Saturday, 5 July 2008

Gibrahayer e-magazine Two Turkish Generals Held


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The Independent - July 2, 2008 - Turkish police have arrested two retired top generals they believe were members of a state-backed gang suspected of a slew of high-profile killings and a plot to murder the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk.
The former military police chief Sener Eruygur and Hursit Tolon (below right), former army number two, were among 25 people taken into custody in Ankara early yesterday in the latest twist in investigations that began last year.

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Dozens of people – including another retired general and a prominent ultra-nationalist lawyer – are already in custody on charges of "provoking armed rebellion against the government".
The plotters' plan, allegedly, was to assassinate public intellectuals, Kurdish politicians, even target military personnel, as part of a campaign to destabilise Turkish society and force military intervention.
The arrests mark a sudden intensification of a power struggle consuming the country. The arrest of the two members of the secular establishment came on the same day that the religious-minded ruling party was fighting court charges aimed at shutting it down.
The country's senior prosecutor has brought a case against the AK Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing it of trying to establish an Islamic state. If the prosecution results in the party being banned it is likely to lead to political turmoil and an early parliamentary election.
The latest developments hit the Turkish stock market and could dim Turkey's chances of joining the European Union.
The editor of the liberal daily Radikal, Ismet Berkan, compared the plan to the civil unrest in 1960 that preceded the first of Turkey's three full-on coups. "It's a classic model, a classic case of social engineering", he said.
"The difference is that, this time, for the first time in Turkey's history, four-star generals – the big fish – have been hauled in by a civilian prosecutor."
Not everybody shares his view. Coming just hours before the state prosecutor in the case against the Islamic-rooted government argued his case in court, the arrests are seen by many as the latest step in an increasingly bitter power struggle between government and state.
"It's not one coup d'etat Turkey is facing, it's two," said Cuneyt Ulsever, a liberal columnist for the mass market daily Hurriyet who is critical of AKP's increasingly authoritarian rhetoric.
The state prosecution issued the charges in March, saying the AKP should be dissolved because it threatens Turkey's secular principles. Party leaders deny the charge. Prosecutors also are calling for about 70 AK party members, including Mr Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, to be barred from politics.
Belma Akcura, an investigative journalist, is also concerned about the way the investigation into what Turks have dubbed the "Ergenekon" network is unfolding.
"It's been over a year and we still don't know for sure what these people are being accused of," she said. "I get the feeling the government is using Ergenekon as a card in its own fight for life – 'take me down, and I'll take you down too.'"
Yet as the author of a recent book on what Turks call the "Deep State", which means a paramilitary grouping of military and civilian bureaucrats and mafia opposed to full democracy, Ms Akcura is not surprised by the accusations or the identities of the people arrested.
Turkey's army has long considered itself the final arbiter on the nature of the country's regime, she pointed out, adding "paramilitary efforts to shape politics go back at least 50 years".
A well-known hardliner, Sener Eruygur, was revealed last year to have played a central role in two aborted attempts to unseat the government in 2004.
The first – codenamed "Yellow Girl", a popular Turkish name for cows – was a plan for direct military intervention that foundered because of the opposition of the Chief of Staff. The second, "Moonshine", was closer to Ergenekon and its scheme to mould public opinion via the media.
Mr Berkan said: "They came to talk to all the big media bosses in 2004 to ask for their support. They didn't get it."
Mr Eruygur appears not to have forgotten the slight. When the staunchly secularist lobbying group he has led since his retirement organised massive protests last year, a favourite slogan was "buy one Tayyip, get two Aydin Dogans free." (Tayyip is the Prime Minister, Aydin Dogan is in charge of the country's biggest media group.)
For Alper Gormus, left-leaning editor of the investigative magazine that revealed the 2004 coup plans last year and was shut down for its pains, Mr Eruygur's arrest is evidence of a fundamental change in the balance of power between the elected government and the state. "People say Turkey is in crisis and they are right, but what revolution comes to pass without a political crisis?", he asked.
"What we are living through today are the birth pangs of a new regime – the death of 60 years of limited democracy, the birth of a Turkey that has the full democracy it deserves."

Who is Orhan Pamuk?
A best-selling novelist at home and abroad, Orhan Pamuk became the first Turkish author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.

