Former general: Army the target

Former general: Army the target

ISTANBUL - Retired Gen. Tuncer Kılınç says he still does not know why he was detained and questioned. He claims the main reason behind such a move is to tarnish the image of the armed forces and is an act of revenge by those who feel they have been wronged in the past.

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Efforts to tarnish the reputation of the Turkish military was the main reason for being detained and questioned as part of the controversial Ergenekon investigation, a former top general said of his own detention

Retired Gen. Tuncer Kılınç, former National Security Council, or MGK, general secretary, said the honor of the military had been publicly trampled on, in an interview aired on Star television channel.

"I do not want to blame the judiciary. The Turkish military, since its establishment, willfully or not, has had an influence in politics. Those who see themselves as having been victimized during these periods are now using the media’s support to take their revenge on the military," he said. The Ergenekon case started after the discovery of 27 hand grenades in June 2007 in a shanty house in Istanbul's Ümraniye district that belonged to a retired, noncommissioned officer. The grenades were found to be of the same type used in the attacks on Cumhuriyet daily’s Istanbul office in 2006.

The findings have led to scores of detentions, putting more than 100 journalists, writers, gang leaders and politicians under interrogation in what has turned into a terror investigation seeking to crack down on an alleged ultra-nationalist gang named Ergenekon. The group is alleged to have been trying to topple the government by instigating a coup this year, by initially spreading chaos and mayhem. Ergenekon is originally a pre-Islamic Turkish saga that tells of Turks' re-emergence from defeat by the trickery of their enemies under the guidance of a gray wolf.

Earlier bombings of daily Cumhuriyet, the murder of journalist 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.

Weapons caches have been found in Ankara in the last two weeks after the former acting head of the police department’s anti-terror squad, İbrahim Şahin, was arrested as part of the case. Kılınç was one of the two retired generals detained Jan. 7 and then released as part of the Ergenekon investigation.

Judiciary only way to prove innocence
Kılınç said he still did not know why he had been detained and questioned. He said he had headed the MGK, the top advisory board in the land led by the president with senior ministers and top generals members, from 2001 to 2003 and he was in charge of coordinating all the intelligence received. "During that time, I was never presented with any report that suggested a gang called Ergenekon existed," said Kılınç.

He refused to comment on the trial. "During the questioning, no one accused me of any crime. The questions were mainly about my proximity to people who had been charged."

He also said that court was the only body that could prove a person was innocent.

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