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The Turkish coup plot

Len Colby

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Was it a genuine plot to overthrow the government or a plot by the government to crack down on its political opponents? I don't know enough to come to a conclusion and was hoping for commentary from better informed members.


Cigdem, sorry to put you on the spot but since I lost touch with a college dorm mate upon graduation decades ago you the only Turk I have any contact with.


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Hi Len

Thank you for bringing up the subject. No need to apologize. I dont mind being under the spolight.

The thing is noone in Turkey is sure about the said coup organization and its objectives. As you noted, some say

it's a group that was planning to overthrow the government, and some say it's a conspiracy designed by the government to silence its opponents.

The organization is known by the name Ergenekon (based on a Turkish myth from the time when the Turks were Shamans). The name was written on one of the files the police discovered in a house along with 27 grenades on June 12, 2007. In light of the the information obtained from the files, the police started to investigate the names that appeared in them. As far as I know, most of the people whose names were in the files (including writers, retired military men, journalists etc)have been arrested and now they're charged with establishing an organization to commit crimes in order to cause chaos by provocation, therefore, carry out a coup. One of those crimes which is attributed to the Ergenekon group is the court killing on 16 May, 2006, where a young lawyer fired shots at judges, killing one of them. The sad thing is I personally knew the victim and the ones wounded. Judge Yücel Özbilgin and my mother, who is also a judge,worked together for years. Had my mother not been retired in 2001, she would probably have been in the same courtroom, where the attack took place.

My personal opinion is that Ergenekon is indeed an organization formed to overthrow the government.

Although I strongly object to and even detest the current government and its policies, it's an elected government and in democracy, however hard it may be, we should all learn to accept the majority's choice and try to find democratic and decent ways to get rid of it.

As a side note, the current government got 47% of the votes in the last election, which was a result of the left wing parties' inability to join the forces and enter the election as one party.

Edited by Cigdem Eksi
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Thanks for your reply, my impression was given a choice between right-wing nationalists and Islamists I’d choose “none of the above”. However since the latter we’re elected and don’t seems to be subverting the democratic process they are the legitimate government until voted out.

What can you tell us about some the people arrested?

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On 16 June, 2007 a retired army member was arrested because his fingerprints

had been found on the grenades discovered in a house by the police along with

many documents. After that, forty-six people including a famous journalist, a retired

general, the leader of a political party, a mafia boss, a retired rector and the spokesperson

of the Patriarchate were taken into custody.

In the indictment, it is claimed that the members of Ergenekon were powerful public figures

who had easy access to money and arms. It is also claimed that these members encourage

people to join the organization. Especially those who had a tendency to commit crimes and/or

people who already had criminal records.

The founders of the organization, Veli Küçük (the general), Doğu Perinçek (the leader of labor party),

Sevgi Erenerol (the spokesperson), İlhan Selçuk (the journalist), Kemal Alemdaroğlu (the rector) and

Fikri Karadağ (the head of a nationalist group) are to stand trial.

It seems to be a very powerful organization who have members from the military, the media, the NGOs

and of course the mafia. Along with many provocative activities, Ergenekon is also claimed to have been

responsible for the bombing of the Cumhuriyet building, which is a newspaper owned by İlhan Selçuk (one of

the founders of the Ergenekon group).

Edited by Cigdem Eksi
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