Gladio mentioned in US press .. well, sort of
Jean-Pierre Gorin and the art of the essay film at the PFA.
By Kelly Vance
January 21, 2009
French intellectuals -- what would we do without them? They make life interesting by making things complicated. An ordinary filmmaker/educator might bring a package of his or her favorite films to the Pacific Film Archive, all wrapped up with a harmless rubric of some sort . "Modern Times," for instance, or "Orphans of the Storm" . and introduce one or two of them with a funny anecdote about what the movie in question, or the director, or the subject, means to him or her personally. And audiences would go away thinking what a swell fellow that is. Something along those lines.
But not Jean-Pierre Gorin. The UC San Diego film prof, who studied in Paris with Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault, wrote criticism at Le Monde, collaborated on movies with Jean-Luc Godard, and moved to San Diego in the late '70s to teach and make films about Southern California . he's still there, doing that . does indeed have his own series of favorite films. He calls it "The Way of the Termite." Originally organized by the Austrian Film Museum, the series is now poised to play the Pacific Film Archive in ten programs, beginning Thursday, January 22. Gorin will give three lectures following screenings as part of a residency at the PFA.
Subtitled "The Essay in Cinema," Gorin's group of nine features and as many shorts aims to challenge the ostensibly passive viewer, to set up a row of hurdles . not least of which is to locate the unifying thread that links, say, Luis Buñuel's arch "documentary" about Spain's poorest region with a BBC-TV exposé of international terrorism by CIA debunker Allan Francovich.
Gorin had the good fortune to teach at UC San Diego with Manny Farber, the monumentally influential critic and painter (1917-2008) whose book Negative Space, aka Movies, is one of the true indispensables of film writing. It was Farber's 1962 piece "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" that evidently inspired his colleague Gorin to throw a net of meaning over the eighteen cinematic "essays" in the current series. In the book, Farber argued against the "square, boxed-in shape and gemlike inertia of an old, densely wrought European masterpiece" in films and paintings, and in favor of works that "seem to have no ambitions towards gilt culture but are involved in a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor," a "termite-tapeworm-fungus-moss art that ... goes always forward eating its own boundaries, and, likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than the signs of eager, industrious, unkempt activity."
For Farber, the ideal cinematic "termite artists" included Laurel and Hardy, John Wayne (in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), Howard Hawks, and Akira Kurosawa, especially the latter's Ikiru. The "white elephant" gang, on the other hand, always needed "to overfamiliarize the audience with the picture it's watching," a tactic that "serves to reconcile these supposed longtime enemies . academic and Madison Avenue art." He cites François Truffaut, Tony Richardson, and Michelangelo Antonioni as particularly egregious early-'60s offenders, artists united, surprisingly, by fear . "a fear of the potential life, rudeness, and outrageousness of a film." Extrapolating Farber's analysis to the recent movie crop, we could point to Frost/Nixon, Valkyrie, and Defiance as white elephants supreme. The termites? Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler and Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky . in that film, actor Sally Hawkins never stops chewing on her characters' boundaries.
Gorin claims that the "unruly" version of the essay film on display in his collection "flirts with genres" but "attaches itself to none" in true Gerber termite fashion. Nevertheless, it's no accident that almost all of the films in the series are straightforward documentaries, doctored docs, or faux docs . the only possible exception being Filipino writer-director Kidlat Tahimik's staged re-creation of his own life story, Perfumed Nightmare.
After opening this Thursday, January 22 (7:30 p.m.) with Chris Marker's Sans Soleil (1982), a typically oblique Marker meditation on Japan, San Francisco, Africa, and the space between (Farber would call it "negative space"), Gorin zings all over the map like a termite on deadline. Argentina in the late '50s (Fernando Birri's Tire dié) gives way to a D.W. Griffith editorial on unbridled capitalism (A Corner in Wheat, 1909); Buñuel's proto-surrealistic portrait of utter desolation, Land Without Bread (1937); and Jorge Furtado's 1990 examination of the Brazilian underclass, Isle of Flowers. From there, it's a short hop to the USSR for Dziga Vertov's wondrous The Man with a Movie Camera, a 1929 exercise in rat-a-tat-tat montage that somehow never loses its power to invigorate. Gorin and Godard admired Dziga Vertov so much they appropriated his name for their late-'60s collective, which produced at least five films, all brimming with leftist revolutionary zeal and stylistic abandon.
