Friday, March 21, 2008

The Ergenekon Probe widens

From the Turkish Daily News:

The police investigation that began with the seizure of several hand grenades in a shanty house in Istanbul was broadened to include more public figures yesterday, including daily Cumhuriyet's lead columnist İlhan Selçuk, Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek and former Istanbul University Rector Professor Kemal Alemdaroğlu.

This is getting into dangerous territory. The police have detained some very well known members of the secularist left for involvement in the Ergenekon investigation. This was an investigation into a plot to assassinate various members of the government, and intelligentsia (Orhan Pamuk's name keeps getting mentioned in the news reports) and the creation of conditions conducive to the overthrow of the government. Previously people detained included a retired general academics and lawyers. The latest arrests up the ante considerably. Ilhan Selcuk is a very big name among the Kemalists. Dogu Perincek is a old time Maoist communist whose Workers Party is one of the few that survived the 70's. The secularists are already portraying these detentions as a plot by the government against the Kemalist. This has the potential to get very bad very quickly.


Ilhan Selcuk has been released and told not to leave the country. The prohibition on an octagenarian leaving the country has been greeted with some disgust in the media. Erdogan made a plea for unity and the rule of law.

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