The Huffington Post
September 16, 2009

The name "Ergenekon" may not be familiar to non-Turks, but this murky
political affaire has riveted Turkey's 70 million people.

Thirty-three members of a neo-fascist group called Ergenekon have been
on trial, accused of murder, terrorism, and trying to overthrow the
elected government. The trial was temporarily suspended after the
courthouse was flooded out during torrential rains that inundated
Istanbul last week, leaving 31 dead.

This fascinating trial has been exposing the workings of the `deep
state,' a powerful cabal of retired and active military officers,
security forces, gangsters, government officials, judges, and business
oligarchs that has long been the real power in this complex nation.

Turkey's military vigorously denies any links to the Ergenekon.

The `deep state' advocates extreme Turkish nationalism and revived
Pan-Turkism, or Turanism, the unification of all Turkic peoples from
Turkey to the Great Wall of China.

Its extreme right-wing members are bitterly anti-Islamic, and
violently oppose any admission of guilt for the mass killing during
World War I of many of the Ottoman Empire's Armenians. Most Turks
insist the killings occurred in the chaos of war and insurrection.
Armenians call it the 20th century's first genocide.

Turkey's hard right also opposes improving relations with neighbors
Armenia and Greece, or making any more concessions to Turkey's sizable
Kurdish minority.

Ergenekon's plotters stand accused of plans to assassinate officials
of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Part(AKP),
a democratic, modernizing movement advocating Islamic principles of
fairer wealth distribution and social welfare.

While AKP is a moderate, centrist party, Turkey's secularists, without
any serious evidence, claim it is the spearhead of a radical Islamic
movement. The real issue is as much about the secularist's right to
protect their long-enjoyed economic and social privileges as it is
about religion.

The plotters reportedly hired hit men to kill leading liberal
intellectuals, including acclaimed writer, Orhan Pamuk, and may have
murdered a prominent Armenian-Turkish journalist and three
Christians. They also oppose Turkey's entry into the EU as a threat to
`Turkishness.'

What makes this case particularly interesting is that Ergenekon may
well be linked to Gladio, a secret, far right underground group
created in the 1950s by the US and NATO during the Cold War as a `stay
behind' guerrillas to resist Soviet invasion or Communist
takeovers. Gladio had a network of agents and caches of arms across
Europe with secret links to NATO intelligence services.

Gladio staged numerous bombing attacks and assassinations during the
1970s and '80s in a effort to promote far right coups in Italy,
Belgium, and Turkey, where it remains active.
A cell was even recently uncovered in Switzerland.

In Italy, Gladio members played a key role in the P2 Masonic Lodge's
plot to overthrow the government. The Vatican's Banco Ambrosiano, its
head, Roberto Calvi, and Italian military intelligence, were also
involved this intrigue.

The Ergenekon plot is one facet of the intense struggle between
Erdogan's Islamist-lite reformists and Turkey's 510,000-man armed
forces which sees itself as defender of the anti-religious,
westernized secular state created in the 1930's by Ataturk, founder of
modern Turkey.

Turkey's generals are closely allied to the deeply entrenched
secularist oligarchy of business barons, judges, university rectors,
media groups, and the security services that has made Ataturk's memory
and anti-religious values into a state philosophy.

Turkey's right-wing generals have overthrown three governments and
ousted a fourth. The Turkish military establishment is traditionally
close to the US and Israel, with whom it's had extensive military,
arms and intelligence dealings.

Until PM Erdogan's election, the military was Turkey's real government
behind a thin façade of squabbling elected politicians, a fact lost on
western observers who used to urge Turkey's "democratic" political
model on the Muslim world.

An intensifying struggle is under way between the two camps. On the
surface, it's "secularism versus Islamic government." But that's just
shorthand for the fierce rivalry between the military-industrial-security
complex and Erdogan's supporters, many of whom are recent immigrants
to the big cities from rural areas, where Islam remains vital in spite
of eight decades of government efforts to stamp it out or tightly
control it.

Right-wing forces recently got allies in the Appeals Court to lay
spurious corruption charges against Turkey's respected President,
Abdullah Gul. The Erdogan government struck back by levying a US $2.5
billion tax fine on the powerful Dogan media conglomerate that has
been a fierce critic and enemy of the prime minister. Both foolish
acts injure Turkey's image as a modern democracy.

Erdogan has been Turkey's best, most popular prime minister. He has
enacted important political, social, legal and economic reforms, and
has drawn Turks closer to Europe's laws and values. He stabilized
Turkey's formerly wild finances and brought a spirit of real democracy
to Turkey. The EU keeps warning Turkey's growling generals to keep out
of politics.

After 50 years of trying, Turkey still can't get into the European
Union. Europe clearly wants an obedient Turkey to protect its eastern
flank and fend off more troublesome Muslims, but not an equal partner
and certainly not a new member, even though Turkey is as qualified for
the EU as Bulgaria or Romania.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's Nicholas Sarkozy, both
leaders of Europe's anti-Muslim right, keep saying no to the Turks.
The EU wants no more farmers - and productive, lower cost ones at that
- and no more Muslims.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress