Saturday, 9 April 2011

Arrested Turkish journalist answers accusations from prison

There is a “deep state” in Turkey known by many names, but the Ergenekon investigation and the ongoing trials are not an effort to eliminate it – it’s just a changing of the actors, according to recently journalist Ahmet Şık.

Şık made the comment as he shed light on the accusations regarding his book draft in an interview conducted via postal mail with the monthly Express magazine.

According to Şık, the police and prosecutors who run the investigation are connected to the Fethullah Gülen religious community. As mentioned in the Ergenekon book “40 satır 40 katır” (Between a rock and a hard place) he co-wrote, and his court testimony before arrest, Şık said although he believes in the “deep state,” often also known as Ergenekon, is real; this investigation is not the cure.

The content of Şık’s latest work, “İmamın Ordusu” (The Imam’s Army), has been the hottest topic in Turkey since his arrest on March 3. At the time of his arrest, he told reporters, “Those who touch them, burn.” The demand of Şık’s release by his lawyers was denied by court a second time Friday.

Şık has been accused of writing his book under orders of Ergenekon and the notes found on drafts of his book have been offered as proof by various Turkish columnists who argue that his arrest is just. Şık said that while he was being questioned by prosecutors he was asked only about the notes on the draft allegedly found during a raid on news portal OdaTV offices on Feb. 17 and that the notes were his. Once more, Şık stated he is a socialist and had no relation to the ultra-nationalist news portal and is unaware of how a digital copy of the draft ended up there. The notes found on other copies belonged to a source that he sent the draft to for checking the information that the source had provided, Şık said. “It is no different than a reporter sending the text to an interviewee to check.” He also said “İmamın Ordusu” was a draft title suggested by a friend that he found “provocative” and was looking for another one.

Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist, shadowy gang known accused of planning to topple the government by staging a coup initially by spreading chaos and mayhem. It is allegedly an extension of the “deep state;” an unofficial organization within the state that operated above the elected governments since the Cold War.


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