Former chiefs of Turkish army speak up on the Ergenekon investigation

Former chiefs of Turkish army speak up on the Ergenekon investigation

The former chief of the Turkish army denied the allegations that he was heading a coup-plotter gang and said the era of the military coups is over.

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Retired Gen. Huseyin Kivrikoglu, the former head of the Turkish army, said the main objective of the Ergenekon probe and the allegations was to harm the reputation of the military.


"Turkey has one army and if they destroy it then Turkey would no longer be Turkey. The era of military coups is over. There is no need for that. The prime minister is visited (by the top army officials) weekly and if there are problems they talk to the Prime Minister and President," Kivrikoglu told Hurriyet daily on Saturday.


He became the second highest rank official responded to the allegations made by a key but shadowy witness in the Ergenekon probe which was launched in 2007 to crackdown an illegal gang that was allegedly planning a series of incidents to provoke a military coup.


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On Friday, Retired General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, the chief of General Staff during the February 28 process which is seen as the latest military intervention in politics, denied the allegations saying he have never seen such a scandal and sleight of hand like Ergenekon in his entire career.


With bulky documents found in his home and accounts of Ergenekon in his testimony in 2001, Tuncay Guney has become the linchpin in the Ergenekon case. A former Muslim, Guney now claims to be a Jew and lives in Canada.


Although his allegations sit at the center of the Ergenekon probe, psychiatrists and psychologists say Tuncay displays symptoms of a sociopath and of a personality disorder.


Karadayi said even he does not know so much information as Tuncay does despite the fact he had received any kinds of intelligence reports during his four-year term as the army chief.



Guney said top army officials have been holding "secret meetings" which were the core administrative body of the so-called Ergenekon gang to plan a coup alongside with many other allegations.


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Both retired generals admitted such meetings were held to discuss the recent developments in the country as well as in the world but said the assessments made were presented to the prime ministers as a report.


"The army commanders, the parliament speakers, professors, ministers attend these meetings. We speak about the developments in the world such as war in Georgia, situation in Kosovo, Gaza, fight against PKK, oil. There is no agenda in the meetings and the agenda is determined during the meetings. Then we prepare report on the issues and send it to the President and the Prime Minister. We did not, however, send any reports to Tayyip Erdogan but we did to Abdullah Gul while he was in the office," Karadayi was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

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Kivrikoglu told in his interview with Milliyet on Friday that the tradition of this "academic body" (Encümen-i Daniş, in its Ottoman Turkish) has been continuing since 1850.


The meetings of the body hold once in two weeks in Istanbul and the current head of the body is a  former speaker of the parliament, he said. Kivrikoglu also provided many other details regarding the meetings, signaling there is nothing shadowy or secret about them.



Both retired generals denied that they were informed or aware of the so-called Ergenekon gang. Under the investigation four retired generals and some army officers, who are on duty, have been detained.

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According to the first indictment in the Ergenekon investigation, although the gang was in efforts to expand its presence within the army, there was no proof showing that it was a body officially formed as a military unit.


Karadayi said the allegations surrounded the army were aimed at harming the reputation of the Turkish armed forces.


"A campaign to harm the Turkish Armed Forces is underway for some time. This began particularly after the U.S. war on Iraq. The Turkish Armed Forces had been targeted step by step. There are some media organs, Islamic sects. They all see Turkish Armed Forces as an enemy and believe they could anything they want if the army is not on their way," he added.

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