In his essay, the famous Turkish author Ahmet Altan describes the background to the Ergenekon affair and what it means to Turkish society. (click here for the full essay) Excerpts:
Turkey is like a hell in the middle of paradise… Death, murders, assassinations, gangs, bombs, political traps, racism, religious conflicts, power games and lawlessness repeatedly cause terrible suffering..
According to the public prosecutor, the ranks of the [Ergenekon] conspirators include members of the army, judiciary, bureaucracy, the business sector and the media, who attempted to provoke a putsch by criminal and terrorist means. The coup was set to take place in 2009.
In a major operation, the public prosecutor has had a large number of the network’s members arrested since January 2008. Although over 80 defendants, including former army officers, lawyers and journalists, have been on the bench since 20 October last, many members of the secret society are still at liberty…
Ergenekon’s view is something along these lines: Turkey is a republic founded by generals. This means that the army still plays a central role in politics… The majority of Turks with western lifestyles, western education and western literary tastes, who enjoy going out and dancing – in short: those whom a European in Turkey would be more likely to befriend – were against western democracy.
They feared that if everything were to work on a democratic basis, the army would have to step down from power and the “conservatives” might found an Islamic state. Some of them were genuinely afraid, while others did not want to jeopardise their cooperation with the army and the economic advantages and social status that came with it.
The outcome was a rift between those who did not lead western lives, but called for western-style democracy, and those who behaved like the West, but were against such a democracy…