GeriGündem Latest Ergenekon raid nets academics and NGO heads
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Latest Ergenekon raid nets academics and NGO heads

Latest Ergenekon raid nets academics and NGO heads
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ANKARA - Police search 83 points across Turkey for a 40-member detainee list. Professor Mehmet Haberal, rector of Başkent University in Ankara, is detained as police search many branches of a nongovernmental organization.

At least 18 people, including the current Başkent University rector and three former university rectors, were detained yesterday in connection with the ongoing Ergenekon investigation.

Professor Mehmet Haberal, rector of Başkent University in Ankara, Professor Fatih Hilmioğlu, former rector of İnönü University in the southeastern province of Malatya, Professor Ferit Bernay, former rector of Ondokuz Mayıs University in the Black Sea province of Samsun, and Professor Mustafa Yurtkuran, deputy chairman of the Kemalist Thought Association, or ADD, and former rector of Uludag University in the western province of Bursa, are among the detainees.

Professor Erol Manisalı, daily Cumhuriyet columnist and retired lecturer at Istanbul University, was also detained in Istanbul. Police searched the home of the chairman of the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life, or ÇYDD, Türkan Saylan and seized documents found at her house.

Police also searched the headquarters of Kanal B television, founded by Haberal and known for its secular broadcasts that are critical of the government, as well as several branches of the ÇYDD, organizer of the Republican meetings, and the Contemporary Education Foundation, or ÇEV, in several provinces. Police also searched the home of Professor Osman Metin Öztürk, rector of Giresun University in northern Turkey.

The police searched 83 points across Turkey for a 40-member detainee list. ÇYDD’s more than 20 branches were searched in 12 provinces in line with the order of the High Criminal Court in Istanbul. The detentions were the 12th wave in the long-running probe into a nationalist-secularist group called Ergenekon, which allegedly planned to sow unrest and plot a military coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

Senate members of Başkent University, who gathered outside Kanal B in Ankara, said the ongoing Ergenekon operation was following a planned path, arguing that the investigation aimed at arresting the country’s creative minds and thinkers. Haberal’s name was mentioned in the second indictment of the Ergenekon probe for holding meetings in Patalya Hotel in Ankara’s Gölbaşı district.

The controversial Ergenekon case, which has divided Turkey, was filed against more than 200 people on the charge of forming an illegal organization to provoke a series of events that would pave the way for a military coup. Many believe, however, that the Ergenekon investigation is a government plot to suppress the opposition.

Reactions

The latest wave of Ergenekon detentions met various reactions yesterday. Speaking to private CNN Türk, daily Milliyet editor-in-chief Sedat Ergin said it would raise questions in people’s minds about the detention of ÇYDD Chairman Türkan Saylan and her association with the alleged coup plots.

Journalist Yavuz Donat said the meetings Haberal held were not secret and were also attended by the ministers. They were formerly announced in the media and he himself mentioned the content of the meetings in his columns.

Scholar Burhan Şenatalar of Bilgi University said Saylan had no relation with the coups and that it was a shame for the Turkish government to associate Saylan with such allegations. Universal norms weren’t followed in the implementation of the case and the prime minister and president should make an excuse, said Şenatalar. The expansion of the Ergenekon case as to cover such names destroyed the credibility of the probe, he said.

Doğan group executive detained in Ergenekon
Doğan Media Group, or DMG, Executive Board Member and Marketing, Sales and Business Development President Tijen Mergen was detained as part of the Erdegekon investigation yesterday.

Mergen was overseeing the "Baba beni okula gönder" (Daddy send me to school) campaign together with daily Milliyet and the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life, or ÇYDD, which was one of the main targets of yesterday’s Ergenekon sweep.

Mergen’s campaign aimed to ensure that girls in rural Turkey were not kept at home but sent to school by their parents.

Mergen was taken to the Istanbul Police Department headquarters after a medical check-up at the Fatih Public Health Center.

ÇYDD Executive Board Member Nadire Ertek, speaking to sister daily Referans, said Mergen’s detainment could result in stopping the cash flow from the corporate sector to projects that encourage social responsibility.

"Some people are trying to create an environment of terror," Ertek said.

The campaign Mergen was responsible for started in April 2005 and has succeeded in sending 7,056 girls to school until now, also collecting 26 million Turkish Liras from close to 110,000 donors. The campaign won the United Nations Special Award in 2007.

The Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review is a Doğan Media Group publication.

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