Friday, 11 February 2011

The Ergenekon Case is a Fraud

The Ergenekon trials in Turkey, in which an array of military officers have been charged with plotting a coup against the AKP government, have been running for quite a while now in Turkey. I have to admit that I haven't been sure what to make of them. There is a sharp division of opinion in Turkey about whether the plot was genuine or merely a fraud concocted by the AKP to discredit and emasculate the military. Of course, either way, Ergenekon proves conclusively that Turkey is not fit to be a member of the European Union: either it has a military that stages coups to overthrow elected governments, or it has a government that stages show trials based on fabricated evidence against its own citizens.

This compelling article in the National Interest has finally clinched my judgement on the matter: it's a fraud. The author describe how he proved that the alleged coup documents, which form the basis of the case, refer to organisations using anachronistic names, names they did not have at the time the documents were written.

As disturbing as the revelations themselves is the reaction of the Turkish establishment to them. Even supposedly liberal newspapers are wary of reporting the facts the author uncovered. He has faced anti-semitic smears and many people have privately confessed fears for their own safety amid the atmosphere of intimidation the AKP has created in the country.

We heard story after story about self-censorship and refusal to engage with subjects that might offend the Gülen movement or the government. Journalists complained about intimidation, and anchormen told us during commercial breaks about the risk they were taking by interviewing us. A very well respected journalist, known for his middle-of-the-road views, told us that for the first time in his professional career he was worried about his future.

The Zaman newspaper, controlled by the Fethullah Gülen movement, led the attempts to discredit the author. Gulenists are often touted as the perfect embodiment of "moderate Muslims", yet their eagerness to promote the authenticity of the Ergenekon case and to discredit its doubters betrays their true and sinister motivation: to remove obstables to the advance of Islam within Turkey.

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