7 August 2013
Yesterday’s verdicts in the Ergenekon case proved once again that Turkish society still has a long way to go before it develops a culture of democracy and rule of law.
According to the prosecution, the Ergenekon network was the very essence of Turkey’s “deep state” – carrying out assassinations and false flag operations in order to overthrow democratically-elected governments. Prosecutors contended that Ergenekon operatives even plotted a coup against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from 2004 through 2007. Dozens of nationalist officers, policemen, academics, and journalists were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
The case was a great opportunity for Turkey to put an end to its problematic tradition of military supremacy in politics. But allegations of trumped-up evidence, lengthy detentions, lack of societal consensus over the verdict, and, most importantly, the possibility that Ergenekon may not even be finished raise a very dangerous specter for Turkey.