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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Enquiry sought in to Denktash’s Ergenekon ties ]

Enquiry sought in to Denktash’s Ergenekon ties

FORMER Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and his once-‘prime minister’ Dervish Eroglu are to become subjects of an enquiry into whether the two have links with the ultra-nationalist Ergenekon group currently under investigation in Turkey.

The Ergenekon trial is shaking Turkey by the roots as military generals, academics, businessmen, security officials and journalists stand accused of plotting to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Their plot, accusers say, was to involve ‘false flag’ operations that would have led to civil unrest and culminate in a military takeover. Over 100 have so far been arrested and detained since the enquiry began last summer.

The request for the enquiry was filed by current ‘prime minister’ of the north Ferdi Sabit Soyer to the north’s ‘chief prosecutor’ after sections of the bill of indictment to be presented against Ergenekon suspects in the Turkish courts were published in a Turkish Cypriot newspaper. Soyer’s spokesman Ahmet Muratoglu yesterday said, “There are claims about former president Rauf Denktash and leader of the National Unity Party Dervish Eroglu in the bill of indictment prepared by against suspects in the Ergenekon trial in Turkey”. He added that the claims had been read by Soyer in the press.

The leaked prosecution report included documents allegedly belonging to chief of the Turkish Metal Workers’ Union Mustafa Ozbek who has been under arrest in Turkey as a suspected Ergenekon member since January. The documents and taped telephone conversations appeared to suggest that Ozbek and the Ergenekon organisation had in 1998 sought to topple Denktash by setting up cells to frighten off his backers. The documents also seemed to suggest that opposition parties were infiltrated with the aim of weakening them.

Reacting to the request for an enquiry Denktash yesterday told the press he was “not taking this seriously”.

“Last night Mr Soyer said he had a leaked report that in the 1998 election Mustafa Ozbek and organisations related to him spent a lot of money trying to oust me. Even though I was re-elected [in 1998], the next day he says he is going to present the case to the prosecutor,” Denktash said, adding, “This doesn’t work against me; it’s covers me because Ergenekon was trying to get me out.

Denktash said he believed the motivation behind the enquiry was to influence the outcome of the April 19 election in the north where Eroglu’s National Unity Party (UBP) is leading in the polls.

“It is interesting that this comes on the eve of the election,” the former leader said.

However, Soyer’s spokesman denied there was political motivation behind the call for the enquiry.

“The timing has nothing to do with the election; it has to do with the fact that the evidence emerged just two or three days ago,” he told the Cyprus Mail. He added that “public interest and the seriousness of the allegations” made an enquiry vital.

The spokesman also said the enquiry would not affect Eroglu’s ability to stand in the coming week’s election as leader of party.

“He is innocent until found guilty,” he said, but added that legal proceedings against one or both of them would be instigated if evidence of wrongdoing were uncovered.

In a programme on Turkish Cypriot TV on Tuesday night Denktash told interviewers he was aware there had been efforts to topple him and that Mustafa Ozbek was involved in these. But on whether he himself was a member of the underground organisation Denktash said, “Am I in Ergenekon, or am I not? I don’t know either”.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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