I am expecting an apology from MIT

I am expecting an apology from MIT

This article will perhaps be a first in the history of the state. I, Ertuğrul Özkök, citizen of the Republic of Turkey, am expecting an apology from the National Intelligence Organization, or MIT, before the public. I didn’t file a case against the MIT. Because I believe it is one of our establishments that we have to protect very carefully. But such an institution that survives through taxes we pay owes me and some of my friends an apology. I don’t know if my friends expect it. I will give their names here: Dinç Bilgin, Enis Berberoğlu, Bekir Coşkun, Hüseyin Gülerce, and Selahattin Sadıkoğlu. MIT should apologize to us.

About one and a half years ago, daily Hürriyet’s Ankara Representative Enis Berberoğlu received information.

It was said that a “document” was submitted to the United States embassy in Ankara that a military coup would be staged so the ambassador informed the General Staff. If I am not mistaken, the Hürriyet Ankara office asked the Chief of General Staff of the period, Gen. Hilmi Özkök about this information. U.S. Ambassador at the time, Eric Edelmann, made a statement the other day that they examined the said document and decided that it was not original.

This has become the first solid development proving claims that some fake documents are leaked here and there as part of the ongoing Ergenekon crime gang case. That has triggered an emotion which has hurt me for a long time. 

One and a half years ago daily Taraf made a news headline based on side information. According to this, the editor-in-chief of a big newspaper and its Ankara representative are involved in the Ergenekon gang.

As the “big newspaper” is uttered in Turkey, people automatically know which it is. So, all eyes were on me and Berberoğlu. In fact the Ergenekon gang scheme was leaked into all newspapers. It was a handwritten sketch prepared by Tuncay Güney. “Number One” was Dinç Bilgin.

Berberoğlu was working for daily Sabah then, and Bekir Coşkun were the second and third. Other names on the list were daily Zaman columnist Hüseyin Gülerce, who is very close to Fethullah Gülen, former editor-in-chief of daily Yeni Şafak, Selahattin Sadıkoğlu, and me. The chart, together with a CD-ROM, was transferred to MIT. After keeping it for two years, MIT sent a copy to Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan and another one to the General Staff.

As they do so, no one asked in the establishment how could a diagram prepared by a person who doesn’t even know which newspapers Coşkun and Berberoğlu worked for be taken seriously? Moreover, no one was curious about how these people could work side by side in the very same gang.

As the Ergenekon case was launched later on, the Prime Ministry sent the copy to the Office of Chief Prosecutor in Istanbul and it was appended in the dossier. MIT Undersecretary of the term, Şenkal Atasagun, announced that the document was nonsense. But I’ve not run across him, so I couldn’t ask “if this is nonsense why did you serve it?”

On top, MIT examined video cassettes of Güney and revealed that some names were forcefully included after being tortured by several police chiefs. But the “document” is still being kept in the Ergenekon dossier. If you type “Ertuğrul Özkök-Ergenekon” into a Google search you see approximately 400,000 search items listed.

And most probably prosecutors have permission to wiretap our phones after seeing the said chart. They have turned our lives upside down. Daily Taraf did not publish even a single line for correction or disclaimer.

I read an article by Serpil Çevikcan of daily Milliyet the other day about new initiatives the new MIT director will launch. If the new director is ready to start a new period in the “establishment,” he should start with our situation first. First of all, he should send a written statement to the Office of Prosecutor seeking the removal of the document from the file. Secondly, he should apologize to us for serving such “nonsense” diagrams because of which we were stained.

Look around to see many fake documents that make some people’s life miserable. I have tried my best not to hurt any state institution. And now state institutions do something not to hurt us furthermore. If we are heading towards a democratic Turkey, I expect such a revolutionary step from the intelligence organization.

If throwing the baby out with the bathwater is necessary in this country, then the state ought to learn the rules of etiquette. This is my letter of application to the establishment.

* Mr. Ertuğrul Özkök is a columnist for the daily Hürriyet in which this piece appeared Thursday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff