Ergenekon trial adjourned until Thursday
The 86 suspects in the trial are being tried at a prison complex in Silivri, İstanbul province, where the suspects in custody are being kept.
The court yesterday announced it adjourned until Thursday to review a petition by two lawyers to appoint new judges to the case.
In yesterday's trial, Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek and other İP-affiliated suspects were expected to deliver their defense testimonies. The İP suspects, including Perinçek, İP Aydınlık journal Editor-in-Chief Ferit İlsever and other members of the Aydınlık movement, including Adnan Akfırat, Hikmet Çiçek, Hayati Özcan and İP Secretary-General Nusret Senem, are expected to explain numerous allegations regarding assassination plans and secret meetings to overthrow the elected government, based on evidence found during raids into İP offices and the suspects' homes.
Ergenekon prosecutors deserve respect
Those conducting the "clean hands" operation in Turkey deserve respect, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday while speaking to the Turkish community of Hasselt, Belgium. The prime minister, on his first visit to Belgium in four years, hopes to resuscitate Turkey's flagging efforts to join the European Union.
Erdoğan referred to the Ergenekon operation as "Turkey's clean hands operation." A similar operation in Italy removed the remnants of Operation Gladio, a NATO stay-behind paramilitary force left over from the Cold War, in a judicial process similar to that of Ergenekon.
The prime minister criticized those who called the Ergenekon operation a government witch hunt targeting its opponents. "There are those who are uneasy because we are poking a stick into the beehive. Everything will be done within the confines of the law. Those who cited Italy's Clean Hands Operation as an example for Turkey to follow should now respect those conducting Turkey's own clean hands [operation]," the prime minister said.
Accusations against the suspects
The indictment into the group claims the Ergenekon network is behind a series of political assassinations over the past two decades. The victims include a secularist journalist, Uğur Mumcu, long believed to have been assassinated by Islamic extremists in 1993; the head of a business conglomerate, Özdemir Sabancı, who was shot dead by militants of the extreme-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) in his high-security office in 1996; secularist academic Necip Hablemitoğlu, who was also believed to have been killed by Islamic extremists, in 2002; and a 2006 attack on the Council of State that left a senior judge dead. Alparslan Arslan, found guilty of the Council of State killing, said he attacked the court in protest of an anti-headscarf ruling it had made. But the indictment contains evidence that he was connected with Ergenekon and that his family received large sums of money from unidentified sources after the shooting.
The indictment also says Veli Küçük, believed to be one of the leading members of the network, had threatened Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist slain by a teenager in 2007, before his murder -- a sign that Ergenekon could be behind that murder as well.
Suspects face various accusations, including "membership in an armed terrorist group," "attempting to destroy the government," "inciting people to rebel against the Republic of Turkey" and other similar crimes.