Forty nine so far, and counting. Forty nine (retired) personnel: 17 former generals, 4 navy admirals on active duty, 27 officers and one non-commissioned officer. All under arrest since Monday, because they are supposedly linked to Balyoz (Slegdehammer), an (alleged) coup plan dating from 2003 that has become part of the ongoing Ergenekon investigation.
When I read about Ergenekon stuff, I am often surprised by how stupidly the suspects behaved. For example, one of the coup plans was signed by Dursun Cicek, an army colonel – at least the criminal investigation bureau has concluded it was indeed his signature. Another suspect, arrested last week, is a prosecutor carrying on an investigation into a religious sect. The theory now is that he was preparing to place weapons in the houses of sect members, as part of a plan to make religious groups look bad, confuse society and make people ready for a military coup. (But there is something strange about this prosecutor. He once investigated murders supposedly committed by Jitem, the secret anti-terror unit of the Turkish army and now seen as the military arm of Ergenekon, which goes against his being a member of Ergenekon – do you still follow me?).
And some time ago some military personnel were arrested because they were spotted close to the house of Arinc, the deputy Prime Minister, and there was some evidence they could be planning to kill Arinc. The men were carrying detailed maps of the area near Arinc’s house, and in a search at their homes there were also addresses and maps of the houses of Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gül.
If you want to do something like organize a coup against the government, would you be so careless as to carry a map of the area around the house of your target and hang around his neighbourhood acting suspiciously? If there are detailed coup plans, would you as a colonel sign them with your elegant and strong hand-writing? No, you would not be that stupid.
So, these accusations can only mean one of two things. One: there is no, totally no truth in them, they are all made up. Or two: the high military personnel and other alleged Ergenekon members never needed to be careful because they were protected by the state and had absolutely nothing to fear.
What’s really going on is anyone’s guess.