GeriGündem Around 30 detained in new wave of Ergenekon probe in Turkey
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Around 30 detained in new wave of Ergenekon probe in Turkey

Turkish police detained Thursday nearly 30 people, including eight army officers, in several provinces and searched the offices of a private TV channel and a union under the latest wave of the controversial Ergenekon investigation. (UPDATED)

Mustafa Ozbek, the chairman of Turkish Metal Union, Erhan Goksel, the chairman of Verso Center of Political Research, and Unal Inanc, a journalist specializing in judicial affairs, were among the latest detainees in the operation.   

Police are also conducting searches at the headquarters of Avrasya TV (ART), the Turkish Metal Union and Sirinoglu Center for Social and Strategic Researches in Ankara.

"I hope this situation (that violates principles of law) will disappear," Ozbek told reporters as he was led away by police.

Dogan News Agency (DHA) said eight army officers on active duty, a police chief and eight police officers detained in the operation.

Nine people, including academicians and journalists, were detained in the eastern province of Sivas, DHA also reported.

TV channels said nearly 30 people were detained in the operations held in thirteen provinces, including Ankara, Istanbul, Sivas, the northwestern province of Bursa, the Mediterranean cities of Antalya and Isparta, the southeastern province of Sirnak, the Black Sea city of Tokat and the eastern province of Elazig.

Members of Turkey’s Special Forces Unit were also detained in Thursday's operations, including the current head of the Elazig branch of the unit, Ayhan Atabek, news agencies reported.

MORE DETAINMENTS EXPECTED
Istanbul Deputy Chief Prosecutor Turan Colakkadi told reporters that there could be more detainments in the coming days.depending on the evidence uncovered in Thursday's operations.

"At the moment, searches are taking place in more than 30 places in various provinces. There could be more detentions according to documents or evidence found. That is why I cannot give a figure," he said.

An additional indictment, which covers those detained after the sixth wave of the operation in July 1, would be prepared within four weeks, he added.

The detainees, whose homes and workplaces are being searched, will be transferred to Istanbul where trials are currently underway for those charged in the Ergenekon case.

The case, which divided Turkey, was filed against more than 80 people on the charge of forming an illegal organization to provoke a series of events that would pave the way for a military coup. However many believe the government use the Ergenekon case as an excuse to suppress its opposition.

A court last week formally arrested more than a dozen more suspects, bringing the total of people involved in the case to more than 100.

CRITICISM FROM OPPOSITION, UNIONS

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) reiterated its criticism that the aim of the Ergenekon probe is to suppress the unions and opponent media organs.

 

"Turkey is gradually turning into an 'empire of fear'," the party's Deputy Chairman Mustafa Ozyurek told reporters outside the headquarters of AVRASYA TV channel.

 

The chairmen of the labor unions, including the Mustafa Kumlu from the Confederation of the Turkish Labor Unions (Turk-Is), visited the home of Ozbek in a show of solidarity to the detained union leader.

 

"The truth will come to light after an investigation," Kumlu told media outside Ozbek's home.

 

The Contemporary Journalists’ Association (CGD) also criticized the raid on the offices of ART television. "The Ergenekon case process has turned into a movement that aims to suppress, daunt and frighten the press, mass organizations and the public," the head of the association, Ahmet Akabay, said in a statement. 

 

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