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Cablegate: Turkey: More Arrested in Ergenekon Investigation;

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DE RUEHAK #1701/01 2681541
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241541Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7546
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// PRIORITY
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001701

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2018
TAGS: PGOV PINS PHUM TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: MORE ARRESTED IN ERGENEKON INVESTIGATION;
ALLEGED NETWORK MAPPED OUT

REF: A. ISTANBUL 505
B. ISTANBUL 499
C. ANKARA 1217

Classified By: DCM Doug Silliman for reason 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) Summary: As many as 17 more suspects were detained
on September 23 in the latest round of police action in the
investigation of the alleged anti-government Ergenekon
organization. Detainees included a former Istanbul district
mayor, a former senior police official, a prominent
journalist, and a retired Army prosecutor. A chart
portraying an elaborate organization of the alleged network
prepared by the prosecutor was leaked to the press. A
retired military attorney told us that extreme political
frustrations of Kemalist "patriots" since the ascendency of
the AK Party make the Ergenekon network plausible, but the
prosecution must address the defense's likely challenge on
the legality of how it obtained its evidence. Retired
General Riza Kucukoglu acknowledged that there was probably
to some of the cases and said the military does not support
any entities that might undermine its chain of command. As
the waves of arrests continue in the Ergenekon case, the
secular media will increasingly pressure the government to
present solid evidence against suspects already indicted, and
to indict those who remain in detention without charges.
Court hearings in the case are scheduled to begin October 20
in Istanbul. End Summary

MORE ARRESTS
------------

2. (U) According to inconsistent press reports, the eighth
and latest wave of detentions included Gurbuz Capan, former
mayor of Istanbul's Esenyurt district; Adil Serdar Sacan,
senior police official and founder of the Istanbul police
organized crime unit; Tuncay Ozkan, founder of Kanalturk TV
and outspoken critic of the AKP; and Tanju Guvendiren, a
retired Army colonel who was a prosecutor for the State
Security Court and a member of the Military Court of Appeals.
Sacan was reportedly charged with hushing up the Ergenekon
investigation and destroying evidence. Retired Col.
Guvendiren was charged with blocking legal suits and
blackmailing a former State Security Court prosecutor.
Tuncay Ozkan and his group allegedly represent Ergenekon's
media wing. A total of about 150 people have reportedly been
taken into custody in connection with the investigation.

3. (U) Retired four-star Army General Sener Eruygur,
imprisoned since July 1, 2008, was released by the court on
health grounds September 22 after he reportedly suffered a
cerebral hemorrhage while in custody. According to press
reports, General Eruygar fell down a flight of stairs,
incurring a head injury which caused the brain hemorrhage.
On July 23 he was reported to be in critical condition in an
Istanbul hospital. The court barred his travel outside of
Turkey.

ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
--------------------

4. (U) The prosecutor conducting the Ergenekon investigation
mapped out and submitted to the court what he believed is the
organizational structure of the clandestine network. The
prosecutor's chart, published by the mainstream Sabah
newspaper on September 21, lays out the alleged roles of a
number of the suspects in the case. According to the chart,
the military-like units in the organization include:
intelligence, operations, finance, "intra-organization
research," and "theory design and planning." The number two
person in the organization is alleged to be Fikret Emek, a
retired Special Forces major and currently under arrest.

5. (U) In addition to the alleged Ergenekon command
structure, the prosecutor's chart shows five organized
suicide teams, which allegedly report to retired military
officers Major General Veli Kucuk and Army Captain Muzaffer
Tekin who were arrested in January. Kucuk and Tekin are
portrayed in media accounts as facilitating communication
between civilian and military members of the organization.

"ERGENEKON PLAUSIBLE, BUT INVESTIGATION POLITICAL"
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (C) The political frustrations faced by secular Kemalists

"patriots" since the ascendency of the governing AK Party to
power in 2002 make a criminal network such as Ergenekon
plausible, according the Center for Eurasian Strategic
Studies (ASAM) International Law Advisor and former military
lawyer Sadi Cayci. Reserving judgment on the merit of
specific charges, Cayci outlined a scenario in which the
threat to the secular Turkish state from political Islam as
perceived by a number of secular nationalists is such that
the objective of defeating this threat justifies extralegal
means in their minds. Unlike the two decades following the
1980 military coup in which secularism predominated, he said,
the secular-military establishment is clearly seen today to
be in the back-seat, while the AKP and Gulenists are the
leading elements of current domestic politics. The
degeneration of Kemal Ataturk's party, the opposition CHP,
has left the secularists no legitimate political voice and
little choice but to seek other means to defend the state.

7. (C) According to Cayci, in court the defense will almost
certainly question the prosecution's method's of obtaining
evidence. However, Cayci and other critics of the AKP
maintain that the government is less interested in
convictions per se than it is with intimidating its most
potent foes. In Cayci's view, while the existence of
Ergenekon may be plausible, the investigative process has
clear political motives intended to threaten the governing
party's Kemalist opponents. Others speculate that the
stepped-up intensity of arrests may also be designed distract
from the on-going Deniz Feneri dispute in which Prime
Minister Erdogan has been linked to illicit financial
transfers. CHP MP Ceytin Soyal was adamant to us that
Ergenekon was being used as a smokescreen.


8. (C) Riza Kucukoglu, a retired two-star general heading the
Retired Officers Association and long-time friend of Turkish
General Staff (TGS) Chief General Basbug, acknowledged that
there was probably substance to at least some of the cases
against Ergenekon defendants. He said that the military
would not support any entities which might undermine its
chain of command, would support transparent investigations
and, if supported by objective evidence, prosecutions.
Referring to the visit of Lieutenant General Galip Mendi to
the two imprisoned retired four-star generals on September 2,
Kucukoglu said the military was trying to show loyalty to two
senior officers who had given decades of service to the
country. He noted that Mendi did not visit Kucuk, who was
also held at the same prison. Kucukoglu explained that TGS
was making a distinction between those who had been charged
and those who had not. In so doing, argues Kucukoglu, TGS is
sending a signal to the government that it could not
indefinitely detain individuals without pressing charges.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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