Markar Esayan- Finale in Ergenekon

Today, the final ruling will be issued in the Ergenekon trial, the first and most important deep state and coup investigation that began five years ago in Turkey.

Perhaps, the most important step to get rid of the deep state during the process that started with the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) coming to power in 2002 is the opening of this case. The Ergenekon operations were initiated in June 2007; that year was pretty important. Hrant Dink, after a campaign of demonization to undermine his prestige and image, was assassinated on Jan. 19. In May, three Christian missionaries were brutally murdered in Malatya.

The murder of Father Andrea Santoro in 2006 was also committed by a boy who was under 18. Even a superficial look at the perpetrators of these murders would reveal that all these acts were controlled by a center. The deep state changed its tactic and used boys as executioners; in this way, it became extremely difficult to identify the command center.

A group of brave prosecutors, led by Zekeriya Öz, decided to investigate the Ergenekon murders. Interestingly, after the initiation of this investigation, no other murders were committed. This was a sign indicating that the murders were administered by the same center.

In a visit to Turkey, Felice Casson, a prosecutor who investigated the Clean Hands case in Italy, said: “The deep state is like a dragon. Once you’ve got it, you have to destroy it. Otherwise, it will become more brutal.”

The Susurluk gang, which was revealed in 1996, was part of the Ergenekon organization. However, because it was not adequately dealt with and its acts of terror were not sufficiently addressed, Necmettin Erbakan, then-prime minister, was deposed in a coup. It is of course not clear to expect that a weak coalition government would deal with the Ergenekon mindset back then. However, the AK Party, which came to power in 2002, was the party of religious groups targeted by the Feb. 28, 1997 coup, and it was experienced on this matter. For this reason, it lent the necessary support to the prosecutors. The murders and massacres I refer to above were planned to topple the AK Party government. I am not saying this. The prosecutors of the Ergenekon, Hrant Dink, Balyoz and the Sept. 12, 1980 coup cases are.

Naturally, those who did not want change in the state have been opposed to these operations and coup cases. They have relied on manipulative actions to undermine the image and prestige of the cases, the prosecutors and the judges. However, the majority of the people in Turkey were aware of the significance of these cases. The public were not influenced by these campaigns.

The Ergenekon and Balyoz coup cases are now almost over. The time that passed since the initiation of the investigation should not be seen as long for such crucial cases. The long periods of detention are causing problems; I agree with that. It may not be necessary to hold many of the defendants under detention during the trials. I do not want to make any further comments because it is a technical issue. However, there is an application on Balyoz dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which confirmed that the procedure followed in these cases is legal and proper.

Turkey’s deep state is based on the coup staged by the Committee of Union and Progress against liberals in 1913. It has a serious tradition and infrastructure. It would be naive to think that the deep state will be destroyed by these cases alone. What matters is to create a transparent state structure. This is possible only if we transform the state to make pro-freedom laws. To do this, the state administration should be decentralized and the local administrations empowered. We will make huge progress if we also create a strong and independent judiciary.

Today’s Zaman, 04 August 2013

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