Cablegate: Ergenekon Indictment Finally Filed with Court
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHIT #0380/01 1961614
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141614Z JUL 08 ZUI ZDK RUEHCB 9485 1971142
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8319
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8320
RUETITH/TLO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 000380
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL TU
SUBJECT: ERGENEKON INDICTMENT FINALLY FILED WITH COURT
REF: A. ANKARA 1217
B. ANKARA 1194
C. ANKARA 1170
ISTANBUL 00000380 001.2 OF 002
1. Summary. Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin
announced today that his office has submitted the so-called
"Ergenekon Indictment" to Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 13.
He said 86 suspects have been charged, 48 of whom are
currently in custody. Engin also announced that 36 of the
people who were detained and released during the
investigation will not be prosecuted. Although the court has
15 days in which to decide whether to accept the indictment
as legally sufficient, observers are certain that the court
will do so. End Summary.
Wide-Ranging Crimes Alleged
2. The suspects are charged with violating the Constitution
(Turkish Penal Code 309/1); acquiring information on state
security (TPC 327/1); recording personal information (TPC
135/1); provoking the public to hatred and animosity
(TPC 216/1); qualified damage to property (152/2a);
possessing explosive material (174/3); armed revolt against
the GOT (TPC 313/1); prevention of the exercise of political
rights TPC 114/2); establishing an organization for
committing a crime (TPC 220/1-8); and provoking military
disobedience (Military Penal Code 319/1). Among the predicate
acts contained in the indictment, according to Engin, are the
murder of a Danistay (high court) judge in 2006 and the
recent bombing outside the Istanbul headquarters of
Cumhuriyet, the leading secular-Kemalist newspaper (Ref B).
The prosecution is demanding sentences of 27 to 61 years.
3. Although Engin did not claim that the defendants have
been charged with any terrorism-related crimes, he did say
that the indictment accused them of being members of a
terrorist organization. Engin explained that the term
"terrorist organization" should be read in the context of
Article 1 of Anti-Terror Law no. 3713 ("Terrorism is any kind
of act done by one or more persons belonging to an
organization with the aim of changing the characteristics of
the Republic as specified in the Constitution, its political,
legal, social, secular and economic system, damaging the
indivisible unity of the State ..."). While this accusation
undoubtedly is intended to advance some strategic trial goal,
its relevance to the case is not yet clear.
4. The court has 15 days in which to accept the indictment.
The indictment will remain under seal until it has been
accepted. While it is theoretically possible that the court
will reject the indictment as insufficient, the court is
generally expected to accept the case.
Further Charges to Follow?
5. The prosecutor also said that issues related to the Ornek
"coup diaries" (Ref C) are not included in the indictment.
Sources indicate that this implies that the former First Army
Commander Hursit Tolon and Former Jandarma Commander Sener
Eruygur, Ataturk Thought Association Chairman Sinan Aygun,
and others of those arrested after the July 1 operations, are
not named in this indictment. It is rumored that there will
be a "supplementary indictment" for them.
6. Reacting to previously published criticism that the
indictment was filed with a months-long delay after the first
suspects were jailed, Engin noted that the indictment
comprises 2455 pages, charges scores of people, and follows
an extensive investigation that included the examination of
hundreds of thousands of pages of documents (a more modest
estimate that the six million page claim noted in Ref A.)
7. Reactions from the media and political figures were, not
unexpectedly, mixed. Mustafa Karaalioglu, editor-in-chief of
ISTANBUL 00000380 002.3 OF 002
the pro-government Star newspaper, said in an interview with
NTV that the indictment showed how serious the "Ergenekon"
threat had been. "Obviously, this is an unprecedented case,
so it's important and special." Meanwhile main stream,
anti-government Vatan editor in chief Rusen Cakir claimed the
indictment when unsealed would not meet expectations. "The
bar was set too high by the press prior to the indictment."
Cakir also said that he would look to see whether incumbent
military officers were included in the indictment.
8. Ozdemir Ozok, President of the Turkish Bar Association,
criticized the prosecutor for not acting "within legal
limits" and for making an announcement before the indictment
has been accepted by the court. He also said the
prosecutor's statements raised doubts about how confident he
felt about the indictment. "It is very wrong that he tried to
bring a new definition to terror. Terror is terror, and his
attempt shows that he is not convinced," he said.
9. AKP Parliamentary Group Vice Chairman Bekir Bozdag denied
allegations the AKP government was involved in the
investigation process. "This is an investigation that the
prosecutors are carrying out independently." CHP
Parliamentary Group Vice Chairman Hakki Suha Okay criticized
the indictment's alleged link to the Danistay killing.
"There's already a case going on in Ankara on the Danistay
incident. If they had evidence of a link, why didn't they
give this to the court in Ankara?" CHP Vice Chair Mustafa
Ozyurek sarcastically observed, "The mountain gave birth to a