Ergenekon suspects fabricate evidence to undermine trial

Prosecutors overseeing the case into Ergenekon have discovered that the suspects in the case had fabricated evidence about hand grenades which were seized in Istanbul's Ümraniye district on June 12, 2007, which led to the launch of the Ergenekon investigation.

Ergenekon is a shadowy crime network which has alleged links within the state and is suspected of plotting to topple the government. There are 275 suspects on trial. Among the suspects are journalists, businessmen and members of the military. The Ergenekon trial is currently being heard by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court.

The prosecutors who are involved in the Ergenekon investigation stated in their closing argument submitted to an Istanbul court earlier last month that footage of the hand grenades found in Ümraniye was destroyed by the suspects and fake evidence was added to the footage in order to undermine the trial.

The 27 hand grenades found in Ümraniye belong to retired noncommissioned officer Oktay Yildirim, an Ergenekon suspect.

Yildirim is one of those who claim that the Ergenekon trial is based on fabricated evidence. In order to prove his claim, he referred to the remarks he made when the police found the hand grenades in 2007.

Back then Yildirim had reportedly said, “If the investigation is Ergenekon, I will [expletive] the judge and the prosecutor,” and Yildirim claimed that this sentence is on the same CD as the footage of the discovery of the hand grenades.

He said the name “Ergenekon” was not known by the public when the search in Ümraniye was conducted, so the operations into Ergenekon were not based on real evidence. Yildirim made this claim at the 85th hearing of the Ergenekon trial.

Responding to Yildirim's accusations, the prosecution during the 89th hearing of the trial said there are no subtitles in the original version of the CD in question, whereas Yildirim had added subtitles to it and had submitted it to the court.

The prosecutors also asked the court to request an examination of the CD by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) to determine if Yildirim had actually made the alleged statement.

At the 91st hearing of the trial, the court decided to send the CD to TÜBITAK for examination. In a report to the court, TÜBITAK said there is no mention of Ergenekon on the CD, contrary to what Yildirim claimed.

Yildirim, who did not believe TÜBITAK's report, had asked the court to have other institutions examine the CD, following which the court sent the CD to the criminal office of the police and gendarmerie, which also could not find any mention of the word Ergenekon on the CD.

Prosecutor Mehmet Ali Pekguzel said Yildirim's allegations were groundless in consideration of the reports from several scientific institutions. However, the suspects in the trial continue to base their claims of fabricated evidence on this CD.