ANKARA - Ergenekon has begun to lose its credibility and has turned into a means of taking revenge by the government, say opposition parties. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in response says the CHP’s leader, Deniz Baykal, is an advocate of gangs and that he shouldn’t try to heap pressure on the courts or the legal system
Political discussion over the latest developments in the Ergenekon case continued yesterday, with the three major political parties challenging each other in a battle of words in Parliament. In his address to the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, parliamentary group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted main opposition leader, Deniz Baykal, for his criticism of the government over the case, while Baykal said Erdoğan would not hesitate to extend the probe even to their party if he could.
"There comes a period [Baykal] defends fighting the mafia, Gladio, but there comes a period when he advocates for them. What are you afraid of? Why you are in such a panic? There is a saying in Anatolia, one does not doubt his worship if his ritual ablution was well done," Erdoğan said.
’Baykal acts as advocate of gangs’
"You may have some sentimental ties with some names (involved in the case). Turkey’s prosecutors do their job and declare their innocence if they are so. Do not worry and do not try to put pressure on the courts and on the law," Erdoğan said, adding that as the government it was their duty was to contribute to the free flow of the probe.
Touching also on the unearthed weapons, Erdoğan said: "What is the function of this weaponry that has been obtained? Are we going to war? Do you see what is happening in this country? This is just the beginning. Some had to fight with these... We are taking a step in this sense. We know many things were concealed in this country... That is why we are sensitive about the issue."
A harsh reaction came from the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Baykal who said Ergenekon was a political case, ruled and motivated by Erdoğan himself. Stating that some respected figures had been detained as part of the case, and that three generals and the YÖK president surprisingly were released just three days after heavy traffic between the General Staff and the Prime Ministry, Baykal said: "What happened within those three days before they were released? This is a political case."
Baykal said it was a good development that the General Staff had not given a statement, but the recent detentions and releases destroyed the probe’s credibility.
"Could there be a 2,500-page indictment? There is a 2,500-page chaos. Where is the second indictment and terror organization? Whose weapons are they? Who put them there? Is it not law but a manipulation project?" Baykal said. In response to Erdoğan’s claims that the CHP had been infected by the Ergenekon virus, Baykal said: "I recommend you (Erdoğan), not to meddle in our party’s affairs. Accusing the CHP requires courage. I do not doubt that if the prime minister finds a chance, he would also attack the CHP.
If he does not do so, it is because he knows well that he does not have that power." Devlet Bahçeli, Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, leader, meanwhile, said the Ergenekon investigation should not be seen as means of revenge. "It is a natural and correct manner for political powers to reveal illicit formations. If the Ergenekon probe revealed such a formation then the case should be taken seriously," he said. "But it is a dangerous approach to view the investigation process as a means of revenge. Punishing criminals is different, stigmatizing the Turkish Armed Forces is something different. It will not be an omen to say that the future of the rule of law will darken if the revenge cries do not end. The AKP dares to create a definition of democracy by themselves," Bahçeli said.