Whether Godard and Gorin's Letter to Jane: An Investigation of a Still qualifies as termitic or suffers from "movement" elephantiasis is a question for another day, but that 1972 short feature remains one of the era's most provocative political pieces. Movie star Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam during the "American War," thus crossing the line between Hollywood and real life. She's still defending herself over that. Gorin will explain it all in a lecture accompanying the January 31 screening.
One of the most absorbing docs in the series is Gladio, a three-part BBC public affairs mini-series in which investigative telejournalist and professional gadfly Francovich convincingly connects the dots of a frighteningly multifaceted plot by the CIA to stop the rise of communism in post-WWII Europe at all costs. Those costs included deadly terrorism made to look like the work of leftists, US military high jinks in Italy and Belgium, and massive amounts of disinformation, all paid for by the US and carried out by a shadowy "parallel army" of rightwing ops (SS "stay-behinds," Fascist aristocrats, etc.). Francovich (1941-1997), maker of The Maltese Double-Cross, is the epitome of termitic diligence in his efforts to discredit US militarism. No wonder Gorin cottons to him.
But perhaps the best examples of Farber's boundary-destroying energy are a pair of docs from Iran. The House Is Black by Forough Farrokhzad (1963) tours a leper colony in Tabriz with roughly the same dispassionate lack of overfamiliarization as Buñuel showed for the benighted residents of Las Hurdes. Moslem Mansouri's Trial (2002) welcomes us to a dusty village near Tehran where the inhabitants are so in love with moviemaking they risk jail time (the state bans unauthorized filming) just to produce, act in, and view their own homemade movies on their favorite subject: themselves. What could be more termitic than that? They screen together on February 17. BAMPFA.berkeley.edu
How Ergenekon evolved: the near past of a clandestine organization
ANKARA - Initial details about the Ergenekon terrorist organization were published by Can Dündar, a columnist from the Milliyet daily, and journalist Celal Kazdagli in the book "Ergenekon," published in 1997. Although Dündar denies the existence of the Ergenekon organization, Kazdagli argues that the history of this organization can be traced back to the early '90s.
Speaking to Today's Zaman, Kazdagli commented on the emergence of Ergenekon, saying: "Ergenekon, which is not defined as a state within the state or the "deep state,' is an entity set up by the CIA in all NATO-member countries in the aftermath of the Cold War. This was an American invention to fight against communism. The organization, which did not rely on domestic legislation, was referred to as Gladio in many NATO countries, but while measures were taken against this sort of organization in these countries, it remained influential in Turkey.
The Susurluk accident revealed the activities of this organization. Istanbul's Ziverbey Castle is where those who tried organizing the March 9, 1971 coup and the intellectuals supporting them were subjected to torture following a military memo released on March 12, 1971. Gen. Memduh Ãœnlütürk was the commander of the Ziverbey Castle. Those tortured there included Ilhan Selçuk from the Cumhuriyet daily. Ãœnlütürk was the first military officer to make mention of Ergenekon and provided brief details about its organization."
Kazdagli argues that the Susurluk accident was an excellent opportunity to deal with the Ergenekon investigation but that Turkey did not effectively capitalize on it. Noting that those who survived the initial measures against the organization took it to another dimension, Kazdagli also notes that it was no coincidence that the perpetrators of many murders committed after 1996 were all apprehended because of the "elimination of some parts of the organization" during this period.
"The first serious assassination attempt made in Turkey after Nov. 3, 1996 targeted Human Rights Association [IHD] President Akin Birdal.
The attackers, Bahri Eken and Kerem Deretarla, were detained shortly after the attack. The perpetrators of most of the criminal acts, including assault, murder and arson, were all apprehended. Suspects in an attack on the Council of State, the Hrant Dink assassination, the Father Santoro murder and the Malatya massacre were arrested shortly after the incidents took place. However, such acts and offenses used to remain unresolved before 1996. Retired Gen. Veli Küçük was the first to arrive at the scene so as to claim the body of Abdullah Çatli, who died in the car accident in Susurluk on Nov. 3, 1996." Kazdagli said.
Kazdagli doubts that Ergenekon might have deliberately been unveiled so that its leader could set up a different organizational structure. Kazdagli attributes this to the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) eagerness to distance itself from this organization, adding that leftist-nationalist circles are feeling close to the new entity. Noting that leftist parties expended much effort revealing the details of the Susurluk scandal because Çatli was known for his affiliation with the MHP, Kazdagli also said: "Leftist parties held that this illegal entity involved the nationalists alone. They are now opposed to the ongoing investigation because this illegal entity took a different shape and form after being named Ergenekon."
Traces of Feb. 28
Turkey has started questioning the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup now that the Ergenekon investigation is under way because it has become obvious that this organization played a determinative role in social upheavals prior to the Feb. 28 process, which started with allegations implying that the Welfare Party (RP)-True Path Party (DYP) coalition government was not competent in dealing with religious fundamentalism.
Official visits by then Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to Libya and Nigeria raised tension in relations between the government and the General Staff. Allegations were made indicating that military officers discharged from the army were employed in municipalities run by RP mayors. A fast-breaking dinner held with the participation of religious leaders and sheiks at the official residence of the prime minister, plans to build a mosque in Istanbul's Taksim Square and the re-conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque heralded a new era of fear.
A polemic between Istanbul's Mayor of Sultanbeyli Nabi Koçak and Gen. Dogu Silahçioglu, who asked for the erection of a statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the town, increased the tension. After retiring from the military, Silahçioglu began working for the Cumhuriyet daily as a columnist. In his last column before the initiation of the Ergenekon investigation, Silahçioglu argued that it was no longer possible to deal with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) while relying on democratic methods. Silahçioglu has not published any article in the paper since. High-ranking military officers convened in GÃ¶lcük on Jan. 22, 1997 to discuss whether religious fundamentalism had become influential in the country. Labor and business unions, professional organizations and trade associations began speaking out against the government. Women's organizations held rallies to protest Shariah and promote secularism. The General Staff started briefing members of the judiciary, university rectors and journalists on religious fundamentalism at its headquarters. The National Security Council (MGK) made a number of decisions in its meeting on Feb. 28, 1997, and presented them to Prime Minister Erbakan for approval. Erbakan was forced to sign the decisions.
Erbakan subsequently resigned, handing over the prime ministry to his coalition partner, Tansu Çiller. He presented the signatures of 270 deputies stating that they would vote for the suggested Cabinet to President Süleyman Demirel, who was expected to ask Çiller to form the Cabinet; however, surprisingly, he asked Motherland Party (ANAP, now ANAVATAN) leader Mesut Yilmaz to do so. The government formed by Yilmaz was unable to get a vote of confidence in Parliament. At this point, Demirel intervened in the process and asked his confidants in the DYP to resign and join the Party for a Democratic Turkey (DTP), founded by Hüsamettin Cindoruk, thereby forming an alternative coalition government.
Why is Cindoruk serving as an advocate of Ergenekon?
The reason that former Parliament Speaker Hüsamettin Cindoruk, who was removed from the political stage because of his role in the Feb. 28 process, now serves as an advocate of Ergenekon may be found in the works of the parliamentary commission set up to investigate unresolved murders. BingÃ¶l deputy Hüsamettin Korkutata, who served on the commission at the time, comments on Cindoruk's mission during this period: "The military commanders obstructed our work. We failed to get depositions from the military officers because they asked Parliament Speaker Cindoruk to block our work. We had noticed the traces of Ergenekon in our work back then. Some groups were committing offenses and the state was hiding their actions. All were aware that these groups were working in cooperation with PKK informants and that Veli Küçük held a crucial position in the organization. It has become evident that their only concern was money and material gain, rather than national sentiments. The commission members had to deal with obstructions by Chief of General Staff Gen. Dogan GüreÅŸ and other high-ranking military commanders. We wanted to hear from some military officers serving in the Special Warfare Unit in an attempt to get some information about the murder of SavaÅŸ Buldan. Cindoruk told us not to do this because the military was opposed to it."
