” Başbuğ told daily Hürriyet on April 24, before reciting then-prime minister President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments on the Gülen movement. 

“President Erdoğan has his own words. ‘What didn’t we give them that they have asked for?’ said Erdoğan,” Başbuğ said, referring to Erdoğan’s speech in 2013 about the Gülen movement, where he asked the Gülenists the aforementioned question after the relationship between the AKP and the Gülenists deteriorated. 

Turkey’s top court of appeals overturned convictions in the Ergenekon coup plot trial, considered one of the most significant legal battles in recent Turkish history which lasted nearly a decade, ruling that the “Ergenekon Terror Organization,” the target of the allegations, did not exist at all on April 21.

“I believe that some bodies of the [former U.S. President] George W. Bush administration helped [the conspiracy]. But I think the [U.S. President Barack] Obama administration is more distant and even against it after seeing the results of the weakening of the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK],” added Başbuğ. 

Saying that the Gülen movement was a closed organization and a threat of the top priority, Başbuğ stressed he would support the struggle against them regardless of the person putting it up. 

“I can tell you many things about the ones who planned this conspiracy and performed it. However, today I will only say that they are the most immoral people in the world in terms of pure law. I’m sure that everyone who was innocent and were made part of this conspiracy will be acquitted,” said Başbuğ. 

The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that the local court’s recognition of the “Ergenekon Terror Organization” was not felicitous because it was not known when and by whom the “Ergenekon Terror Organization” was established. “Its crimes and hierarchical structure were not exposed” and “its leader was not evident,” a senior judge said, while reading out the summary of the 231-page reasoned judgment at the final hearing of the appeal case on April 21.

The appeals court said the local court had failed to show “legal and actual links” between an armed attack at the Council of State and the Ergenekon case.       

Zekeriya Öz, the initiator of the Ergenekon case, is currently at large with an arrest warrant for Gülen links.
In April 2014, a Turkish court for the first time officially described the alleged Ergenekon network behind the attempt to topple the Turkish government as an “armed terrorist organization” accused of operating as a “deep state” within the TSK.