Ergenekon a personal threat, says PM Erdoğan

ANKARA - The prime minister claimed he has been threatened by the alleged Ergenekon gang from inside and outside the country, in an interview with the private Kanal 24 channel late Wednesday.

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"Of course there are some threats now. These unfortunately come from inside and outside (of the country). Interesting things happen that could be considered abnormal even though they have been told by a prime minister. But perhaps you will only write them in your memories," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during the interview.

He did not detail the nature or perpetrators of these threats. Ergenekon is a far-reaching juridical case that started in 2007, when Istanbul police found 27 hand grenades in a shanty house in the Ümraniye district. Findings led to scores of detentions, putting more than a hundred journalists, retired four-star generals, writers, academics, gang leaders and politicians under interrogation in what turned into an Ergenekon terror investigation seeking to crack down on an alleged ultra-nationalistic attempt to topple the government by creating chaos and mayhem. When he was asked whether the threats were coming from Ergenekon, Erdoğan confirmed it. "Both from inside and outside the country. But you know mafia and gangs are the real nature of these things." He also said the threats were accompanied by some governmental requests and expectations. He said many of those demands were met.

’Requests were met, says Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’

Some requests reportedly came from Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ when top retired generals were arrested as part of the Ergenekon prosecution. After some meetings between Başbuğ and Erdoğan, arrested generals were sent to hospitals due to poor health and were then released by the courts. It was not sure whether Erdoğan meant the release of the generals when he said that "these requests were met."

Erdoğan also responded to questions about a much-criticized banner depicting him as the last Ottoman sultan. "I haven’t seen it myself. Unfortunately they did the wrong thing. It was a bad move and we don’t approve," he said.

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