Zaman, 05 November 2009, Thursday
BETÜL AKKAYA DEMIRBAŞ İSTANBUL
New letter reveals top army brass involvement in plot – A second letter written by an unnamed military officer has come as strong evidence of the knowledge of top army officers about a notorious plan launched by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) against political parties, individuals and civilian groups in society.
A second letter written by an unnamed military officer has come as strong evidence of the knowledge of top army officers about a notorious plan launched by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) against political parties, individuals and civilian groups in society.
The letter mentioned TSK activities aimed at monitoring a large number of Turkish and foreign language Web sites and in this way categorizing visitors to those sites on the basis of their political and religious views. The letter was e-mailed to prosecutors conducting an ongoing probe into a criminal organization known as Ergenekon and a group of newspapers and journalists on Tuesday. It came approximately two weeks after a first letter, which pointed to the authenticity of a notorious action plan aimed at undermining the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gülen movement.
A second letter e-mailed to Ergenekon prosecutors by a military officer who wished to remain anonymous claimed that the armed forces established 42 separate Web sites to back its ‘black propaganda’ against civilian groups it termed ‘reactionary,’ ‘separatist’ and ‘pro-AK Party,’ but only four of those Web sites now remain .
According to the letter, the armed forces established 42 separate Web sites to back its psychological warfare against civilian groups it termed “reactionary,” “separatist,” “pro-AK Party” and “anti-TSK.” The TSK also monitored the activities of more than 400 Turkish and foreign language Web sites. In a document the officer attached to his letter, the plan against the Web sites was made at a Third Information Support Unit by colonels C. Gökçeoğlu, S. Özüer, İ. Göktaş, D. Çiçek, H. Gülbahar, O. Güçlü, Brig. Gen. M. Bakırcı and Lt. Gen. M. Eröz. The plan was coordinated by Lt. Gen. İ. H. Pekin, Vice Adm. M. Otuzbiroğlu, Brig. Gen. H. Çubuklu and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hasan Iğsız. The document bore the initials of all those army officers and bore a note next to the initials of Gen. Iğsız that read: “Submitted to Esteemed Commander.”
Partial list of TSK psychological warfare Web sites
Among the Web sites established by the TSK to conduct psychological warfare against civilian groups and individuals were:
www.irtica.org, www.naksilik.com, www.geocities.com/fethullahgercegi, www.nursi.info, www.irtica.net, www.ozgurgenc.net, www.genclik.info, www.gencizbiz.net, www.aslar.org, www.askeriz.info, www.stratejik.info, www.tskasker.com, ww.turkatak.gen.tr, www.turkuz.info and www.turkler.info, www.turkses.com, www.turkeyturks.com, www.turksturkey.com, www.turkses.net, ww.turkses.org, www.pkkgercegi.net, www.pkkapo.com, www.apopkk.com, www.pkkgercegi.com, www.pkkgercegi.org, www.armenianreality.com, www.turkishgenocide.net, www.turkishmassacre.com, www.terorveguvenlik.net, www.terorizm.info, www.terorgercegi.com, www.terorveguvenlik.com, www.terorveguvenlik.org, www.greekmurderers.net, www.members.tripod.com/camerian_volunteer, www.cameria.org, www.yunanli.com, www.pontuslu.com, www.gurbetciler.info, www.turkuzbiz.org, www.hepimizturkuz.org, www.bizturkler.org.
The armed forces also monitored the activities of such Turkish Web sites as www.2temmuz.com, www.abdullah-ocalan.com, www.akpgercegi.com, www.aktifhaber.com, www.bianet.org, www.bedelliaskerlik.org, www.bizturkmeniz.com, www.cafesiyaset.com, www.fethullahgulen.belgeleri.com, www.genel-kurmay.com, www.haber7.com, www.haberim.com, www.habervakti.com, www.kerkuk.net, www.kesireocalan.com, www.savaskarsitlari.com, www.saidnırsi.de.tr, www.sehadetvakti.com and www.vatansever.biz.
The visitors of those Web sites were categorized as pro-AK Party, reactionary, separatist and anti-TSK.
The TSK also monitored the activities of dozens of prominent foreign language Web sites, including:
www.lefigaro.fr, www.lemonde.fr, www.letemps.ch, www.liberation.fr, www.guardian.co.uk, www.globalsecurity.com, www.israelForum.com, www.armenianpress.am, www.msnbc.com/p/nw, www.latimes.com, www.telegraph.co.uk, www.time.com, www.times.co.uk and www.washingtonpost.com.
The note openly indicates that the plan was put into force within the knowledge of the Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, dispelling all suspicions over whether the illegal plans within the armed forces were made and implemented outside the knowledge of the army chief. According to most observers, the officer’s letter has come as an open warning to the General Staff that its secret activities were well known by third parties.
