Turks divided over Ergenekon, majority believes gang exists

Turks divided over Ergenekon, majority believes gang exists

A poll released Monday has shown that close to half the Turkish nation believes that an organization known as Ergenekon exists to incite a series of incidents to overthrow the government through a military coup; however, one fifth thinks the probe is being used to suppress the opposition.

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Research company A&G conducted the Gallup poll with face-to-face interviews of 2,407 adults from Jan. 17 to Jan. 19 in 33 provinces. The poll was published in Milliyet daily. 


According to the poll, 49.3 percent of respondents identified Ergenekon as a case in which "crime gangs and military coup plotters are trialed".


Twenty-two percent of people polled said it is "an excuse used by the government to suppress the opposition and the army", while 24.2 percent declined to comment.


The Ergenekon probe is seen as one of the most controversial cases in Turkey's history. The probe was launched in 2007 after the discovery of hand grenades in a house in Istanbul.


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More than 80 people, including journalists, intellectuals, union leaders, business leaders, army officers, police officers, and retired generals, are charged with forming an illegal organization to provoke a series of events that would pave the way for a military coup.


The case has however divided the Turkish public after the detainment of high profile anti-government people. Critics say the case has turned into a witch hunt for opponents and that legal irregularities are emerging during the detainment process.



Although the half the nation believes that such a gang exists, the division is heightened over the intention of the controversial probe.


Thirty-three percent of respondents say the legal process continues in line with the principles of law, while 27 percent believe that an illegal organization within the state bodies exists, but that some of the detained are included as an intimidation.


Fifteen percent of the people see the probe as a political maneuver of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Twenty-four percent declined to comment.


Backing of the investigation is highest among supporters of the AKP. Seventy percent of AKP voters see it as "a case in which crime gangs and military coup plotters are trialed".


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This figure falls to 26.5 percent among supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and to 48.7 percent among Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters.


The chairman of the research company said the results show that the majority of Turks believe that an implicit organization known as Ergenekon exists.


"One in every three people who believe that the Ergenekon gang exists and that coup plotters are being tried in the case, also think that while its exists, some people are however included for intimidation purposes," Adil Gur told Milliyet daily.

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