Six people were arrested yesterday as part of the investigation into the weapons cache found Monday in Istanbul’s Poyrazköy neighborhood.
A tip-off led police to land said to be owned by the İstek Foundation, where they uncovered 12 flame throwers, 10 hand grenades, grenade launchers, 20 percussion bombs, explosives, dynamite and huge amounts of ammunition.
The İstek Foundation, headed by Bedrettin Dalan, a former Istanbul mayor and the chairman of Yeditepe University’s board of trustees, released a statement yesterday, stating that the land neighbored a military zone, and despite purchasing it in 1992, the foundation was banned from doing anything there. "All access to the land is allowed under military supervision and it is currently being used as a training field for the Turkish Navy," the foundation said.
There is an arrest warrant for Dalan, currently in the United States for medical treatment, as part of the controversial Ergenekon investigation.
In a police sweep at Yeditepe University last January, Dalan’s son was detained and then released.
The police arrested six people, two retired and four active military officers, as part of the investigation into the weapons cache found in Poyrazköy. The dig in the area continued yesterday, reported Anatolia news agency.
The Ergenekon case started after the discovery of 27 hand grenades on June 12, 2007 in a shanty house in Istanbul's Ümraniye district that belonged to a retired noncommissioned officer. The resulting investigation led to scores of detentions, with prosecutors alleging the existence of an illegal gang that aimed to topple the government by instigating a coup in 2009 by initially spreading chaos and mayhem.
Earlier bombings of daily Cumhuriyet office in Istanbul, the murder of Hrant Dink, the murder of the top judge of the Council of State and alleged plans for the assassination of high-profile figures in Turkish politics are sometimes associated with the case. The investigation led to three other weapons caches in Eskişehir and two in Ankara.
Several nongovernmental organizations are planning a "Republic Rally" in Ankara on May 17, reported Milliyet daily yesterday.
Last week’s detentions as part of the Ergenekon case were criticized when a respected academic was arrested and the home of a leader of a charity organization was searched.
In 2007, several republic rallies were held around the country, with protests mainly aiming at the government’s policies perceived as a threat to secularism and democracy.
Several of the organizers of the 2007 rallies are currently in prison as part of the Ergenekon case.