Fikri Saglar, former Minister of Culture and member of the parliamentary investigation commission concerning the Susurluk scandal, spoke to bianet about the ultra-nationalist Ergenekon gang, many of whose members have been arrested.
Kücük related to Susurluk case
The Susurluk case began with a car accident near Susurluk, Western Turkey in which several people died. The accident revealed connections between the Istanbul police, the nationalist Grey Wolves organisation, and politicians. Ever since, people in Turkey talk of a “deep state”, that is illegal forces that act behind the screen of a democratic government.
The parliamentary investigation commission published a 350-page report in 1997, in which it claims that state organs used the Grey Wolves to carry out illegal activities. It also accused some state forces of deliberately fomenting the battles between rightists and leftists in Turkey in the 1970s.
Saglar points out that Veli Kücük, retired brigadier general and now under arrest after the Ergenokon operation, was a suspect in the Susurluk case as well. However, the then government of Necmettin Erbakan and Tansu Ciller, as well as the army, protected him from questioning.
Speaking to bianet about the Ergenekon operation and Veli Kücük, Saglar said: “Even if the operation is a result of the scuffle between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the army, it is still positive. If our government had done this ten years ago, we would not have to talk about any of this today.”
It seems that neither the judiciary nor your commission was listened to as regards the allegations against Veli Kücük. Was he not called to your commission?
No he was not. When the commission decided to question him, Necmettin Erbakan, Tansu Ciller and others put pressure on commission chair Mehmet Elkatmis […] and Kücük did not come.
Why did you want to listen to Veli Kücük?
Veli Kücük was the last person to speak to Abdullah Catli before he died [Catli died in the crash; he was a drug trafficker and wanted for murder, but was also a police collaborator]. The commission had statements saying that Kücük had spoken to Catli, Drej Ali and Sami Hostan many times in one month, at least 34 times with Hostan [Drej Ali and Sami Hostan are also suspects in the Ergenekon case].
It is known that Kücük knew about those murdered in the Kocaeli, Sakarya, Düzce area.
[…] And now he is on the agenda for relations with Hrant Dink, Azerbaijan, the attack on the State Council and the weapons arsenal.
How do evaluate the fact that it is during the AKP era that the Ergenekon operation has been carried out in such an extensive manner?
Because the AKP is in opposition to the army, it has initiated such an operation. But whatever the motivation, it is a positive step. Turkey has taken an important step on the way towards a state ruled by law. That is of course provided that this trial will have any results…
If the investigation is carried out properly, what do you think its effects will be?
There would be great effects because it would expose the “deep state”, that is the cancer or tumour which has disabled the organizations and institutions which are necessary for a democracy. Thus, the Turkish Republic could become a state governed by the rule of law.
Do you interpret the discovery of such organizations as related to the EU’s or the USA'S Middle East policies concerning Turkey? If such organisations are exposed, what could be the result?
It is clear that there were contra-guerilla organizations in other NATO countries apart from Turkey, but that other countries have worked hard to get rid of these illegal organizations. However, the same effort has not been expended in Turkey. If it is possible to do so with this case, then Turkey would be getting rid of the deep state tumour and turn into a democratic legal state.
This is not related to the EU or other factors. This is something that Turkey must do for its own future. It is a duty which Turkey has been delaying.
If our government had done this ten years ago, we would not be talking about any of this today. (EÖ/TK/AG)