The Western Study Group (BÇG) was another important entity that came out of the Feb. 28 process. The group was formed within the naval forces and assigned to collect information on fundamentalist tendencies and actors within the state. The military has always denied the existence of such an organization; however, a legal process was initiated after Cpl. Kadir Sarmusak leaked information to the police department. Sarmusak was acquitted by the military court, but the military judges serving on the panel that ruled for Sarmusak's acquittal were all discharged from the military.
Resolved murders still inspire unanswered questions
There haven't been any unresolved murders in Turkey since the assassination of scientist Necip Hablemitoglu. This implies that the perpetrators of murders since 2003 have either been identified or caught; however, there are also murders that have remained a mystery despite their perpetrators having been identified. These include the murders of Özdemir Sabanci, Hrant Dink and Father Andrea Santoro and the attack on the Zirve publishing house in Malatya.
Sabanci's murderer was identified at the last moment. He was murdered by Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) militants Mustafa Duyar, Ismail Akkol and Fehriye Erdal on Jan. 9, 1996.
Duyar turned himself in at the Turkish Embassy in Damascus on Jan. 6, 1997. Duyar, who confessed the details of how they committed the murder, said Erdal, an employee at the Sabanci Business Center, confused the rooms. Duyar also said: "The target was Sakip Sabanci. Because of the mix-up, Özdemir Sabanci and Haluk GÃ¶rgün were murdered." The murder was seemingly resolved; however, subsequent developments have inspired new questions that remain unanswered.
Duyar was murdered in prison by the men of Vedat and Nuri Ergin, also known as the Karagümrük gang, on Feb. 15, 1999. Erdal was seized in Belgium on Oct. 27, 1999; however, she was never extradited to Turkey. She is still at large, wanted by the Belgian authorities.
In a book titled "Code," Zihni Çakir argued that Sabanci's murder was organized by Abdullah Çatli, Hüseyin Kocadag and military officer Hüseyin Pepekal. The book also argues that Erdal and Duyar were both used by intelligence units.
Mystery surrounding Hrant Dink murder
The perpetrators of the murder of Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian descent, were apprehended shortly after the incident on Jan. 19, 2007. It quickly became evident that the murder was committed by Ogun Samast from Trabzon, but police informant Erhan Tuncel had warned security forces of the planned murder months before.
This murder, which was committed in Istanbul, also pointed to something happening in the city of Trabzon, where Father Santoro had been assassinated. First, military officers serving in the provincial military unit were removed from office. Regional Gendarmerie Commander Col. Ali Öz was reassigned to Bilecik. An investigation has only recently been launched into Ramazan Akyürek, chairman of the Trabzon Police Department's Intelligence Unit.
Öz spoke before the parliamentary Commission on Human Rights, where he expressed concern for his life, adding that he would not testify.
Prosecutors investigating the Dink murder demanded that the General Staff hand over the ongoing investigation into Öz; however, the General Staff did not comply with the request. Öz was later assigned to General Staff headquarters. CoÅŸkun Igci, uncle by marriage of Yasin Hayal, who incited Samast to commit the murder, reportedly notified gendarmerie Sgt. VeyÅŸel Å?ahin of the murder beforehand; however, Col. Öz recommended that Igci not discuss such topics. As the arguments suggesting that intelligence about the murder was deliberately overlooked have become stronger, inquiries have been made to reveal Öz's past.
Col. Öz was allegedly involved in the Ulucanlar Prison operation, which occurred when he was serving under Ankara Provincial Gendarmerie Commander Col. Kemal Bayalan. Ten inmates were killed during the operation in September 1999. Öz was the first to arrive at the crime scene where Professor Ahmet Taner Kislali was murdered. These may be coincidences; however, Turkey's recent past suggests that this sort of coincidence is unlikely.