“The officer’s letter is an open challenge to the General Staff. It warns that more evidence will be brought to light if the General Staff continues to deny the existence of an illegal formation within the military. The officer hints that he knows everything within the General Staff and will expose them if the army chief fails to do what he is obliged to. I believe this officer has a high position within the military. He has all the details at hand, and reveals the conflict within the old and the new military,” remarked Professor Mehmet Altan, a Star daily columnist.
What Altan was referring to by the “old and new military” was the distinction between a group of the military which supports the status quo within the armed forces and another group which wants a more democratic military structure.
The columnist also urged the government to be more courageous in its efforts to expose the pro-coup junta within the armed forces.
“This is what the officer advises in his letter. He says there is no point in the government waiting to spring into action. He says the government need not be afraid. If such a scandal occurred in a democratic country, the results would be different. The government should take the initiative and do what is necessary without losing more time,” Altan added.
The officer also indicated in his letter that the TSK’s 42 Web sites were shut down after they made their way into news stories. “After news reports found their way into the media, these Web sites were shut down and restructured. They were later re-activated after approval from the junta and the commanding unit of the TSK,” read the letter.
Professor Ekrem Pakdemirli, a former economy minister, said the government should take measures against individuals and illegal formations that target democracy and the rule of law.
“Recent army documents give us the impression that there is a junta within the military. If the documents reflect the truth, then everyone who is involved in such a formation should resign. They should do this to avoid more damage to the TSK,” he said. Pakdemirli also noted that if army officers fail to leave their positions of their own will, then the government should remove them from office.
According to retired Brig. Gen. Adnan Tanrıverdi, head of the Advocates of Justice Association (ASDER), the TSK’s democratization issue should be handled at the upcoming Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting, which is scheduled for December.
“The membership of five army generals, including the chief of general staff in the National Security Council [MGK] obliges the military to be actively engaged in politics. Legislation regulating the formation of the MGK and its duties should be revised to prevent this negativity,” he noted.
TSK efforts to cast doubt on plot authenticity
The unnamed officer also mentioned in his letter the armed forces efforts to refute the authenticity of a military plot aimed at damaging the AK Party and the Gülen movement.
According to the plot, called the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, the TSK had devised a systematic plot to damage the image of the AK Party government and the Gülen movement in the eyes of the public, to play down the Ergenekon investigation and to gather support for members of the military arrested as part of the inquest into Ergenekon.
In his second letter, the officer said the armed forces launched a campaign to cast doubt on the authenticity of the action plan, including sparking public suspicion regarding the plan with reference to a signature machine, questioning the timing of the emergence of the original version of the action plan and conducting a smear campaign against experts at the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) who confirmed the authenticity of the plan.
“The junta formation within the [General Staff] plans the following actions to reverse an ongoing negative process: 1. To make the public discuss the style of the action plan rather than its content by focusing on secondary factors in the document such as the writer, the pen and the ink; 2. To wear down individuals and institutions who argue for the authenticity of the document; 3. To dissuade newspapers and journalists against the authenticity of the document; 4. To extract a report against the authenticity of the document from the criminal laboratory of the Gendarmerie General Command; 5. To damage public convention about the authenticity of the plot by focusing on such arguments as the existence of a signature machine; 6. To distract public attention on the plot by focusing on the timing of the emergence of the original document; 7. To urge the Constitutional Court to rule in favor of the nullification of a related amendment by putting pressure on the court; 8. To launch a witch hunt within the TSK and discharge a large number of military staff through Supreme Council of Military [YAŞ] decisions; and 9. If these measures go unsatisfactorily, to make the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the General Staff decide that it is Col. Dursun Çiçek and his staff who are responsible for the preparation of the plot,” the officer stressed in his letter.
The unnamed officer also argued that work conducted within the armed forces to produce such an action plan was not limited to Col. Çiçek, whose signature appears on the plot. According to the officer, Çiçek received an order for the preparation of the plot from high-ranking members of the army.
TSK fails to take action against plot officers
An action plan devised by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to cast doubt on the authenticity of a military plot aimed at undermining the power of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gülen movement has shown that the TSK failed to take action against the plotters of the plan at this summer’s Supreme Military Council (YAŞ).
YAŞ is a military gathering to decide on dismissals and promotions within the armed forces. A letter mailed to civilian prosecutors on Tuesday revealed that the action plan was the product of a number of army officers, including colonels Cemal Gökçeoğlu, Sedat Özüer, İlker Göktaş and Dursun Çiçek, Brig. Gen. Mustafa Bakırcı, Vice Adm. Mehmet Otuzbiroğlu, Lt. Gen. Hakkı Pekin, Brig. Gen. Hıfzı Çubukçu and Lt. Gen. Mehmet Eröz.
A lack of YAŞ action against those individuals showed that a military investigation into the plot was not handled in a sound manner. Contrary to widespread expectations, some of those army members were promoted and appointed to new positions during the YAŞ meeting in August. Otuzbiroğlu was appointed to the North Command Sea Area, while Pekin was appointed to the 8th Army Corps in Elazığ. Çubukçu’s term in office was extended for another year.