Court Defense of Doğan Yurdakul, January 27, 2012
TO: THE 16TH HIGH CRIMINAL COURT OF ISTANBUL
File No: 2011/14
Defendant: Dogan Yurdakul
Re: Service of my pre-defense
Your Honor, Esteemed Court,
I stand before you because of my thoughts.
The entirety of the accusations raised against me is directed at my personal thoughts. I consider these accusations, as an insult to my personality and to the freedom of thought and expression in general, since they cause me to defend myself, by aiming at my thoughts and at expressing such thoughts in written or at expressing such thoughts during my telephone communications.
In the meantime, even though indicating and refuting various and fictitious assumptions which constitute the basis of the criminal charge are already like a punishment in the first place, I have to do that so.
Your Honor, when commencing the first hearing, you have suggested as ‘facts and fictions shall be separated’ by the court. By considering your suggestion as an assurance, I am going to try to indicate and answer the fictions mentioned in the criminal charge against myself, on the purpose of simplifying this separation process.
The police have seized my two computers on the date I got detained. None of the so-called ‘documents’ which constitute the grounds of the criminal charge and which are actually hacking products were found on my computers. Moreover, “the input method” of such made up documents has been ascertained by four expert reports which have been obtained by our attorneys, and thus these documents have lost their evidential values.
I got detained pursuant to the arrest warrant (69/50) issued on 02.03.2011 and I got imprisoned pursuant to the investigation report issued (Folder: 28, Page: 259) on 04.03.2011. No evidence against me, other than being called as ‘Dogan’ and ‘Dogan Abi’ in both of two documents named as ‘Hocadan Notlar’ and ‘Soner Bey’den’, could be adduced. Despite the fact that I have denied this accusation at the Prosecution, my detention has been requested and I got imprisoned. There are no other new evidences adduced in the criminal charge or in its attachments which have been issued 6 months after such documents. Only some of my articles and telephone communications concerning newsworthy subjects have been entered into the criminal charge and into its attachments.
THE LOGIC OF CURRENT CHARGES ARE NOT DIFFERENT THAN THE CHARGES ISSUED DURING MILITARY COUP ERAS
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
I am not being detained because of my thoughts for the very first time. This case is a ‘déjà vu’ state in my situation. I have already seen this odd movie, twice. However, they were during two different military coup eras. I have never been sent to jail because of my thoughts during any of the civil government periods which I inveigh against. I happen to be sent to jail for the very first time because of my articles I wrote during the period of a civil government which calls itself ‘Advanced Democrat’!
The persecution I face with during the military coup eras and during this period shows similarity in terms of their effects on my private life.
Your Honor, I smiled in sorrow from deep inside when you asked my marital status during the identification because I got married with my first wife when I was convicted in Mamak Prison. I lost my second wife when I was under arrest in Silivri Civil Campus. In 1981, my daughter was two years old and lived in exile with me and with her mother and she used a United Nations Passport for years. Now she is 32 years old, she lives in France and she follows what his father is being through by following the events on internet and on social networking sites.
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
I have never been able to stand before my natural judge as a result of the articles I have written. I stood before Martial Law Courts, State Security Courts and now I stand before the Special Court. When I told this to my attorney, Mr Serkan Gunel, he responded as: ‘Then, you have stood before your natural judge only during your divorce’. I wish for your court to set a first step to give an end to this suffering, of the journalists and authors of this country, caused by being have to stand before extraordinary courts because of their thoughts.
I had been convicted for 20 months in Mamak Military Prison during the Coup of March 12th. I got sentenced to more than 200 years. They all got set to zero when the Article 142 of Turkish Criminal Code got revoked. Back then, the rationalization of ‘squelching the thoughts’ was ‘being a communist’, now this fact has turned up to be ‘being a terrorist’. Namely, there is no difference at all from the viewpoint of hostility against fundamental rights and freedoms.
It is not possible to say that there is a difference in terms of the logic established within the procedure of preliminary investigation, either. Back then, they used to try to find evidence through defendants and now they are still trying to find evidence through defendants. Back then, they used to find an individual whom they were not happy with his/her thoughts and fabricate a crime which fits him/her, they currently do the same so. I would like to give an example to this former procedure.
I was put on trial within the scope of TIIKP (Revolutionary Worker Villager Party of Turkey) a.k.a. ‘Safak Davasi’ (Dawn Case) during the Coup of September 12th. There was another case called as ‘Revolutionary Organization of Land Forces’ pending at the same time against some Army Officers in addition to this case. A First Lieutenant who was one of the defendants of such case had experienced this event. We had found the chance to hear the story from him since he was shuttling back and forth together with us between the prison and the Martial Court.
This First Lieutenant had gotten informed on as ‘a communist, even an anarchist’ by another Army Officer an acquaintance of his because of a private hostility between them. Even back then, likewise today, such charges used to cause being placed under arrest just like today’s terrorism charges do. They start torturing the First Lieutenant when they capture him and put him under pressure by saying ‘confess, which organization are you from’. The First Lieutenant resists for a while by responding as ‘I am not into politics, what crime are you talking about?’, however he cannot stand the torture even though he resists and says ‘Okay, stop it, I will confess’. They call a halt to torturing. However the First Lieutenant neither had heard of an organization name nor did he have an idea about this matter. “Could you list me the names of the organizations?’ he says and they list them so. He asks about the penalties appraised for the membership of such organizations, and they tell him. He asks the organization which requires the lightest sentence and they say ‘Penalty for being a member of Safak Organization is 7-15 years’, and he says ‘Okay, I am a member of this organization then’. They obtain his written deposition confessing the membership of ‘Revolutionary Organization of Land Forces’ and have it signed. They also torture other defendants and get them to confess their relationships with him, and he gets arrested pursuant to the Article 141 of the Turkish Criminal Code.
The sole fact which is different today in the procedure of finding a defendant first and then fabricating a crime fitting the defendant is technology which has been replaced with torture. Now, a defendant with offensive thoughts is being determined and s/he gets connected with a fictional organization by means of anonymous advice notes, anonymous witness testimonies, wire tapping, bugging and other technical surveillances. There may be differences in methods; however, there is no difference in terms of prejudice and malevolence against the defendant. However, people see it even in the movies and on TV that this is not the way of doing it within the scope of contemporary law.
Various TV shows about crime scene investigation, forensic medicine and even shows about law, demonstrate how carefully the evidences such as hair, feather, and cigarette butts etc. are being gathered and evaluated. We also witness that even the confession of the defendant alone is not sufficient to open a case most of the time, furthermore, support of a psychologist is demanded in such cases since ‘a human being in a normal state of mind does not confess his/her wrongdoings’. We see that the judges deny the case if prosecutors cannot provide the court with concrete evidences.
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
The officials, who had carried out the investigations back in the military period I have mentioned, at least tried to fit the charges in a cast. Today even such attempt is not found necessary, various crime types are invented depending on the situation of the defendant. I will present the examples of this fact arising from the accusations directed at me.
THIS CRIMINAL CHARGE IS AGAINST THE PRINCIPLE OF ‘NULLA POENA SINE LEGE’.
New crime types which do not exist in the laws have been created in the criminal charge. Some selected sentences, even some of the words, picked out of my articles and of my telephone communications have been tried to be fit into these created crimes.
Some examples out of these made-up crimes, which also mean the violation of my area of freedom of thought, are as follows:
1.’Influencing the world of politics’: Such issue has been considered as a crime and referring to me on the 22nd page of the criminal charge, it is mentioned as ‘it is ascertained that an intensive study is being carried out within this scope’. Moreover, the crime of performing social engineering has been created as a sub-crime of this ‘crime’. In line with such made-up crimes, some sentences taken out of various telephone communications and some parts of various articles and news have been quoted as ‘corpus delicti’ under the title ‘actions carried out on the purpose of influencing the government and opposition parties’.
The idiom of ‘sideways engineering’ has entered into the Turkish Dictionary of TDK (Turkish Linguistic Society), however the idiom of ‘social engineering’ has not. In effect, this term is being used widely by the media members to present the meaning of ‘influencing the society, canalizing the public opinion into a direction’ as a metaphor, however, using such metaphor to define a crime is not compatible with neither legitimacy nor solemnity of a criminal charge which is served to a court in order to provide heavy imprisonments against individuals.
