Today's Zaman
Nov 20 2008

The testimony of a key suspect in the historic trial of Ergenekon,
a shadowy criminal network suspected plotting to overthrow the
government, who claimed that hand grenades found in his office had
been made for training purposes was refuted by lawyers from the
Cumhuriyet daily in the trial's most recent hearing.

Ergenekon suspect retired Capt. Muzaffer Tekin was previously taken
into custody as part of an investigation into a hand grenade attack
on the offices of the Cumhuriyet daily in May 2006, nearly one year
before the Ergenekon investigation began. An arms cache was discovered
in June 2007 in Ä°stanbul, which triggered the start of the Ergenekon
investigation. The hand grenades found there were from the same series
as those used in the Cumhuriyet attack. Tekin was taken into custody
again in June of this year, after a search of his office revealed
hand grenades from the same batch of grenades. Thus, the newspaper
requested co-plaintiff status in the case when the Ergenekon trial
started Oct. 20.

In his court testimony on Tuesday, Tekin said the hand grenades found
in his office were made for training purposes and not for use in an
actual attack. He argued that he was using them only as decorative
items. Cumhuriyet's lawyers, however, refuted Tekin's assertion during
cross-examination, bringing to the court's attention the fact that the
serial numbers of attack grenades and training grenades are always
different and that those found in Tekin's office bore the serial
numbers of attack grenades.

In Tuesday's testimony Tekin also denied that he had spoken to
Alparslan Arslan, the convicted perpetrator of a 2006 attack on
the Council of State building in the capital, more than three or
four times. But when prosecutor Mehmet Ali Pekguzel said during
cross-examination that records showed 31 conversations between him
and Arslan, Tekin replied: "Could be. It's possible that I have
[talked to him that many times]."

Tuesday was the 15th hearing in the case, which is being heard by the
Ä°stanbul 13th High Criminal Court in a makeshift courtroom inside
Silivri Prison near Ä°stanbul. Among the 86 suspects in the trial are
retired Gen. Veli Kucuk and lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, who is known for
filing lawsuits against intellectuals over writings that question
or criticize the state line on issues such as Armenian allegations
of genocide. Forty-six of the suspects are in custody, and the rest
have been released pending the outcome of the trial.

In Tuesday's session Engin Celik Kadıgil, a lawyer for Tekin, mocked
the indictment, saying "They will bring down the government with 21
guns and rifles," referring to weapons seized during the course of
the Ergenekon investigation. However, the lawyer failed to mention
the 39 hand grenades also seized in the same investigation. K

Cumhuriyet lawyer Bulent Utku also demanded that the court order
an examination of the top Ergenekon suspects' cell phone records to
ascertain whether any of them had met between the days of the attack
on Cumhuriyet and the Council of State attack.

Sedat Peker offers first testimony

Sedat Peker, a mafia boss who was already under arrest on other
charges and who is now facing trial for involvement in Ergenekon,
testified for the first time in the trial. In his testimony Peker said
he was part of the trial only because his name had been mentioned
during a recorded phone conversation between two people plotting to
assassinate author Orhan Pamuk. "This telephone record say, they will
talk to the provincial police chief to make sure they are jailed in my
ward. I really would like to see the provincial police chief here. One
could say, 'You can't call him to the court over such a nonsensical
conversation,' but that is exactly what has happened to me. They will,
they say, be placed in my ward. There are no wards in F-type prisons,
they just have cells. I don't know these people," he said.