Standard operation .. CIA MI6 MOSSAD undercover clandestine false flag bombings
The report prepared by the Prime Ministry Inspection Board with regard to the Dink murder stressed that there were many vague points requiring clarification and that public authorities had made grave mistakes. For this reason, permission for a thorough investigation into Akyürek has been granted.
The brutal incident in which Necati Aydin, Tilmann Geske and Ugur Yüksel were brutally murdered in Malatya was seemingly resolved. Even though the perpetrators have been apprehended, further investigation has revealed that there are still ambiguities in the case and that there may have been other actors involved.
Saglar: There are 17,547 unresolved murders
Fikri Saglar, a member of the parliamentary commission set up to investigate the Susurluk incident, which revealed connections and cooperation between the police, politicians and criminal gangs, argues that there are 17,547 unresolved murders in Turkey. Noting that members of parliamentary commissions investigating these murders have had to deal with many obstacles, Saglar also said, "Three of my friends who were trying to shed light on these murders were killed."
Stressing that the work of these commissions was obstructed by an "invisible hand," Saglar says illegal entities within the state were responsible for most of these murders. Emphasizing that the Gladio-like organization founded in Turkey during the Cold War era was the major actor in a number of unresolved murders and social disturbances, Saglar argues that while most NATO countries got rid of their Gladios, Turkey failed to follow the same path.
Noting that these commissions have prepared excellent reports resolving the plots staged by shadowy actors in Turkey but that the political administrations have failed to implement their recommendations, Saglar says the Ergenekon investigation is Turkey's last chance to purge the state of illegal entities. "If the report prepared by the Susurluk commission and those written up by the parliamentary commission for unresolved murders had been considered by the prosecutors and the political administrations, maybe we would not be talking about Ergenekon today. For this reason, the prosecutors in the Ergenekon case should carefully review these two reports. Both reports have clues and information about the deep state. If these clues are traced, the illegal entities within the state may be effectively eliminated. If we do not use this chance, we will come back to the same point 10 years later," he explains.
By ERCAN YAVUZ ANKARA
HERE A MAINSTREAM ARTICLE THAT CAREFULLY AVOID THE HARD TRUTHS
27 Jan 2009
Turkey: 'Deep State' conspiracy
The Ergenekon investigation deepens distrust between the Turkish military and the country's police force, as the ruling AKP suspects the 'Deep State' of trying to undermine it in the name of secularism, Gareth Jenkins writes for ISN Security Watch.
By Gareth Jenkins in Istanbul for ISN Security Watch
Turkish anti-terrorism police on 22 January detained 37 people in simultaneous pre-dawn raids in 16 of the country's 81 provinces as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged covert organization known as "Ergenekon."
The operation was the 11th in a series of coordinated early morning raids over the last 18 months in which over 200 people have been detained and more than 120 formally arrested on charges of belonging to the Ergenekon "armed terrorist organization."
Those currently being held on charges of belonging to Ergenekon include retired high-ranking members of the Turkish military, academics, writers, journalists, businessmen, lawyers and medical personnel. Although a few have a background in covert activities, the only common denominator linking all of them is that they are outspoken opponents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has described the Ergenekon case as being similar to the Mani Pulite or "Clean Hands" judicial investigation in Italy in the 1990s to purge the state of corrupt elements. Pro-AKP elements in the media have characterized it as a final settling of accounts with the network of covert operatives within the security apparatus known in Turkish as the Derin Devlet or "Deep State."
However, the government's political opponents, particularly the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), have dismissed "Ergenekon" as a fabrication created by the AKP as an instrument with which to harass, intimidate and incarcerate its secularist opponents; and discredit the Turkish military, which has long been regarded by both its supporters and opponents as the ultimate guardian of the traditional interpretation of secularism in Turkey.
The Turkish 'Deep State'
The Turkish "Deep State" has its origins in the Gladio-style networks established in NATO countries during the 1950s in order to create the nucleus for resistance forces in the event of a Soviet occupation.
In Turkey, the core of the "Deep State" was a department in the Turkish military known as the Ozel Harp Dairesi or "Special Warfare Unit," to which selected members of the officer corps were seconded for specialized training in covert warfare; after which they returned to their units and combined their new clandestine responsibilities with an ostensibly normal military career.