2. ‘Crime of creating a perception such as there is an ongoing civil war in the country’: One of the ‘news’ cited for this made up crime on the 112th page of the criminal charge is an article of mine bearing the title ‘Çelebi Efendi O Kitabı Tanıdı: Yeni Soğuk Savaş’ (Celebi Efendi Recognizes The Book: The New Cold War). It is obvious that the word of ‘War’ mentioned in the title of this article which was repeated 4 times in the Attachments (6/391, 17/153, 28/40 ve 62/157) evokes the charged ‘crime’. However, as it can clearly be understood from the title of this one paragraph article, a book is being discussed in the article. It is being mentioned in the article that, Ilker Basbug, The Chief of General Staff at the time the article was written, suggests his visitors Fatih Altayli and Murat Bardakci by showing the book that ‘new external threat’ is being discussed in the book. Namely it has nothing to do with civil war, furthermore knowing that the term cold war is not related to the term civil war is not an issue of intelligence. On the other hand, this new ‘crime type’ invented by the ciriminal charge does not have a place in the Turkish Dictionary of TDK, either. There is no idiom such as ‘creating perception’ is in the dictionary. The word ‘Perception’ is in the dictionary and it has the following meanings:
(According to the Turkish meaning of the word Algi (Perception))
1) income, receivable, bribe, tax
2) the spoon used to collect poppy milk
3) (in psychology) directing attention on something for it to be borne in upon, comprehend
‘Causing to perceive’ (Algilatmak) is also in the dictionary, and it means ‘causing to comprehend’ however the word ‘creating perception’ is not Turkish, this criminal charge has to define this new ‘crime type’ once again.
3. The crime of diminishing the reputation of Ergenekon case and its efficiency on public opinion
The statements I have made during a telephone conversation with Soner Yalcin and what I have written in one of my articles are cited as ‘evidences’ of the ‘crime’ derived on the 113th page of the criminal charge. What do ‘reputation’ and ‘efficiency on public opinion’ of a case mean? There is no word in TDK Turkish Dictionary such as diminishing the reputation (itibarsizlastirmak). The verb ‘discredit’ means: damage in reputation; The verb ‘diminishing the reputation’ (itibarsizlastirmak) means: losing its reputation and value. The equivalent of this word in French is ‘discrediter’ and it means falling from grace, losing face. Since the root of this word is credit, you can call it as losing credit! Reputation is abstract, relative, nominal, namely again according to TDK, ‘something considered as a fact when it is actually not. Fiction’. Therefore, when you are talking about the reputation of a case, it means you are talking about something ‘fictitious’, namely something ‘disputable’. I wonder, why does not the reputation of a case such as a homicide, rape, drug dealing, robbery, malpractice become an issue, but only the reputation of some of the political cases become an issue. Is it because of the hesitation caused by the fragile structure of the criminal charge? Whatever, let’s skip it. There is not a crime such as diminishing the reputation of a case and its efficiency on public opinion, available in our laws. Therefore, charging me with such a crime is not legal.
4. ‘The crime of mentioning that the prosecutors of Ergenekon are not interested in Susurluk’: It is raised on the pages 76, 112 and 121 of the criminal charge that I have committed this crime during an online meeting held on MSN about current news, by means of asking the question of ‘Why is Mehmet Agar being questioned?’. 15 years after I committed this ‘crime’(15.09.2011), Mehmet Agar got sentenced to 5 years, I do not want to talk about the case since it is still at the stage of appeal. I just would like to settle this discussion by reminding the fact that everyone has been asking this question in the papers, on TV and even in the cafés since Mehmet Eymur got questioned within the scope of ‘murders by unknown assailants’ investigation.
5. ‘The crime of Encouraging the people of our country to hit the streets by making news citing the events in Egypt’: It is raised that (Criminal Charge p. 15, 68, 112) I have committed this ‘crime’ during a telephone conversation about the current news with Baris Pehlivan by discussing how to publish the news of the mass picketing to be organized in Ankara against the ‘Bag Law’ by various unions. As a matter of fact, neither Egypt nor the events in Egypt have been mentioned in the news which constitutes the basis of the assertion, however, if drawing an analogy with the Arab Spring is considered as a crime, then it is possible to observe that such ‘crime’ is being committed in the newspapers and on the televisions every day and every hour. I will not dwell on this new ‘crime type’ any further. However I feel obligated to mention these examples: The Time Magazine named ‘the protesters’ as the person of this year. Stephan Hessel who is almost 100 years old wrote a tiny little book called as ‘Indignez vous’ – ‘Time for Outrage’ and it sold millions all over the world. One of the notable legists of Turkey, Sami Selcuk said: ‘We have to stand against slavery’. So it means that, there is a thin line to be determined fairly between the freedom of expression and encouraging people for grudge and hostility.
Other than those I have mentioned, the criminal charge includes various charges such as ‘crime of disinformation’ and ‘crime of black propaganda’.
As is mentioned by my friends who took the floor before me and by our attorneys, the rule of ‘Nulla poena sine lege’ is one of the fundamental tenets of law. No man can be judged because of a crime which has not been expressly defined by the laws. Every single act which is not expressly defined as a crime by the laws is within the area of freedom of an individual. Accusing an act within the area of freedom by means of made up grounds is the violation of such area of freedom.
It is our right to expect the presence of solemnity and legitimacy within such criminal charge which demands such heavy punishments.
THE CRIMINAL CHARGE HAS BEEN PREPARED ‘WORD SENSITIVE’.
The persons who prepared the criminal charge assume that writing or using some words constitutes evidence for the crime of ‘membership of a terrorist organization’. There is a search engine on the homepage of the internet site of Oda TV which I am also a columnist of it. When you type the names, for instance, ‘Ergenekon Case’, ‘Coup’, ‘War’, ‘Weapon’, ‘Psychological Movement’, ‘Phone Tapping’, ‘Ocalan’, ‘PKK’, ‘AKP’, together with the name Dogan Yurdakul and click on the search button, you can find the articles I have written until the date I got arrested which have the titles including these keywords amongst 255 articles of mine. The persons who prepared the criminal charge and its attachments obviously used such method and picked the articles with similar keywords in their titles without spending an effort to take a look at their contents. Since they did not pay attention whether the contents of the articles serve their purpose, humorous situations occurred. I have given an example above. Another example would be my article with the title ‘A military coup plan or a civil coup plan?’ The news and articles in the papers on that date have been summarized in this article. Its title is also a headline given by a well-known chief editor – columnist for his article published on that date. The persons who prepared the criminal charge thought that the headline was given by me because they did not read the contents of the article and they considered the article as an ‘element of crime’ right when they noticed the word ‘coup’ in the title and filed it. When you take a look at my 47 articles which have been quoted between the 35th and 222nd pages of the Folder Attachment 28, you can clearly see that one or two words in the titles of these articles have been caught by the radar.
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
I have prepared a French-Turkish Dictionary which includes 80.000 words and idioms after 7 years of study. The words considered ominous by the criminal charge are included in this dictionary with their extended explanations. Frankly, I wonder why my dictionary is not among the corpus delicti.
The very same method applies for my telephone communications. For instance, on the 52nd page of the criminal charge, the telephone communication I have had with Soner Yalcin concerning his visit to express his condolence upon my big sister’s pass away has been adduced evidence for ‘organizational contact’ because the word ‘YALCIN HOCA’ (typed in capital letters) was mentioned during it. Making a statement such as ‘The Oda TV Operation is a ‘BLOW’ (typed in capital letters) (T.N.: Blow and Coup is expressed by the same word (Darbe) in Turkish Language) dealt on freedom of press’ during a conversation I have made with Mumtaz Idil is on the 110th page of the criminal charge as a corpus delicti. Again, it is incomprehensible why the statement of ‘WE WILL HAVE TO RE-ORGANIZE THE OFFICE if our friends stay any longer (in prison – (Translator’s Note)) I made during a conversation back then is on the 113th page.
Another example to the ridiculousness of the logic of searching for a crime in being mentioned together with the name of Mr Yalcin Kucuk is demonstrated on the 41st page of the criminal charge. The expression on a note which is alleged to have been ‘seized’ on Mr Kucuk’s computer refers as ‘Dogan Yurdakul is an appropriate name. Candan is smart and from TK, etc’ (T.N.: The name Candan also means ‘Honest’ in Turkish language. According to the form of this sentence, it can also be perceived as ‘Dogan Yurdakul is an appropriate name. He is honest, smart and from TK, etc.’). The conclusion reached in the criminal charge concerning this paragraph, reminds us of the sentence which is used to teach the importance of the place of comma: ‘Woman without her man is nothing’. Candan, who is mentioned in the concerning quote, is another individual. The characteristics listed there are not of me but of that individual. However the conclusion reached in the criminal charge is: ‘Ergenekon Terror Organization gives an instruction to Dogan Yurdakul to behave.’
