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ANKARA: Lawyers Refute Ergenekon Suspect's Defense

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  • ANKARA: Lawyers Refute Ergenekon Suspect's Defense


    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.