Ergenekon, and on and on

April 15, 2009
I don't have much time, so I'm going to quickly post a excerpt from Hurriyet newspaper's English-language site relating to the most recent arrests in Turkey's ongoing Ergenekon investigation. Pay particular attention to the last three lines of this passage, beginning with "Things that the professors had in common."
Police detained 29 people, including three former and two incumbent university rectors, in the 12th wave of the Ergenekon probe. Police searched 83 different places, including the offices of the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life, or CYDD, in the operations that were held simultaneously in 18 provinces. Professor Mehmet Haberal (Baskent University in Ankara), Professor Osman Metin Ozturk (Giresun University in the northern province of Giresun), and former rectors Professor Fatih Hilmioglu (Inonu University in eastern province of Malatya), Professor Ferit Bernay (Samsun University in northern province of Samsun), Professor Mustafa Yurtkan (Uludag University in northwestern province of Bursa), who is also the deputy chairman of the Kemalist Thought Association, were taken to Istanbul for interrogation. Things that the professors had in common: They were all against freedom of headscarf at universities, they were all appointed by former president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and they are all known for their Kemalist thoughts.

I've written a number of pieces on Ergenekon over the past six months and don't want to repeat myself too much here, but really--what a long road this investigation has traveled. What originally began as a long-overdue inquiry into state support for death squads in Turkey has now been almost entirely transformed into a search for anti-AK Party coup plotters. While real "Deep State" figures like Sedat Bucak (and Mehmet Agar, for all intents and purposes) walk free, political (and military) opponents of the AK Party are arrested in the middle of the night on charges of attempting to take over the government.  
So far, this inquiry has been taken largely at face-value by most foreign media and academic observers of Turkey. We'll see if this latest round of arrests leads anyone to treat the investigation with a little more skepticism.

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