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
I got graduated from Law School of Ankara University in 1969. We, the seniors of this term, gather once in every 10 years and take a stroll down memory lane. In year 2009, we have organized a meeting at the faculty, with a group of attendants formed by almost 100 friends who are lawyers, prosecutors, judges, academicians, bureaucrats and all are older than 60 years of age, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our graduation and we have had a dinner altogether, afterwards, in the evening. The news I have made about this event with pictures and the telephone conversation I have had with Soner Yalcin concerning this event has been put on the 112th page of the criminal charge and repeated twice in its attachments as ‘an act intended to diminish the reputation of Ergenekon Case’.
As a matter of fact, most of my articles mentioned in the criminal charge and in its attachments are repetitions. They are repeated from 3 to 6 times. My professors at the law school, Prof. Faruk Erem, who had been giving his lectures under the name ‘Humanist Criminal Law’, and Prof. Ugur Alacakaptan whose signature is appended on my diploma; have not taught us something like ‘you give an impression to the judges that a man is a criminal when you repeat an article of a columnist for 40 times.’.
THE CRIMINAL CHARGE PROVES THAT THE STATE STILL CONSIDERS THOUGHT AS A CRIME.
As I have mentioned above, the accusations against me depends on a couple of so-called documents ‘found’ in the computers of Oda TV. Their names are ridiculous, their contents are inconsistent and nonsense, their fashions are even worse than a primary school student could write. If the claims, of writing upon an instruction, raised against a person, such as me who has an accumulation of knowledge developed in more than a half century, is a shame once, then the claims of writing in line with these ‘documents’ is a shame twice. If I happened to see a foolish title such as ‘teRTEmiz’ which reflects the initials of the PM, then I would toss it out even without reading the article below this title instead of writing an article in line with it. However it is raised that I criticized AKP in line with this article. I am a columnist who has been criticizing all governments elected since 1963, with his pen, everyone is aware that I do not need to get instructions from such disturbed people to criticize AKP. For instance, it is being claimed that I have written my article, dated 17.08.2008, with the title ‘So there can be evidence of bribing’, upon the instructions of ‘make news about malpractice’ raised in the fabricated articles with titles ‘Hocadan Notlar’ and ‘teRTEmiz’. My article, which is being mentioned on the 392nd page of the 15th attachment folder, is about the Saban Disli incident which its conclusion is known by everyone. However, the persons, who smelled ‘organizational instruction’ out of the word ‘bribe’ mentioned in the title, did not pay attention to the time and date of the article. This article of mine was written 22 months prior to the fabrication of ‘Hocadan Notlar’ and 5 months prior to the fabrication of ‘teRTEmiz’.
I have watched, both Maras Massacre and Corum Massacre, on site, as a journalist, 30 years ago. The pictures I have taken in Corum, also the news and articles I have written, can be found in the archives of Aydinlik newspaper. Again 30 years ago, I got detained when I was on my way to Trabzon to investigate the murder of a lecturer as a journalist. Today, these two incidents are included in the criminal charge and its attachments as ‘corpus delicti’! Because, two friends of mine with whom I followed those incidents are suspects without arrest in Ergenekon Case! A suspect is a suspect as the name implies, considering that ‘having a phone call with him is an organizational connection’ is ridiculous. Besides I have had my conversations with those friends of mine when Ergenekon Case did not exist. ‘The Organizational Chart’ on the 241st page of the 28th folder which has been drawn depending on such telephone communications is unreasonable and incomprehensible. Moreover, I have never had a telephone call with 2 of the persons in this chart. I am not entering into the details of the telephone tapping in my defense.
Your Honor, Member of the Court,
I have written four investigative books on the Deep State and the background of Military Coups. I have written two of these books in cooperation with my friend Soner Yalcin. Writing a book in cooperation requires a dense information traffic and only authors who have carried out such study can be aware of it. In foreign languages, cooperative performances in the form of two virtuosos giving a piano concert together such as Pekinel Sisters do and cooperative studies in the form of two authors writing a book together such as me and Cengiz Erdinc do, are called as ‘four hands’ study. Accusing the individuals, who have overcome two studies such tough as that, with ‘writing articles upon instructions’ is not fair at least in the conscience of tens of thousands of people who have read such books.
I have reviewed the deep state – mafia relationships in my book called ‘Abi’. It was a pleasant surprise to see a state official whom, in this book, I have presented his actions in the form of using outlaws in corrupt practices, Mehmet Eymur, in this criminal charge. In the beginning of my defense I have mentioned some of the similarities of this case with the ones during the coups of 12th March and 12th September. Availability of the name of a personnel, who has appeared on the backstage of both military coups, in this investigation and besides in the investigation report which constitutes my reason of arrest is another example to that similarity.
Hoping for help from what Mehmet Eymur has written against me is the proof of the failure of the persons, who carry out this investigation, in finding evidence. However, I still want to thank to the persons who have prepared this criminal charge, in this regard. An article published on the internet site called Atin.org which is owned by this individual is entered as the Attachment No: 7 of the investigation report and available on the 243rd page of the 28th folder. Mehmet Eymur, in this article, reveals state secrets by disclosing the information of stationing an agent next door to my mother’s apartment, which is filed in my tagging file at MIT (National Intelligence Organization). I thank to the persons who prepared such investigation report for giving me the opportunity to serve a criminal complaint by evidencing and officializing the malpractice of a state official.
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
I feel ashamed here before the contemporary world for being have to defend my thoughts I have expressed by means of my articles and communications which are taken into the criminal charge. I felt like being through an incident, which I had been through in the past, once again when I read and finished the criminal charge and its attachments. After 12th September, I have served as a translator between the Turkish workers and official authorities in Brussels where I have moved in 1981. A neighborhood of Brussels was like invaded by Turkish migrant workers from Afyon, Emirdag. Their restaurants, cafés, markets and bakeries had Turkish names. They even had an application served to the Municipality intended for the name of the main street of the neighborhood to be changed as Emirdag Street. One day an incident takes place in one of these Turkish restaurants. A Turk wants to break an onion in half in ‘our style’. (T.N.: Crushing the onion by laying it on a solid surface (such as table) and striking a blow on top of it). The bud of the onion pops out and hits another Turk, who is having his meal on the next table, in the eye when he strikes a blow on the onion. Coincidentally, those two men have had hostility against each other for a long time. The person who accidentally got hit in the eye says ‘How dare you!’, grabs fork and knife and attacks on the other one with fury developed by the hostility; following the fight and reciprocal injury and police intervention the matter gets brought to court. The person who got hit by the bud files a complaint against the other person who tried to break the onion in half by saying ‘he attempted to kill me’. I am the translator of the defendant, namely ‘the person who attempted homicide by onion bud’, and his attorney during the hearing. The case cannot proceed because of the insistence of the plaintiff, who got hit in the eye by an onion bud, on his accusation. The judge is in a hard situation since he cannot comprehend the incident. Therefore he seeks my assistance and asks: “Monsieur, is this a common situation in your country? I mean, do people pick a fight over crushing an onion?” So I tell the Belgian judge that they have already been in hostility for a long time, the onion is just an alleged excuse.
Now the Oda TV criminal charge reminds me of this judge. I think like, what if he read this criminal charge? Would he ask me like that?: “Monsieur, do terrorist organizations form in that fashion in your country? I mean, do they kill men by means of articles and books?” I do my best to follow the news and comments on our case published in foreign press. The appearance of the charges in this case are quite similar to ‘homicide attempt with onion bud’, when looking from outside.
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
My profession is writing. I know no other business; I have been earning my life by writing since I was 17. I have been accused because of my articles during the periods March 12th and September 12th. I have been tortured, I have been imprisoned. I have been set free and continued writing. I got imprisoned again, got out and wrote again. Those times passed, the ones who imprisoned me are all forgotten but I am still writing. I am in prison once again, I am going to get out and I will write again. As long as I can hold a pen, I will keep on writing until I am dead.
Your Honor, Members of the Court,
The things written in the accused articles are my thoughts, whether they are liked or not. The only sanction of expressing the thoughts is not being liked if it is not within the frame of insulting. Claiming that ‘forming an armed terrorist organization’ crime is committed by expressing the thoughts, is inventing a new crime type which is not available in law.
