Turkey Finds Weapons Cache
- Weapons Cache Unearthed in Turkish Coup Plot
January 11, 2009
A large cache of weapons, ammunition and bombs was found yesterday
buried in Ankara's Gölbaþý district as a result of a police search
based on a map found in the home of Ýbrahim Þahin, a former head of
the National Police Department's Special Operations Unit. The
operation was launched after Þahin recently ordered the assassination
of non-Muslim minority leaders in Sivas.
Þahin was detained along with 36 others on Wednesday in the
investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine network of groups and
individuals accused of trying to overthrow the government. Thirty
types of explosives and bombs as well as two shoulder carried LAWs
(light-anti tank weapon) were found buried in the ground. Newspapers
wrapped around the weapons were from the year 2004, the police said.
According to the initial official list, there were a large number of
bullets for 9mm guns, two LAWs, 10 hand grenades whose serial numbers
had been removed and 10 smoke bombs used in training with colored
smoke. Another boxed explosive was found in the first phases of the
excavation, the police said. There were also plastic explosives
buried at the site. The materials found have yet to be examined
thoroughly at a police crime lab.
The excavation of the site started on Thursday and continued until
midday. The teams resumed digging on Friday and located the
munitions. Excavations were also launched in the Bala, Mamak, Emek,
Beþtepe, Saklýbahçe and Atatürk Orman Çiftliði districts of the city,
as well as in the city of Hatay, to locate more weapons possibly
buried in these areas, based on evidence that emerged from
investigations following Wednesday's arrests.
The operation started when Þahin, whose phone conversations had been
tapped by police for at least two months, recently gave the order to
finalize plans to assassinate Armenian community members in the city
of Sivas. Twelve others were detained in Sivas during Wednesday's
operation. Police also found evidence that the group was plotting to
kill prominent figures including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan,
Former Chief of General Staff Yaþar Büyükanýt, Police Department
Intelligence Unit Chief Ramazan Akyürek, journalist Fehmi Koru,
author Orhan Pamuk and some politicians, including members of the pro-
Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP).
The fields brought to mind a large number of depots of NATO arms
found buried during an investigation launched by Italian prosecutor
Felice Casson, who discovered the existence of Operation Gladio, a
NATO stay-behind paramilitary force left over from the Cold War. In a
panel discussion he participated in in Ýstanbul last April, Casson
said these weapons were found buried in cemeteries, under churches
and even in caves. Ergenekon is also thought to be a remnant from the
original Turkish Gladio, which was founded against a possible Soviet
invasion during the Cold War, but later turned into an organization
trying to cut off Turkey's ties with the West. The retired generals
arrested in the Ergenekon investigation seem to have an anti-European
Union and anti-NATO stance favoring a closer relationship between
Turkey and Russia and Eurasian nations.
Analysts said on Friday that the buried weapons might shed light on a
number of murders committed in the Gölbaþý area prior to the Susurluk
investigation of 1996, which started when a former police chief, a
southeastern tribal leader whose men were armed by the state to fight
separatist violence and an internationally wanted mafia boss were
involved in an accident near the small township of Susurluk while
riding in the same car. The police chief and the mafia boss as well
as his girlfriend, a former model, were killed in the accident. No
serious arrests followed the ensuing investigation, which had
exposed, for the first time in modern Turkish history, a gang with
links to the state.
Some of the most significant unsolved murders in the area were the
assassination of Yusuf Ekinci, a lawyer of Kurdish origin, and that
of retired Maj. Cem Ersever and his girlfriend. Investigators are
examining possible links between the Gölbaþý weapons and unsolved
murders in the area in the '90s.
Ergenekon suspects on the run
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Mustafa Dönmez, an Ergenekon suspect whose houses
in Sakarya and Ankara were found to contain a stockpile of bullets,
hand grenades and weapons, is now reported to be a fugitive. Police
called Dönmez's cell phone on Wednesday to inform him that an arrest
warrant had been issued for him. Dönmez, who assured them he would go
to a police station "right away," disappeared shortly after the phone
call. Police claim that when they went at the Adapazarý Central
Command on Wednesday to capture Dönmez, gendarmes told them the area
fell under gendarmerie jurisdiction and that they would find Dönmez.
Later, the gendarmerie told police that they had been unable to
locate Dönmez and that they believed he had escaped.
Twenty-two hand grenades, five revolvers and a Kalashnikov rifle as
well as 8,300 bullets were found in a house belonging to the
lieutenant colonel in Sakarya. The search in another house belonging
to Dönmez in Ankara revealed three revolvers, two Kalashnikovs and a
pair of night-vision binoculars.
Thirty-seven people in total were detained in the latest wave of
Ergenekon detentions on Wednesday, including six active members of
the military as well as seven retired generals. In addition to
Dönmez, police also on Wednesday searched for Bedrettin Dalan, a
former mayor of the city of Ýstanbul, but they soon discovered that
he was in the US. However, some newspapers claimed on Friday that
Dalan had fled to the US after being tipped off about the Ergenekon
Political clashes over Ergenekon
On Thursday, one day after the high-profile detentions, Chief of
General Staff Gen. Ýlker Baþbuð visited both Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdoðan and President Abdullah Gül, with no statement on the
content of the talks other than to say that they were indeed about
the recent detentions in which some retired generals and active duty
officers were taken into custody. Newspapers wrote yesterday that
Baþbuð was seeking special treatment for members of the military.
According to sources that spoke to several newspapers, Baþbuð
demanded that members of the military be summoned to the prosecutor's
office instead of being taken into custody.
Sources also say Baþbuð demanded that senior generals Hurþit Tolon
and Þener Eruygur, arrested last year as part of the investigation,
be released pending trial.
Baþbuð's visit on Thursday came after a six-hour meeting of the force
commanders on Wednesday evening, convened immediately after the
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
Need some good karma? Appreciate the service?
Please consider donating to WVNS today.
Email ummyakoub@... for instructions.
To leave this list, send an email to: