ISTANBUL (Zaman)–A new document from the archives of the Grey Wolves, a secret ultra-nationalist gang, also known as Ergenekon, revealed that the Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) paid regular salaries to ultranationalists to carry out illegal operations.
Ergenekon is a neo-nationalist gang believed to be the extension of a clandestine network of groups with members in the armed forces has discovered that the group was plotting to stage a coup against the government in the year 2009 and that suspects so far apprehended are only the collaborators of the real plotters in the military.
The MIT has been suspected for a long time, but this was the first time a document appeared in court that exposed the details of an episode in which some members of the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) extreme nationalist groups, also known as the Grey Wolves, were armed and funded by the state to carry out political murders.
The document, found in the Grey Wolves archives and presented to a civil court of law last month along with the indictment against the group’s suspected members, revealed a deal made between various ultranationalists who had fled the country as fugitives after being involved in a number of acts of political violence in the days preceding the violent coup on Sept. 12, 1980, most significantly the murder of Milliyet newspaper Editor-in-Chief Abdi Ipekci in 1977 and the brutal killings of seven left-wing university students in 1978.
These nationalists–including Abdullah Catli, Oral Celik and Mehmet Sener, who are all publicly associated with such activities as the drug trade, extortion, and the kidnappings and murders of southeastern businessmen–were hired to assassinate targets, mostly members of Armenian terrorist organization the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, which frequently attacked Turkish targets abroad in those days. Later, some of them were brought back to Turkey to stage illegal operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In January, the lawyer for Yasin Aydin, one of the suspects charged in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, himself appeared before an Istanbul court yesterday as a suspect in the Ergenekon operation.
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An earlier record of evidence MIT operations only included the Catl%u031’s and Haluk’s. The document from the Ergenekon investigation was found at the office of the Workers’ Party, a small neo-nationalist party whose leader is currently in jail over alleged Ergenekon membership. It lists the names of everyone on the assassination team and reveals that Catl%u031 acted as the group’s leader, or "reis" as they are referred to in Grey Wolf circles.
According to the Ergenekon document titled "The Armenian Question 2000-2002," the administrators in power in 1982–the generals who staged the Sept. 12 coup–decided to retaliate against ASALA’s terrorist attacks. MIT’s Deputy Regional Director Metin Gunyol was assigned to lead the operation. He quit his position at MIT in order not to expose his true identity and flew to Europe under the name Veli Ozpunar. Once in Europe, Gunyol contacted former Grey Wolf Cengiz Comert.
Comert was later mentioned in a parliamentary commission report prepared after the Susurluk affair of 1996–a car accident that exposed for the first time the shadowy relations between state security forces and the criminals they were employing for operations outside the law–as being linked to the murder of southeastern businessman Mehmet Ali Yaprak, who was kidnapped and then killed.
Guyol, after his initial contact with Coert, set up a team of 12 individuals, including Abdullah Catli (using the name Mehmet Sarol), Oral Celik (Atilla Celik) and Mehmet Sener (Durmus Unutmaz); others included former nationalist club leaders Ramiz Ongun, Enver Tortas, Tevfik Esensoy, Bedri Ates (Ugur Ozgobek), Rifat Yildirim, Turkmen Onur and Uzeyir Bayrakli.
The MIT initially allocated $320 monthly to this group from the state’s discretionary funds for fighting terrorism; later they increased the amount to $4,700. The group was supplied with five 7.65 mm Belgian Brownings, five nine mm Brownings, two Kalashnikovs, nine blocks of TNT, five blocks of plastic explosive and other ammunition delivered by couriers.
The group bombed the Armenian genocide memorial in Alfortville, Paris, on May 3, 1984. The French police soon discovered that the operation was commanded by the Turkish MIT.
The indictment against Ergenekon argues that based on information from the group’s archive, the network planned to "learn" from MIT’s "experience against the ASALA." Ergenekon’s alleged plan was to turn Turkey’s economy into a narcotics-based industry, which would erode American support for Turkey and at the same time "end peace and stability in Armenia completely and until the end of time."