Contemporary law does not accept it, contemporary human being does not accept it, neither do I.
I hope and wish for the Esteemed Court to give an end to this déjà vu I am being through, to this bad horror movie.
The accusations against me are groundless and inappropriate. So I request to be released.
S. Dogan Yurdakul
2 No’lu Kapali Cezaevi
B-9 Ust Kogus
Translation by Kerem Ağacikoğlu – Sworn translator
Court Defense of Ahmet Şık (January 5, 2012)
My friends and foes, they both know who I am.
I am a journalist.
Since my friends know me, some of them are sitting here in this courtroom today to follow the hearing. The majority who couldn’t make it inside the room – including those who stand by me despite knowing me in person – have been out on the streets for months. That is to say, I am here simply because I am a journalist who is mindful of professional ethics and is in the pursuit of truth. That’s the reason why my friends are right next to me. And of course since my foes know me as well I am here at this courthouse today as one of the detained defendants.
I have witnessed so many things in my profession over the last 20 years. Without exception, I reported everything factually and accurately. I have never made any news under instruction of any organisation, institution or person. I have never resigned from the news that I wanted to cover due to the interference of any organisation, institution or person either. That’s the reason why both my friends and foes know what kind of a journalist I am. It’s not my intention to explain you my professional background today. However, I have to mention what kind of a journalist I am so that some things can be clearly understood.
When I was arrested months ago, I had stated to the court at that time that a journalist had to be the eye of the blind, ear of the deaf and voice of the dumb. I have never given up this principle. Therefore I have never referred to those that were murdered in extrajudicial killings as “terrorists captured dead in battle”. I have never turned a blind eye to the victims of torture. I have never become an accomplice to the lie that those who disappeared in detention did actually “go to the (terrorist) organisation’s camps”. I have never worn a uniform and got on a military helicopter to see the burnt and ravaged villages and then report them as “heinous attack by separatists”. I have never hidden the fact that the so-called unknown assailants are actually the gunmen of the state. I haven’t swum in the pool blooded by the state and then called myself a journalist. I have written and spoken out the things as I witnessed them happening, unlike some others who consider themselves as disciples of democracy and write about these issues only today.
I have never been one of those journalists who report memorandums and notes- namely each and every document – serviced to them by the military or police. I have never leaned back on governments or power groups in uniform or in ties. In other words, I have never acted as a spokesperson for the government, as a police informant or as a journalist at the service of the army. My only endeavour has been to report the truth accurately. That’s what I was simply doing until the moment I was arrested. That’s exactly the reason why I was obliged to explain how I practiced my profession as a journalist here at this courthouse.
My intention is neither to give you an account of my professional background, nor a lecture on journalism. However, giving a real journalism lesson has become a necessity after I saw all the lies being written about me for months in that well-known media. Yet, as a person who knows his place, I prefer not to make any comment on this subject.
I am here today because of a politically-motivated trial which is devoid of justice and law and which is conducted with falsified and fabricated documents.
I will respond to the allegations and the indictment against me, although I don’t want to do so by any means. Even though I am under detention for more than 10 months because of these allegations and the indictment, I can’t possible take them seriously. Yet I will respond to them, as I bear responsibility towards my friends, my colleagues and the members of the public who have supported me throughout this process. This is a matter of journalistic responsibility. On this occasion I would also like to salute Roland Barthes by citing his words “we are obliged to speak out, not to keep silent”; as I am fully aware of the necessity of speaking out especially in those days we live through.
The indictment which lays the charges reads as follows:
“Though not being part of the hierarchical structure of the Ergenekon Armed Terrorist Organisation, having assisted the organisation by preparing an organisational document that serves for the purpose of the organisation and its activities…”
I have to respond to this allegation in one sentence: The allegation in the indictment is entirely a false accusation, I deny all charges.
It was the first days of my arrest. Somebody said: “We have very confidential evidence, such that we can’t disclose.” However once the indictment appeared in 6,5 months time we have seen that the so-called confidential and inexplicable evidence was only made up of a handful of police notes – in other words lies – serviced to that well-known media.
Yes, according to the indictment I am not a member of the terrorist organisation called Ergenekon; however it is alleged that I have written a book that serves for the purpose of the organisation. When we ask the question what kind of evidence is taken as a basis for such an allegation, there seems to be three documents:
- A word document entitled “National Media 2010”,
- A word document entitled “Sabri”,
- Draft texts of my work-in-progress book which I planned to name “The Imam’s Army” (“İmamın Ordusu”).
It is claimed that these three documents were found inside the computers seized at OdaTV. The last document, my work-in-progress book, was naturally saved inside the computers at my house and my office. There is no other evidence in the file that would qualify to lay charges on me – except for the already mentioned documents.
Let’s put aside my book for a while; who am I to do with these two other documents? I learnt about the existence of those two documents from the media only when there was a search at OdaTV.
The National Media 2010 allegedly describes publishing and broadcasting principles in line with the mission of the Ergenekon organisation. According to this document, the moment you make a criticism about (the conduct of) Ergenekon investigation and prosecution you may be accused of acting in line with this document. That’s what happened in my case. Without any examination of what I have written up until today, my news articles and reports, the book that I wrote on the very same subject and regardless of my journalistic background and my socialist identity; I am being accused for aiding Ergenekon. Whereas even a simple compilation of all that I have written until today including The Imam’s Army will suffice to nullify this allegation. According to the National Media 2010, “The Ergenekon case is treason and conspiracy.” Again, according to this document “it must be stressed that if the Ergenekon case and similar cases are lost then the pressure will continue to increase”. And the ultimate aim is “to defend the Kemalist ideology”.
One should either be blind – unable to see my 20 years in journalism profession or biased and ill-intentioned to be able to claim that I wrote a book under such a circumstance. Together with my journalist colleague Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, we prepared a book in 2 volumes dedicated to the Ergenekon investigation and prosecution. Even a quick glance into these books will be enough for one to understand my standpoint about this process. I have to say that the Ergenekon prosecutor who ordered my detention was not even aware of these books. Whereas in my books my position about the Ergenekon investigation is crystal clear.
As I’ve already expressed in these books; this investigation which fails to try the real criminals based on real charges reminds us the saying “between the devil and the deep blue sea”. It is a duty for all to speak out against those who push us to take sides in the war of two devils and to pick “neither the devil, nor the deep blue sea” (*“ne kırk katır ne kırk satır”).
My views are also very loud and clear in my work-in-progress book The Imam’s Army. I attach great importance to unearth and expose what’s actually happening within the police organisation as well as the connection between these developments and controversial investigations like this one. That’s exactly the reason why I happened to be a defendant in this case. “Whoever touches (them) gets burnt” I said to my colleagues, to journalists. I did touch it and here I am.
Getting back to the National Media 2010; today numerous columnists and journalists are raising their doubts concerning the Ergenekon process. Based on the logic of such an indictment, you may well declare all these journalists as members of Ergenekon. It all falls apart at the seams, there is no logic in such reasoning.
I don’t know who wrote the digital note entitled “Sabri” either, which is made up of a couple of sentences. All I know is that what is written in this document is totally unreal. According to this document; some people give instructions to some other people, these other people then give me instructions and I am made to work on a book which is to be published under the name Sabri as its author.
Apparently the Prosecutor’s Office acknowledged this note as evidence since they made the following statement in the indictment:
“When examined, the evidence obtained from ODATV and from the suspects (…) it has been understood that Ahmet Şık was made to prepare the organisational document named “İMAMIN ORDUSU” (THE IMAM`S ARMY); however, according to the evidence obtained, it has also been understood that there were plans to publish the organisational document outsourced to Ahmet Şık under the name “Chief of Police Sabri Uzun”.”
First of all I would like to remind you something. Some very essential elements of prosecution including the collection of evidence in favour of the defendant and reasonable doubt do not exist in this indictment – as is the case in other controversial investigations. This is and should have been the legal duty and obligation of prosecutors. I would like to underline that such deficiencies tantamount to malpractice in terms of the conduct of criminal proceedings. Having said so, let me get back to the prosecutor’s allegation claiming that the book was drafted as part of an organisational activity.
The drafts of the book can be found in the casefile. Can any person of sound mind possibly claim that these books were all about “The Chief of Police Sabri Uzun” or any other third person? How can it be possible to assert such an allegation which is contrary to reason and truth? As can be seen, Sabri Uzun is one of the names mentioned in the book, just like Hanefi Avcı or Emin Aslan. The fact that the prosecutor prepared the indictment only by reading a word document made up of a few sentences and did not feel the need to have a look at the book is very sad and at the same time meaningful.
Yes the prosecutor did read the document; however he failed to ask the questions he was supposed to ask at that stage. Soner Yalçın is shown as the one who wrote the document. According to the document, it is Nedim who made me work (on the book). Fine, but is there any piece of information implying that Soner Yalçın or Nedim Şener gave instructions to me, that made me work? No, there is not. Do I have any contact with Soner Yalçın? Again no. I have never met him in person throughout my life. We have entirely different views and opinions. Only once in my life I got in touch with him, that was in 2008 when they mentioned my wife’s name in the news at OdaTV while they were criticising me; I gave him a call and I expressed my anger about what was done. That’s all.
If we are to take the prosecutor’s claim seriously, the digital document entitled “Sabri Uzun” had been allegedly written by Soner Yalçın. According to the allegation, all that is written in these documents are organisational instructions given to me by Soner Yalçın. As we have learnt from the investigation file, Soner Yalçın had been wiretapped for many years until the day he was detained; there was even bugging. His electronic communication was tracked down as well. He himself was under physical surveillance. What’s more, even the archieves of the magazine “2000’e Doğru” (Towards 2000) where he worked in 1990s were turned upside down in search for hundreds of his articles published in that magazine. Despite all the investigations and searches, has there been any contact – face-to-face or through telephone or electronic messages – established between Soner Yalçın and Ahmet Şık? No, because there is none. This being the case, I am curious about the following question. Did all these instructions come to me as revelation?
What about my friend and colleague Nedim Şener? Is there any evidence proving that he made me work? No. Is there any instruction I received from a third person? No, none. What do we have then? There is only one word document whose author and addressee is unknown and that’s it.
Since the day Ergenekon investigation started, throughout the investigations ongoing for 4 years, we have been asked to believe in the existence of a shadowy organisation, which is said to have caused great trouble and suffering for Turkey at least in the last half-century, and which is said to be behind all the bloody and dark provocative acts. Yes, indeed there is such an organisation. It’s rooted inside the state. It is the state itself with all its elements and institutions. It is called the deep state, the counter-guerilla; nowadays it is deficiently and faultily called “Ergenekon”. While everyone knows that even the most illiterate organisation would take maximum care of secrecy; I couldn’t explain myself how come it is possible to see people’s name and identity so clearly written in the so-called organisational document, which is considered as organisational instruction whose confidentiality is supposed to be taken good care of. Can you explain this to yourselves? We are talking about an organisation that has been walking in the snow without leaving any trace since 1950s, whose traces are collectively erased by the police, National Intelligence Service (MİT), army, judiciary and politicians every time it makes an appearance. Whom can they convince? How can they ever convince that such an organisation could actually write such “transparent”organisational instructions that breach secrecy?
If this is not called foolishness, then it can be explained in this way: Those who produced these documents wanted to put each and every person, organisation or institution they targeted in the same basket of Ergenekon, which is very far from truly investigating the dark and bloody history of the counter-guerilla in Turkey. In this way, they wanted to create “a thornless rose garden” for their own cause, the ultimate aim of which we cannot fully grasp today.
The last evidence against me is my book work-in-progress. Both the book itself and the notes taken on the book are put forward as evidence for accusations. According to the indictment, the notes taken on the book drafts were actually the instructions given to me. By the way, it is claimed that I had accepted the ownership of these notes in entirety during the interrogation at the prosecutor’s office, but later on it was supposedly “discovered” that these notes were not mine.
At the Prosecutor’s Office, they read me three sentences from the copy of my book they found in the computers of OdaTV and then they questioned me about the owner of these notes. Since they were my notes that I took on my draft book, I told them that “they are mine”. If anyone still has any doubts on that please have a look at the notes that I took in my handwriting on pages 27th to 36th in the appendix case file no 53. As can be seen, the notes taken on the book are the exactly the same notes that I took in my scratch pad in handwriting whenever I was not in front of the computer. When I sat in front of the computer I transferred my notes from my scratch pad to the corresponding passages in computer file. It’s as simple as that.
After I was arrested, the copies of the book found in my computer were also subject to examination by the Prosecutor’s Office. It is obvious that there were different notes here and that they were not my own notes. In this case, for the newly found different notes, the prosecutor should have called me and should have questioned the owner of these notes. Shouldn’t have? Of course, any prosecutor who has the intention to seek the truth would act in this way. Should this have been the case, I would have told that these notes were written by one of my source of information and very naturally due to my professional liability I would not disclose the identity of my source of information. On the other hand, I would have explained the content of each and every note and how they correspond to my work-in-progress book. Then the prosecutor could have easily understood that these were the notes and comments of the source of information and that they had nothing to do with instructions. Unfortunately, since the prosecutor does not have the intention to seek the truth, he did not question me on this. This is how I was turned into somebody who wrote a book under “instructions” with a view to assist an organisation, I use this word in quotation on purpose as this is the name how the prosecutor defines the notes even though they are not instructions at all. I am here accused of “instructions” which are not instructions at all.
Yes; right from the moment it took shape, I shared my book with my colleagues. I asked for their opinion. I shared it with my lawyers; I asked them to tell me if there were any sections that might be legally inconvenient. I shared it with the editor of my previous book asking the editor if he would be interested in publishing it. As I couldn’t hear anything from him, I sent my book to another publishing house. That editor read my book; he said he didn’t like it. Then I replied him back in a letter advocating my book to the end. I shared all the e-mail communications concerning this when I made a complaint about my arrest. The fact that all my friends were aware of the book that I was writing can be clearly seen in my telephone records you can find in the file. Now let me ask a question. Is this the way to prepare an organisational document? If there is going to be a book written for a terrorist organisation, is this the way to write it? Is this the way to publish it? Or let me put the question this way: Is it ever possible for a book that is written with the purpose of assisting a terrorist organisation to be so much in public? And to be so much embraced and owned by its author? How can it be ever possible to engage journalists, lawyers, publishers, friends and relatives in such a process? It seems as if I have only neglected advertising it on newspapers. On top of it, the indictment claims that I would have published the book “under the name of another person”. How can I ever publish my book under the name of somebody else after having shared it with all these journalists, lawyers, editors, publishers? Can there ever be such a ridiculous allegation? Yet I have been in detention for 10 months due to this ridiculous allegation.
This is not only a case that puts journalists to trial, but also journalism as a profession. What is violated here is not only a journalist’s freedom of expression, but the public’s right to information. In my book, you cannot find a single line which contradicts with facts, which tarhishes or slanders others. There is not a single sentence that would mean a call for violence, a propaganda of any terrorist organisation or a praise of criminals. As a matter of fact, in the indictment there is no allegation made in this direction. I deny all the charges and allegations written in the indictment.
I would like to once again repeat today what I’ve kept saying since the beginning: What is being subject to prosecution and trial today is the journalism profession itself. It is yet another breach of freedom of expression, covered up with a fig leaf. It is the violation of the journalist’s right, as safeguarded by law, to keep their source of information confidential. Those that claim the contrary are the ones with power and potency who disregard and trample upon the rule of law and instead act with feelings of grudge and revenge. Very openly, they tell us “you can no more write about the subjects that we don’t want”.
No matter who they are and what their positions are, those who express and advocate such a view are overstepping the limits and authority. How else can we explain this? Let’s wait for an answer to this question by the advocates of the totalitarian mentality. However, the answer to be given to such a totalitarian mentality by me and like-minded people is very well-known: “Even if we get burnt, we will continue to touch (them).”
That’s exactly the reason why the profession of journalism is not an impartial one. Once confronted with the right and the wrong, the truth and the deceit, the fair and the unfair, the oppressor and the oppressed and of course with justice and inequity, it is very clear which side a journalist will take. S/he will take the side of the right, the truth, the fair, the oppressed and of course the justice. But now as journalists, we are asked to side up with the right which is not rightful, the truth which is not true, the legitimised which is indeed unfair, the oppressed who is actually the oppresso and ultimately inequity. What’s more they do so by putting pressure and by means of unlawful acts that are covered and disguised by fig leaves.
