End of the story



The case against Ergenekon, a clandestine organization nested within the state trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government, was first perceived as an accident by the Kemalists of Turkey.

They thought that they could create public opposition to the case with support from the media, thereby weakening and eventually eliminating the judicial process. Then a series of coup plans and conspiracies spearheaded by the top brass in the military, were uncovered, making their efforts all the more difficult. So they opted to make the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) the target of their campaigns. Accordingly, they started to claim that the AK Party had launched a judicial process based on fabricated evidence in order to weaken the military and establish its own tutelary regime. In line with this reasoning they argued that this process of producing fabricated evidence was assumed by the Gülen community. Thus, they tried to promote that the Ergenekon network was in fact not paving the way for an eventual military takeover, but there are two groups fighting for power. They even hired some foreign columnists to prepare false reports on demand. Their propaganda really worked. A significant portion of secular groups in Turkey and possibly a majority of Western countries bought this propaganda without much investigation.
However, the findings were not restricted to only these. Draft plans prepared by the military, titled “anti-reactionaryism action plans,” which suggested the killing of people in order to manipulate the public, were also uncovered. Then the most critical component of the process resurfaced: It was found out that the First Army was preparing to overthrow the government in 2003 and to this end, it had held meetings under the guise of a seminar and called this the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) action plan. This plan suggested that Greece should be provoked to wage a war and the Turkish military should drop its own war planes and in this atmosphere, manipulative attacks should be targeted at religious groups. Efforts to weaken and discredit the judicial process grew all the more difficult but neo-nationalists did not give up. They concentrated their efforts on fighting the AK Party, claiming that the case was actually not a legal case but a politically motivated one. In this context, the daughter and son-in-law of the commander of the First Army exerted great efforts to influence the US intellectual scene.

In February, plans and instructions detailing what should be done in case of failure of the Sledgehammer action plan were unearthed. It was also found that ?lker Ba?bu?, who later became chief of General Staff, reported to the General Staff that illegal activities had been undertaken during the above-mentioned seminar. Eventually, even an expert report from the military prosecutor’s office openly stated that the Sledgehammer action plan was intended to overthrow the government.

None of the above had been as psychologically significant as what former Chief of General Staff Gen. I??k Ko?aner had said to a group of military officers during a closed meeting. In a voice recording posted on the Internet, which Ko?aner admitted as belonging to himself, he clearly confessed that the Sledgehammer action plan was a coup plan and the documents relating to it had been destroyed and kept outside of official documentation. But, what is significant in terms of debates about democracy in Turkey is that he did not complain about this. Thus, Ko?aner did not think it wrong to attempt to stage a coup but to allow the general public to be informed of their intention. Furthermore, he said that nothing would change even if laws are amended or reformed and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are here to protect the Kemalist republic, which is their “natural and historical” duty, and no one can say anything to the TSK about this, and that otherwise, this would mean self-denial by the TSK.

Thanks to this voice recording, we realize once again where the real axis of political conflict lies in Turkey. It is clear that the judicial system in Turkey lacks fully fledged democratic procedures and the right to a fair trial can be violated in various ways and there is still much room for improvement in judicial reforms. But these are not operations by the AK Party or the Gülen movement, but extensions of our ill heritage from the past. On the other hand, there was a coup process launched just after the AK Party won its first elections and the military continued to see it this as their natural and historical duty. In other words, for the time being, it is likely that some groups within the military are preparing similar coup plans.

The regime in Turkey is trying to get rid of its heritage of an authoritarian and tutelary character and this process is being conducted by a political party with Islamic sensitivities. This is because such a change can be performed only when the time is right and with the help of majority of people.

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