The 173rd hearing in the second Ergenekon trial took place at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court on Monday. Ergenekon is a shadowy crime organization that has alleged links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government.
As suspects were cross-examined, İbrahim Özcan, a suspect jailed in the case, asked Yüksel Dilsiz, another suspect in the case but one who is not incarcerated, whether he is a suspect, witness or secret witness in the case.
The presiding judge, Hasan Hüseyin Özese, intervened and told Özcan that he cannot ask that of Dilsiz because that kind of question could expose the identity of a secret witness, if Dilsiz is a secret witness in the case. Dilsiz told the court Özcan has asked him many times before whether he is a secret witness in the case and threatened him. “When we left the courtroom during previous hearings to drink tea or go to the toilet, you [Özcan] asked me whether I am secret witness. I told you that I am not a secret witness, but you threatened me, saying, ‘Do you know what happens to secret witnesses?’” Dilsiz said.
Özcan denied Dilsiz’s claims. The Ergenekon investigation began in July 2007 when a house was found full of weapons and munitions in İstanbul’s Ümraniye district. The police investigation resulted in the discovery of a shady gang within the state and possibly the military that had attempted to create the right atmosphere for a military takeover of a number of governments, and most recently that of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Academics, businessmen, mafia bosses and retired military officers, including former generals, are among the dozens of suspects in the case. The Ergenekon trial began in 2008.