But is it up to the police officers, prosecutors, politicians to set the limits of reporting and journalism profession, to determine the subjects of books to be written? If this is the case and if we have to talk about it in a courtroom today, can we name such a country who tries to put into place all these rules a democracy? Or is it a dictatorship of fear which aims to rule out justice and to pave the way for a society besieged by apprehension and paranoia? Silencing a journalist would mean silencing the public. And silence is an indispensible weapon of totalitarian regimes which survive by means of fear and oppression.
This trial is yet another example of dooming those that do not keep silent. We are faced with a situation which can be described as utterly nonsense in the simplest term. Despite the lies of a handful of “special-duty” journalists and columnists who believe that they are practicing journalism simply by servicing police notes, everyone else has pointed out how nonsense this situation is. These big lies failed to disguise and shadow the truth. So much so that even the one who ruled that I was “not a journalist, but a terrorist” by likening books to bombs as well as the mercantilist minded one who saw all that unlawfulness not as a bow to democracy but as a mere “PR activity” do now remain silent. I do hope that those who speak their mind in such words and by doing so also influence a fair trial remain silent today because they feel ashamed, if they can feel any shame at all.
On the one hand I carry such a naïve hope; on the other hand we do witness more and more examples of how things get much more difficult in Turkey in 2011 day by day for those who take the side of the truth and justice. I am aware that the ultimate aim is to bother, silence and intimidate the real dissidents. That’s the reason why through accusations based on lies and normal activities that can by no means considered to be criminal, dissidents ranging from students to professors, from journalists to publishers are clapped into jails. It doesn’t even matter based on what charges one is accused. As they try to legitimize a weird legal system which uses the following motto: “I lay charges on you and you try to acquit yourself”.
For those who are identified as targets, the judicial process starts long before a criminal offense is committed. The judgment is made well in advance. As expressed by one of the writers of the website named ekşisözlük – a website which is facing the risk of being banned these days by some who are specially tasked to give such prejudgments: Turkey is no longer a country where punishment comes after an offense, but beforehand.
Whereas in the regimes with established democracy and justice, the legal system is based on the burden of proof on the part of the accuser. And this has to be materialised through tangible and credible evidence whose authenticity leaves no room for doubt. When we look at the ongoing investigations and the courtcases, which are the most frequently critised cases in Turkey in recent years yet they continue to be conducted and expanded recklessly, can we see obeyance to this fundemantal rule? Or can we say these judicial proceedings are lawful?
Presumption of innocence constitutes the very basis in democracies. Prosecutors are obliged by law to also collect evidence in favour of the accused, just as they do collect evidence against. Regardless of the collected evidence, the arrest and detention of an individual in the absence of a factual, objective, clear and imminent threat and reasonable doubt contravenes the right to a fair trial. Once this tyrant state decides to accuse a person, then one has to wait for 10 months in prison to be able to appear before the court, let alone being acquitted. Shouldn’t a democratic country have to be built upon values such as a fair trial, presumption of innocence, freedom of thought and expression? When we ask these questions, we are told that the reason of the judiciary cannot be questioned. But every time the judiciary gets on the stage, we all suffer from the same problem, from partiality and politicization. Isn’t it the case for everyone in this country?
We know that this is not a recent problem at all, the judiciary of Turkey has always been partial, has always been politicized. Because it has always been the spokesperson of the powerholders of the time and it has always been under the tutelage of their ideology. What’s happening today is nothing more than this. What’s really intriguing is that despite everyone knows this fact the most competent figures keep repeating the same lies: “The judiciary is independent.” And then they offer their counselling in imperative form: “Have faith in the judiciary!”
However, the rule of law is clearly slaughtered, going way beyond the limits of any reason, logic and conscience. Having brought together so many dissimilar suspects, this case has also shown us how “genuine” this supposedly ethical and politically correct attitude is, which expresses itself through the message: “the judiciary is independent; have faith in the judiciary”. Once again, we have witnessed, experienced and continue to experience the fact that it is not the law that is respected, but the powerholders who keep their tutelage.
The charges laid down in the indictment prepared by the judiciary, whom I am asked to have faith in, are as follows:
“Pursuant to some instructions that allegedly belong to an organisational document
and that were allegedly written by Soner Yalçın,
who is allegedly the member of
the allegedly existing Ergenekon Terrorist Organisation,
under the alleged guidance and assistance of Nedim Şener,
who has allegedly aided and abetted Ergenekon without being a member,
for having allegedly written my book named The Imam’s Army, allegedly an organisational document, under the instructions of Ergenekon
and for having allegedly aided and abetted the organisation without being part of its hierarchical structure”
It is demanded that I am sentenced as a member of Ergenekon.
In response to such a complicated and sententious accusation which is made up of 86 words and which repeats the word “allegedly” for 9 times; the answer to the question “is there any evidence?” consists only of one word with 2 letters: NO.
However even this was apperantly sufficient for them to order my arrest and keep me in detention.
I will not make long explanations about the documents, which are presented as so called ‘evidence.’ These documenst are contradictory and made up. They are unlawful. However I have to mention a couple of things in a case whereby my book – the publication of which was unlawfully prevented – is also put forward as evidence; even though they claim “it is not my journalistic activity that is subject to prosecution”.
My book, which I planned to name “The Imam’s Army”, was considered a criminal evidence based on an investigation minutes prepared by the police, who apperantly saw themselves in the shoes of expert witnesses. According to this investigation minutes, which is a sheer example of ignorance based upon lies prepared with the motive to deceive the court, I can list down my criminal offenses as follows:
§ To be a journalist
§ To write a book
§ To take notes while writing the book
§ To find sources of information while writing the book
§ To make progress in writing and to increase the number of pages
§ To keep notes and records of the incomplete sections and to make necessary additions for completion
§ To have my name mentioned in an unsigned, fabrifacted digital document
The police compared my book with the word document entitled National Media 2010, which paves the way for the criminalization of journalism and bookwriting, under 6 different headings. According to the first 3 headings, it constitutes a criminal offense to write that Ergenekon investigation is politically-motivated and it targets people who show dissent against the AKP and the Cemaat (the Gülen community), something that proves the saying “the origin of the evil is to be found in the world of angels”. According to the fourth heading, using the expression “partisan media” and asserting that such kind of a media exists is a sufficient reason to qualify as Ergenekon member. Furthermore, any mention of human rights violations including “long periods of detention” can turn a person into a suspect. According to the fifth category, if the things that you write happen to be in accord with the defense of Ergenekon defendants, even only for once, you may face charges. According to the sixth category, from now on criticizing the wrongful and unlawful practices of the prosecutors and police officers who carry out the Ergenekon operation is prohibited thanks to the document National Media 2010.
Although it is named the (police) investigation minutes, it includes so many expressions of certainty and precision such as “it has been understood”, “it has been established” as was the case in the indictment prepared by the prosecutor. However, we need to remember that while collecting documents which may qualify as evidence or potential evidence, the police have to report about the content and the characteristics of the collected document as well the date, place and method of collection. Assessment of the collected material and documents within the context of penal law is not the duty of the police, but the duty and legal obligation of the prosecutor. Any treatment of contrary nature might constitute misconduct in office and for the police it might mean overstepping authority. This is what happened in the case of my book’s investigation by the police. Police officers, who are clearly the main subjects of my book, had prepared investigation minutes as if they were in the capacity of expert witnesses. This document is called the minutes, however as I’ve mentioned before, it sounds almost like a court verdict. They only fell short of naming the sentence to be given. At this point, somebody must have told them that this was the duty of prosecutors and judges. So the police did not give me a sentence but they listed down plenty of ridiculous details about how I wrote my book, with whom and for which purpose.
In the end, concerning the (police) investigation minutes – which are partial, ill-intentioned and full of lies – I myself had to take action and do something that was actually supposed to be done by the prosecutor’s office as a legal duty, but was neglected for some reason. I compared the latest draft of my book and checked it against with the draft allegedly found inside the Oda Tv computer and against the (police) investigation minutes.
It has become very clear which notes – allegedly referred to as organisational instructions, were taken by myself; which ones are meant to be corrections to certain names, places, dates and events; which ones are the results of a meticulous journalist’s efforts in seeking the truth by means of different sources of information accessed with the urge of not making any mistakes.
I have to stress it boldly that what makes an act a criminal act is not the characteristics of the perpetrator, but the nature of the act in question. Criticism against a certain power group – be it the government, the cemaat (the Gülen community), the judiciary or the police, does not constitute a crime in democratic regimes. Constructing a criminal offense by singling out sentences and detaching them from their real context and matching them with an utterly nonsense text tantanmounts to thought policing, just like the practice of the police officers who undersigned these investigation minutes. And such kind of unlawful practices can take place in dictatorships and fascist regimes, not in democracies.
