January 08, 2012, Sunday

Başbuğ in prison: someone is lying

On Nov. 15, 2009, I wrote in this column that a mysterious soldier sent a letter to prosecutors giving the details of several websites with illegal content that propagated lies about the Justice and Development Party (AKP), practicing Muslims and Kurds.

These websites incited people to hatred, and they provoked civil strife between Turks and Kurds, Sunnis and Alevis, etc. They claimed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife were secret Jews. Anti-EU and anti-US rhetoric was also widespread in these full-of-lies websites. The mysterious soldier also gave the credit card details of the owners of these websites, who paid the hosting fees with their own cards. I also remember writing that, in regard to the question of who is at the top of this illegal hierarchy, even though all the signs pointed in the same direction, I did not think we would be brave enough to face the answer. Close followers of Turkish politics knew what I meant. I was simply implying that the former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ was obviously behind all these illegal activities, but Turkish democracy was not strong enough to question him. But as of today, Mr. Başbuğ is in prison.

So, what happened? In the Sept. 12, 2010, constitutional reform referendum, despite all the efforts of the bureaucratic oligarchy, helped by all of the opposition parties including the Kurdist Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the Turkish people decisively voted in favor of reform. And this reform made it possible to change the structure of the judiciary to one more democracy-friendly. The judges and prosecutors are no longer being intimidated by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). The Constitutional Court is no longer full of oligarchic white Turks who hate their own nation, its values and decisions. That made not only judges and prosecutors but also the AKP braver. In the June 12, 2011 elections, the AKP received 50 percent of the vote, helping to further consolidate Turkish democracy. In the meantime we have observed that some members of the AKP showed signs of weakness against the Ergenekon terror organization, but generally speaking, because of its voter base’s firm support of the Ergenekon cases, the AKP at least could stand by the cases, enabling security forces to assist the heroic and historic efforts of the prosecutors.

All of this demoralized the Ergenekon suspects, in particular former Col. Dursun Çiçek as well as several other jailed generals who have become increasingly frustrated that their un-imprisoned collaborators will not be able to help them, and so they started talking. First it was Mr. Çiçek who admitted that he prepared the memo ordering military officers to establish and run these libelous anti-democracy and anti-AKP websites. Then, all of the officers including Mr. Başbuğ admitted that such a document indeed existed, but they pointed their fingers at Çiçek as the person responsible for the document.

We expected that, as a proper soldier and commander, Mr. Başbuğ would accept responsibility and try to save his former subordinates, but he denied their accusations and confessions. What a misery. Even this single act, their betrayal of each other, shows that they do not believe they were engaged in an honorable activity. We thought that we were spending this nation’s fortune to train these soldiers so that they would sacrifice their lives, not only to protect this nation but also to protect each other. Here, no one is trying to take their lives, but our military officers prefer to squeal on each other. What is more, one of the parties -- either Mr. Başbuğ or the other generals -- is definitely and inescapably lying.

Look at what your stupid anti-democratic and Islamophobic ideology has done to you.

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