The primary focus of their covert activities was on intelligence gathering against ideological threats, which initially primarily meant communism. However, there is evidence to suggest that some "Deep State" officers also occasionally became operationally active; particularly during the violent clashes between leftist and rightist groups in Turkey in the 1970s in which around 5,000 people are believed to have died.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the focus of "Deep State" activities shifted to the growing threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which in 1984 had launched a violent campaign for independence for Turkey's ethnic Kurds.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, "Deep State" operatives active in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey not only expanded their intelligence-gathering networks but formed small, self-contained groups to conduct covert operations against suspected PKK supporters and sympathizers; including intimidation, torture and assassination. The criteria for enlistment in what often effectively became death squads were ruthlessly utilitarian. Recruits included large numbers of turncoat former PKK militants, commonly referred to as itirafcilar or "confessors," and Turkish ultranationalist members of the criminal underworld.
The activities of the different groups were never centrally controlled or coordinated. Indeed, the authorities tended to adopt a policy of willful ignorance, endowing the groups not only with de facto judicial immunity but also with almost complete operational autonomy. No reliable figures are available for the number of people who were killed by the groups, although it is conservatively estimated to have been several thousand and may have been many more.
By the late 1990s, with the PKK in retreat on the battlefield, the always diffuse agglomeration of covert groups began to fragment further. Many of the groups disbanded. Others turned full-time to criminal activities such as extortion and narcotics trafficking. Although some remained in touch with members of the security apparatus, the contacts tended to be personal rather than institutional. There were even turf wars as rival groups fought and killed each other.
Today, although military intelligence continues to target perceived ideological threats to the Turkish regime - whether from Islamism or Kurdish nationalism - the focus of "special warfare" training has shifted to conventional anti-guerilla warfare rather than the destabilization of an alien regime.
The AKP and secular discontents
The victory of the AKP in the general election of November 2002 came as a shock to many Turkish secularists. Most of the AKP's leaders, including Erdogan, had begun their political careers in parties committed to the abolition of secularism and the creation of an Islamic state. Few hard-line secularists trusted their protestations that they had now abandoned the radicalism of their youth, and the months following the AKP's victory were characterized by lengthy debates about what could be done to protect secularism.
Yet the discontents remained disparate. There was no attempt to translate their concerns into concerted action. Indeed, when one high-ranking military commander attempted to persuade his colleagues that they should stage a coup, they swiftly quashed the idea, arguing that it was not a solution.
Nevertheless, there were also concerns that frustration in the lower ranks could lead small groups of young officers to try to take matters into their own hands; not by attempting to stage a coup but by stockpiling weapons and carrying out a bombing or an assassination against the AKP government.
However, the only concrete plan to stage a campaign of violence to destabilize the AKP government was formulated by a small group of retired covert operatives who had been active in southeast Turkey during the 1990s. Acting on their own initiative, they attempted to create a completely new group, recruiting a small number of other former covert operatives and hard-line secularist nationalists. It is unclear whether the group, which the Turkish media has dubbed "Ergenekon," carried out any attacks. If it did, they are likely to have been relatively small in number and in scale.
The existence of Ergenekon became public when police followed up on the discovery of a cache of 27 hand grenades in an Istanbul shantytown on 13 June 2007. The finding of the grenades and the subsequent arrest of retired members of the security forces was a gift for AKP supporters. The vast majority of Turkish Islamists are genuinely appalled by the bloodshed that is sometimes perpetrated in the name of Islam, and frequently try to distance their religion from violence by ascribing it to improbably complex conspiracy theories and false-flag "provocations" instigated by mysterious dark forces.
Unlike the still staunchly secularist Turkish military, in recent years there has been a rapid increase in the number of AKP sympathizers in the Turkish police force. Through late 2007 and 2008, as the number of those detained as part of the Ergenekon investigation continued to rise, the pro-AKP media gleefully quoted anonymous police sources as claiming that they had discovered evidence linking Ergenekon to almost every act of political violence in Turkey over the previous 20 years. They claimed that Ergenekon had effectively controlled not only the numerous violent indigenous Islamist groups but radical left-wing organizations and - perhaps most bizarrely - even the PKK
Suspicions that the Ergenekon investigation was becoming politicized were reinforced by the seemingly incongruent identities of many of those detained. For example, on 19 September 2008, the police detained one of Turkey's most famous actresses, a transsexual concert organizer, some military cadets and several alleged Turkish members of the transnational radical Islamist organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir - all on suspicion of being active members of Ergenekon.
Nor were the doubts assuaged by the opening of the trial of 86 suspected members of the organization on 20 October 2008. The 2,455-page indictment presented to the court included an extraordinary mixture of fact, fantasy, rumor, speculation and frequent self-contradiction, but no concrete evidence of Ergenekon's involvement in any acts of violence.
After a lull in late 2008, the waves of detentions resumed on 7 January this year, when 37 people were taken into custody in simultaneous pre-dawn police raids in 12 provinces. They included Professor Kemal Guruz, the former head of the Supreme Electoral Board which oversees university education in Turkey. Guruz had been an outspoken opponent of the AKP's attempts to lift the ban preventing women from wearing headscarves to university.
Other detainees included three retired high-ranking military commanders, all of whom had played a major role in forcing the government of the Islamist Welfare Party (RP), a predecessor of the AKP, from power in 1997. Police also spent five hours painstakingly searching the home of former Chief Public Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoglu, who had unsuccessfully filed a case for the closure of the AKP when it first came to power in 2002.
Although the pro-AKP media trumpeted the raids as another victory in the government's campaign against the Ergenekon terrorism organization, to most impartial observers they looked more like revenge.
On the evening of 7 January, Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug called a five-hour meeting of the military high command. The following day, Basbug demanded and was granted an emergency meeting with Erdogan. Although the contents of their 75-minute meeting have not been leaked to the media, Basbug is believed to have warned Erdogan against allowing government sympathizers to use the judicial process to pursue a vendetta against the military.
Over the next few days, Gurel and the retired military commanders were all released without charge. But the detention of serving members of the armed forces in the raids of 22 January suggested that the AKP sympathizers overseeing the Ergenekon investigation were still prepared to target military personnel; even if those detained were of relatively low rank.
From politicization to polarization
Both the police investigators and the pro-AKP media have tended to regard Ergenekon as being virtually synonymous with their pre-conceived notion of the "Deep State" and intent on destabilizing the AKP government. Indeed they see the group as anchors for a conspiracy theorist's template of a vast, centrally coordinated clandestine organization which includes virtually all of the AKP's most outspoken opponents. The paucity of hard evidence to support such a theory, and the many contradictions and absurdities in the indictment presented to the court in October 2008, have been ignored.
However, the manifest flaws in the Ergenekon investigation have enabled the AKP's political opponents to dismiss it all as politically motivated fabrication; including the handful of genuine plots to use violence against the government.
Perhaps more dangerously, the Ergenekon investigation has deepened the distrust between the Turkish military and the country's police force, which it now suspects of tapping its telephones and trying to undermine its public prestige as part of a power struggle over the future of secularism in Turkey.
The Ergenekon investigation has also exacerbated the already dangerous social polarization between the pro-AKP Islamists and Turkey's traditional secularist elite, and it has shaken the latter's trust in the forces of law and order.
"If the police can arrest the most important professor in the country, throw him in jail and accuse him of being a terrorist, what can they do to someone like me?" said a 51-year-old schoolteacher who asked not to be named.
Gareth Jenkins is a writer and analyst based in Istanbul and specializing in civil-military relations, political Islam and security issues. His is the author of Political Islam in Turkey: Running West, Heading East? (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
I don't think you are doing the public any favour by being even-handed and omitting the terrible crimes of the military murderers. There were many FALSE FLAG BOMBS. Why do you omit the false-flag atrocities? The anser is easy. You want to keep your job. No institution likes whistleblowers. If you would like to research the subject properly you can discover much much more. What do you make of the PETER POWER interview on BBC? What do you think of the MISSILE freudian slips? Need I tell you more? google U2R2H and keyword f your choice.
We are all the same people.