These are the facts hidden by the investigation minutes of the police, which is shown as a justification to my detention for months and which is biased, ill-intentioned and oversteps authority. This being the case, it will be convenient to make the following conclusion and make a proposal.
The police investigation minutes, which portray my book the Imam’s Army as an organisational document, is an organisational document in itself. If there is any courageous prosecutor willing to uncover this organisation, my book the Imam’s Army will definitely be a pathfinder in this direction.
Therefore, it is very obvious that this entire process is an ambush laid by the police and a plotted conspiracy engaging some state officials. It is very obvious that all the things put forward as evidence are falsified and fabricated. Actually when everything is so obvious, one should not be surprised about the fact that I am detained in prison.
However the problem is I am accused of being a member to an organisation, with whose mentality, opinions and designated plans I can by no means be associated with. Like I said earlier, I take such an accusation as an insult.
You already know this; this trial which is being conducted with falsified and fabricated documents and which is devoid of justice and rule of law is a fake trial, is a show trial and thus an invalid trial. This is not a judicial trial. On the contrary, it is a political trial. And if you fail to give me a conviction, then you should chase up and convict those who plotted this conspiracy – the real criminals. What you have to do is ‘not’ to prosecute me but it is to reveal the plotters of this reckless conspiracy.
You also know very well that all the allegations against me are made up of lies. Such scenarios are always plotted and reproduced in those regimes and dictatorships where liberties are eliminated along with the law, where the laws and regulations are manipulated beyond recognition. In such regimes, the oppressors send their messages like “they are terrorists” through their own media channels which speak their master’s voice. In such regimes, the partial and dependant public officials who couldn’t have their own share of rights, law and justice go and arrest “terrorists” like me. In such regimes, some media people steal roles from the police, the prosecutor, the judge and they masquareade as executioners. They capture you, they accuse you, they convict you, and they execute you.
Through this trial, the history tells us the story of a power which remains unchanged despite being overthrown again. It proves us that any power which tears down the former, the predecessor, keeps inside the bad seeds of the overthrown. By means of the media, which is very skillfull at taking the shape of any container, psychological war tactics are materialized and democratic opposition is rendered ineffective. By the help of the police and the judiciary, dissidents are unlawfully clapped into jails based on trump up charges. In other words, the methods employed by the deep state, which is supposedly investigated under the name Ergenekon, are still in place. It is only the employers who changed, that’s all. However, you need to understand it very well that I myself and people who share my views, in other words people who do not listen to their master’s voice but to the voice of their own reason and conscience, will continue to act against this neo- Ergenekon, which employs the same methods employed by its predecessors. Therefore I find it beneficial to reiterate the obvious fact. Throughout the history, there is not a single criminal offence which remains unaccounted. It will not remain unaccounted this time either. The history will duly place every one and everything into the right place they deserve. Some will be judged based on what they have written and said; some others will be judged on their decisions.
Translator’s Note: For the sake of clarity, some explanatory notes were inserted to the translated text by the translator in parantheses and in italic font.
AHMET ŞIK’S COURT DEFENSE (March, 2011)
I have been working as a journalist since 1991; I have also been giving lectures on journalism at Bilgi University for the last 4 years. Journalism is not an impartial profession; a journalist should always stand on the side of the mistreated and the oppressed. Journalists should be the eye of the blind, ear of the deaf and voice of the silent. For 20 years, I have always targeted those in power, either wearing a uniform or a tie, because authority is always a problem-creating realm. What is important is not to take sides with those in power, but to criticize them. Today, while waiting at the prosecutor’s office to give my testimony, I saw a news report about me in the Radikal daily. As mentioned in this report, I have written news reports on the killing of our colleague, Metin Göktepe, under torture; on young people tortured in Manisa; on the ‘Hayata Dönüş Operasyonu (Return to Life Operation)’ in which 30 people died; and on many other subjects. I was also within the group of journalists at the Nokta magazine, who wrote the news articles on the ‘media note’, which could be considered as the beginning of the Ergenekon investigations; the articles following this one and the diaries of Özden Örnek. Although all my work is somewhat against the Ergenekon network, I now stand in front of you as a suspect belonging to the Ergenekon organization.
I learned about the allegations about myself after a document allegedly found during the raid in Oda tv was published in Hurriyet daily; in this note, my name, as well as the names of Nedim Şener and some police chiefs were mentioned. I immediately realized that an effort towards claiming that I am a member of the organization called Ergenekon was underway. This is totally crazy. During my journalistic career, I have never received orders from any organization or any person regarding my news articles, nor have I never given up an article due to such orders. At a time when the government is cracking down the dissident media with tax fines and when 10 per cent of the Turkish army’s top-ranking personnel have been arrested as part of the Ergenekon case, it is credulous to argue that the Ergenekon organization is creating a media structure. And the media has been polarized; it is split into two, as partisan and nonpartisan media. I have been a socialist for as long as I can remember and I have never gotten on the same page with nationalists or any kind of nationalism. The Ergenekon operation is neither a serious operation towards the purging of the deep-state as some people want to demonstrate it, nor is it a matter to be watered down as the other side want to demonstrate it. My stand is that Ergenekon is a serious matter but the investigation is not being led as it should be. There is a 60-year old deep-state structure in Turkey and it has staged very bloody incidents. But this investigation has not gone down that deep. This is why Ertuğrul Mavioglu and I published a book that talks about the process of the Ergenekon investigation and the trials since the beginning. In the two-volume book titled ‘Kırk Katır Kırk Satır’, we voiced our doubts. Our point is shortly that real criminals should be tried for their real crimes.
I neither have any personal connection with Oda Tv staff, nor any journalistic relation. This is why, just like you, I haven’t understood how my book was put into a computer in Oda tv before it was published. Any record of a conversation that I had with any Oda Tv staff does not exist either. For the last 20 years, since I started this profession, I am sure that my phone line was tapped officially or unofficially but if it existed, my contacts with the Oda tv staff would have definitely been included in the case file as proof. The only reason Nedim and I were included in this investigation is because we questioned some things. Approaching such investigations with skepticism will bring us closer to democracy. Some of the notes that I was asked about during my testimony at the Attorney General’s Office, such as the one on which Sabri Uzun’s home address is written were my personal notes. They are the notes I was using while I was writing my book. Nothing was sent to me from Oda tv. This is a smearing and discrediting campaign against us. It is also claimed that that the book is written by me but that it was going to be published under Sabri Uzun’s name. I have never been unfair to anybody’s work and I never let anyone be unfair to my work. Therefore I wouldn’t let anybody else’s name be put on a book that I wrote.
The reason I said that legal action would be started against us or that we would be detained during my recent conversations is because of past experiences and because I follow the Ergenekon process closely. In the previous operations, too, names were thrown out in the public and the operation was conducted after the reaction of the public was measured. The investigation is conducted based on dubious informant e-mails, which I believe are sent by those conducting the investigation; and based on testimonies of secret witnesses and confessors. The words of a person who was a police chief for 40 years are not trusted, but those of a confessor are.
During the conversation I had on February 25th, 2011 at 11.56, I had left my mobile phone to the technical service due to malfunction; I was using another phone and thus the information on the phone book was left in the other device. During the conversation, I asked the name of a person who works at Destek publications; I couldn’t remember his name at the time but now I remember that the name is Ertürk. Nedim’s name was mentioned in the conversation because they worked at the publication house together and I was trying to say that ‘Nedim would remember the name’.
The conversation recorded on February 25th, 2011, at 17.11 is about the book that I am writing and what is to be added to the book are the answers to more than 80 questions that I had sent to Hanefi Avcı. The answers were supposed to come from the prison that he is held in.
During the conversation dated February 25,2011, at 18.54, I am talking about a draft of my book dated three months ago – looking at the news articles in the press and considering when I had taken and deleted my own notes, I realized that it was a draft copy dated three months ago.
When the Information Technologies Staff of the Police Department examine the computer in which the documents were found in Oda tv and the computer that I use, it will be seen that there is no e-mail exchange between the two.
Some groups in Turkey point to me as a partisan and a member of the community, and some say I am a member of Ergenekon. This in fact shows that I am objective.
I don’t accept any of the allegations against me. This is why I demand to be tried without arrest.
