Friday, 24 October 2008

Ergenekon and Cyprus

The trial began this week in Turkey of the Ergenekon group of ultranationalist supporters and members of the Turkish ‘deep state’, which, in order to thwart the perceived drift of the country to liberalism and Islamism, allegedly plotted through terrorism and black propaganda to bring Turkey to the brink of chaos and precipitate in this way a military coup.

Writing in today’s Turkish Daily News, Mustafa Akyol indicates how events in Cyprus around the time of the Annan negotiations and plan in 2003-4 were of particular concern to Ergenekon, and how the then Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash urged the Turkish military to step in and put an end to the Annan process.

The Ergenekon-Cyprus link tells us a great deal about Turkey’s attitude towards the island; and makes us wonder that since the ‘deep state’, whose fiefdom occupied Cyprus is, was so hostile to the Annan plan – generally regarded as having met all fundamental Turkish demands on Cyprus – then what can we expect from the current negotiations between Christofias and Talat? If the pro-Turkish Annan plan brought Turkey to the brink of a coup, then what hope can there be for even more ‘concessions’ from the Turks this time round?

Anyway, here’s an excerpt from Akyol’s piece regarding Cyprus:

‘In 2003, United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan prepared a plan for the unification of the divided island. For Turkey's nationalists, including the Grand Old Man of Cyprus… Rauf Denktaş, this meant "accepting the Greek yoke". And those who supported the plan were "traitors" who were "selling" Turkish land to foreigners.

‘Denktaş had actually followed this "rejectionist" line for decades with strong support from Ankara. Their motto read, "The best solution to Cyprus is no solution." Hence the Ankara-financed artificial state in northern Cyprus would survive.

‘However, the AKP government was determined to find a solution to the problem, which, itself, was continuously blocking Turkey's entry into the EU. In January 2004, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan took the matter in his hands and reaffirmed to Kofi Annan that the Turkish government was accepting his role as a negotiator. Therefore, the "Annan Plan," which was categorically rejected by Denktaş when it first came out, gained momentum.

‘And hell broke loose in Ankara. For the hotheads in the military, and the like-minded, the government was now guilty of not just "Islamism" but also "treason." That's why some "unnamed generals," among which we have every reason to think that [the hawkish] Gen. Yalman and Gen. Eruygur were present, started lobbying for a military coup. They spoke with not only their fellow officers, but also some business and media circles. The operation they planned was named "sarıkız," or "blonde girl."

‘But, apparently, they could not gain enough support and the plot failed. Therefore, Denktaş had to go to New York for a second time, quite unwillingly, to negotiate with the Greeks. On the road, he called Chief of Staff General Özkök and asked, "Why doesn't the military do something?" "Constitutionally," said the law-abiding general, "this is all that we can do."

‘According to [the journalist] İsmet Berkan, "then Denktaş understood that the two generals, Yalman and Eruygur, have not been able to overcome Gen. Özkök."

‘In other words, Turkey had barely survived a coup.’

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