ISTANBUL (Marmara)–In the aftermath of testimony by suspects in Turkey’s coup plot trial, know as the Ergenekon case, new details about an assassination plot against Armenian Patriarch Arch. Mesrop Mutafyan have surfaced.
Ibrahim Sahin, former deputy chairman of the National Police Department’s Special Operations Unit, who testified Sunday, revealed that those assigned to assassinate the patriarch had obtained photos of the cleric through Google images and had the Patriarchate under surveillance for weeks and planned to gun down the Patriarch in his car.
Sahin also revealed that the head of the Armenian community of Sivas, businessman Minas Guler would also be assassinated at the same time as the Patriarch.
In his testimony, Sahin detailed that the weapons to be used for these plots were obtained from the military, calling into question the Turkish military’s role in Ergenekon, a clandestine organization attempting to create chaos and undermine stability in order to trigger a coup against the Turkish government.
The Turkish media reported that during the investigation of Sahin’s residence police discovered a file containing extensive plans to assassinate Sevket Pamuk, the brother of Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. Evidently after the Turkish government promised Orhan Pamuk state protection, the plotters turned their focus to his brother, who is also a historian specializing in Ottoman history.
In remarks to the Spanish daily El Pais, Sevket Pamuk called the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, a unique figure in Turkish history who had made mistakes. Nationalists saw that as an anti-Turkish statement and targeted the professor as part of their plot.
While in court, Sahin also he stated that he was assigned by 7th Army Commander Gen. Bekir Kalyoncu, currently on active duty, to set up a team of 300 officers to be employed in a new anti-terrorism department.
Sahin was arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and violation of Turkey’s Firearms Law No. 6136.
Sahin made shocking declarations to the court, saying he was assigned by 7th Army Commander Gen. Bekir Kalyoncu, currently on active duty, to set up a team of 300 officers to be employed in a new anti-terrorism department. Kalyoncu also promised that Sahin would be undersecretary of the new unit. Sahin claimed he has been working to set up this new structure. He said a document titled S-1, listing military officers and police special operations unit members under the age of 30, found in his home during the police search, was a list of officers to be chosen for the special force.
In a prompt statement released shortly after noon, the General Staff denied Sahin’s statemen’s. "Certain stories have been published concerning Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] personnel. These stories do not reflect the truth," the brief statement said.
Also in his testimony, Sahin said he had always fought against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) during his time with the police department. "I set up the Special Operations Unit in 1993 based on the orders of the Interior Ministry, where I stayed until 1996. I left my post after the Susurluk incident. I was given six months in jail, although I had nothing to do with Susurluk. I was jailed in 2003. I had been permanently disabled in an accident I had in 2000. I was pardoned by the Presidency based on a report from the Forensic Medicine Council. After I retired, not liking where the country was headed, I started writing books to express my opinions. I shared my opinions on local TV stations. I shared the information that the PKK terrorist organization is actually run by Armenia’s," he said.
In response to questions about a list of people to be assassinated and also a map which led police to an underground weapons cache in Ankara, Sahin told the court he had nothing to do with the plans. "A criminological examination would show that the handwriting there is not mine. Plus they say flamethrowers were found.
The police do not have such weapons, the military does. I could not have done such a thing. If it were me, I would have buried them in more desolate territory, such as in Elmadag. I had nothing to do with the weapons, and I didn’t plan an attack against anyone."
Weapons, flamethrowers and hand grenades were found buried under ground in Ankara’s Golbasi district after last week’s detentions. The site was excavated according to instructions found on a map located in Sahin’s house during a police search.
Meanwhile, a new excavation was started yesterday in Ankara’s Sincan district based on new evidence acquired during last week’s searches