I work as a reporter at Milliyet daily. I have no information about the project titled National Media 2010 that is said to have been found during the search in Oda tv and which I am accused of. I also don’t have any connection with Soner Yalçın or the suspects arrested after the Oda tv operation. If it is claimed that I have such a connection, this claim should be proved. I work as a reporter at the economics department of Milliyet. I work under the head of our economics department, our editors, news coordinator and editor-in-chief. We write news articles based on information we have obtained or articles related to the agenda of the day, which our editors give us. We do our research and submit the article to them. The decision to publish our articles is given during the newsroom meeting, which we don’t attend. Therefore, within this structure it is not possible for me receive instructions from someone else and carry out those instructions.
About the note that is claimed to have been found in the Oda tv operation and which allegedly says “at what stage is Hanefi’s book, it should be published before the referendum, pressure Nedim to prepare it”; in his testimony to the police, Soner Yalçın did not give any information about who Nedim is. In his testimony at the court, he said “it could be Nedim Şener.” When my lawyer and I read this statement from the press, we filed a complaint of defamation to the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s office. I have no connection with this note. It is a slander against me. After I filed a complaint to the Prosecutor, an article about my rightfulness was published on the website named Oda tv and this article is still on the website. Its title is ‘Is Nedim Şener right or wrong?’. I am struggling with the courage that I take from being right. If I am not right, they have every facility at hand, they can make whatever statement they want about me.
There is also the allegation that it was me who wrote the second chapter of a book titled ‘Haliç’te Yasayan Simonlar’, written and published by Hanefi Avcı. I sent a fax to Hanefi Avcı about this claim, for him to answer; and through his lawyers, he sent two different faxes and stated that I had no connection with the writing process of his book. 10 high-ranking public officials from the police force sued Hanefi Avci because of the book he wrote. One of these officials is the deputy chief of intelligence in Istanbul. All the charges are against Hanefi Avcı. If I had made a contribution, I would have been sued as well. Due to all of the above, I have no connection with the project titled National Media 2010. This allegation against me was first voiced in a television program, in which a lecturer at the police academy, Associate Professor Önder Aytaç participated. He said that 8 journalists working for different institutions contributed to the book that Hanefi Avcı wrote. This lie has been voiced in the media since then and I have come across it. It lastly emerged as a note from Soner Yalçın’s computer. This is a slander against me through the media.
I have done comprehensive research about the Hrant Dink murder. I have published my first book on this murder, titled ‘Dink Cinayeti ve İstihbarat Yalanlari (Dink Murder and Intelligence Lies)’ and after that, the one titled ‘Kırmızı Cuma (Red Friday)’. In these books, I documented people who were responsible for neglect during the Hrant Dink murder. Hrant Dink was among the journalists listed to be killed in the ‘Kafes Eylem Planı (Cage Action Plan)’, on which the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) case is based. After my research, I argued that the Hrant Dink case should be connected to the Ergenekon case, just like it was done with the State Council attack. It was also me who found out and wrote that the MIT (National Intelligence Organization) member who informed Bedrettin Dalan to flee abroad was Özer Yılmaz.
Due to these works, I was included in the International Press Institute’s living press heroes of the last 60 years, along with Abdi İpekci and Hrant Dink from Turkey. Also, what could have happened to me was foreseen and with the thought that I might need it, I was sent 2500 Euros as lawyers’ fee. Because of these researches, I became the target of many institutions, of people working for these institutions, as well as people or groups related to these institutions. As the first part of the attack stemming from my research, former Chief of Police Intelligence, Ramazan Akyürek, Deputy Police Chief responsible for Intelligence, Ali Fuat Yılmazer, Trabzon Police Intelligence Branch Manager Faruk Sari and Muhittin Zenit, the police who wrote the reports stating that Hrant Dink will be murdered filed complaints against me. Because of these complaints, I went on trial in Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court and Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance and I was acquitted. Because of these works of mine, I became the target of people or groups who want to harm me or discredit me both in public institutions and the media. Because the person who most frequently scrutinizes the relationship between the Hrant Dink case and the Ergenekon case in the media is me. If a connection between me and Ergenekon were to be made, the people or groups that I mentioned above would have been acquitted. In line with what I have just said, why the note found in Soner Yalçın’s computer was really written or was written by whom will come to light as a result of both our complaint at the Chief Public Prosecutor’s office and the investigation about Soner Yalçın.
While my testimony was taken at the police department and the Attorney General’s office, in one of the questions, it was mentioned that after Hanefi Avcı was arrested he sent text messages to his wife, to the woman he had an affair with and to me. At the Attorney General’s office, I was asked what connection I had with Hanefi Avcı. This exact question was raised on Habertürk TV by Şamil Tayyar, at a program I participated as a guest speaker along with Önder Aytaç, Mehmet Baransu, Şamil Tayyar and Belma Akçura. Based on the research I did later, I found out that after he was arrested, Hanefi Avcı’s mobile phone was not taken from him and he sent text messages from this phone to 7 or 8 journalists. Both at the police department and the prosecutor’s office, I expressed regret and concern about Şamil Tayyar’s exact same question being asked to me, although the police had not done any research despite the facilities they had.
I have been working as a reporter for nearly 20 years and I have been writing books since 2001. While I was questioned about the project titled National Media 2010, a question that I had asked to Adil Serdar Saçan in 2007 was brought forward and it was claimed that I don’t believe in Ergenekon and that I am trying to discredit the Ergenekon trial process. At that time, the Ergenekon investigation had recently started and everyone had their doubts. Also, my book on the Uzan family in 2004, my work on Alaaddin Çakıcı and the Türkbank corruption case in 2005 as well as my book on Yasin el-Kadı were assessed in this context and I was asked questions. I was also asked questions on all of the negative comments made about me in the media.
The informant e-mail that is claimed to have been sent about me on June 5th, 2009 is completely unfounded. The identity of the person who sent the e-mail is not known. Before this, I was also informed on based on my work about the Uzan operation, Alaaddin Çakıcı and Türkbank. I received threats because of my research on the Hrant Dink murder. It is impossible to think of me together with Veli Küçük, Doğu Perinçek and the lawyer Fuat Turgut, whose names are mentioned in the Ergenekon investigation. Actually, this was the group who threatened me. The police officers who sued me claimed that they were pointed as targets. While defending myself at the 11th High Criminal Court, I stated that if I had pointed a target to Ergenekon, it was myself rather than the police officers.
I don’t know the person named İsmail Yıldız. When I was working on the Uzan group, I was the target of Hayrullah Mahmut. He is now a defendant in the Ergenekon case. Hayrullah Mahmut has alleged that “Hanefi Avcı became a writer using the pseudonym Nedim Şener”, claiming it was actually Hanefi Avcı who wrote my book on the Uzan family.
My conversation with the Ergenekon suspect Serdar Öztürk took place after I learned that he was a guest speaker at the TV program called Arena; we talked about the content of the DVD numbered 51 (included in the evidence files of the Ergenekon case – translator’s note).
About my conversations with Ergün Poyraz; I had written the book titled ‘Philanthropist Terrorist’, about Yasin El Kadı, a financier of international terrorism. Ergun Poyraz wanted to see some of the documents that I had. I didn’t give these documents to him because I didn’t trust his connections. However, despite all these, Ergun Poyraz used quotations from my book without any citations. My contacts with Ergun Poyraz are on this matter.
The content of my conversations with Serhan Bolluk are about my research on the Uzan group. The conversation that I had with Vedat Yenerer are about my research about Egebank, the owner of which was Murat Demirel. The conversations dated between 2006-2007 were made before the people I talked with got arrested, even before the Ergenekon case had been started.
I’ve known Ahmet Şık for 14-15 years. For some time, we worked in the same media group. However I never made a contribution to Ahmet Şık’s book. As journalists, we are somewhat envious people. We don’t want to share the information we obtain.
I also gave detailed and necessary explanations to each and every question I was asked.
On a health check on February 14th, I coincidentally learned that my wife had a hole in her heart’s septum. We immediately took the necessary measures, my wife had a heart operation on February 24th and the hole in her heart was closed. Since I had received information, from both the police and the media, suggesting that I would be detained, during some of my conversations after my wife’s operation, I said things similar to “If I knew I would be detained, I would have postponed my wife’s operation.” At the prosecutor’s office, I was asked if I had the health operation done in order to stop the legal operation.
In summary, considering the health of my wife; and for my wife, child and myself not to be aggrieved further; if a case will be opened about me, I state that I will follow it and answer all the questions asked to me. I demand to be released and be tried without arrest.