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His achievement met with an ambiguous reaction in his home country, where his literary reputation had been all but forgotten amid a scandal over comments he made to a Swiss newspaper the year before.
"Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it," Pamuk told Tages-Anzeiger in February 2005. A prosecutor promptly charged him with "insulting Turkishness" under the most notorious of a raft of Turkish laws limiting freedom of speech. He was cleared in January 2006, but not before the car ferrying him to court had been attacked by an angry mob of nationalists. Facing death threats, he left Turkey and now spends most of his time in the United States.
Talking about Turkey's conflict with Kurdish separatists and the ethnic cleansing of Armenians in 1915 remains taboo among conservative Turks.
But possibly his greatest crime, in a country which can feel positively Sicilian in its insistence that dirty washing be kept "in the family", was to talk to foreigners about it.
Most Turks remain convinced that Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize for political, not literary, reasons.



* Seized documents show group planned gradual coup - papers
* Some suspects brought to court
* AK Party defends against anti-secular charges in court
* Turkish assets fall as investors unnerved

By Hidir Goktas and Selcuk Gokoluk


ATHENS (ARF Press Service) -The ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Tuesday was elected to the vice-presidency of Socialist International, with Armenia's ARF Women's Organisation leader Maria Titizian filling the position.
, which has been a full-fledged member of SI since 2003, will fill one of 37 vice-presidencies of the organisation. Titizian's position will oversee a vast region, which includes Armenia.
The SI convention also re-elected Yorghos Papandreou as its president and Luis Ayala as its Secretary General.
The meeting convened Monday in Athens with the ARF participating with nine representatives. Aside from Titizian, the organisation was represented by ARF Bureau members Mario Nalbandian and Levon Mkrtchyan, ARF Central Committee of Greece members Kevork Kolanian, Alice Papazian, Kaspar Garabedian, Vahan Bzdigian and Ricardo Yerganian, as well as the ARF Lebanon Central Committee chairman Benjo Bdjakdjian and the "Azad Or" newspaper representative editor Hripsime Harutunian.
In discussing the possible membership of the Socialist party of Turkish-occupied Cyprus, Nalbandian, echoed the sentiments of the Socialist Party of Cyprus and voiced his opposition to the proposal.
In his remarks, Nalbandian said that any party that wishes to join SI, must adhere to its principles of fraternalism, equality, justice and peace. As long as Turkey continues to occupy a portion of Cyprus and abuses the people's rights, it cannot be allowed to be a part of Socialist International.
The ARF delegation, led by its Bureau members, held several meetings, including one with SI president Papandreou, who expressed interest in visiting Armenia as one of his priorities.
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Participating at the SI convention were dignitaries from throughout the world, including Paraguay president Fernando Luco, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abaas, Israeli defence minister Ehoud Barak, Russian Duma president Sergei Muronov and Cyprus Socialist leader Yiannakis Omirou.
The convention also voted to expel the Socialist Party of Fiji, since it recently joined a coalition government led by the country's military junta.
Since its full-fledged membership in SI in 2003 and advisory status membership in 1999, the ARF has been represented in numerous SI conventions and regional meetings, including participation in SI Women's Organisation and the International Union of Socialist Youth (SI's youth organisation).
Founded in 1951, the present Socialist International is the successor to the Socialist International established in the late Nineteenth Century, to which the ARF became a member in 1907. In the 1960s, the ARF's membership in SI was terminated because of changes in SI's regulations. At SI's 1996 Congress in New York, the ARF joined the new SI as an observer. The decision to grant the ARF full membership was made in the SI Council's meeting in Casablanca in June 2002. The decision was reinstated by the 22nd Congress in San Paolo.
The Socialist International presently includes 150 socialist, social-democratic and labour parties from throughout 100 countries. Fifty-two of these parties actively participate in their respective governments.

Letters to the Editor

GIBRAHAYER e-magazineDear Simon,
I just heard a sad news and thought to share it at Gibrahayer.

Our beloved English teacher from Nareg era (1973-76) Lillian Gulesserian passed away in LA at the age of 60 after a short illness. Attached one of her photos.

Lillian was a wonderful person and we have lots of fond memories of her.

May she rest in peace.

Gregory Megerditchian - Nicosia

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