Testimony of PKK's Sakik not included in Ergenekon argument

The testimony of a former leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Semdin Sakik, was not included in the closing argument of a prosecutor in the trial against the Ergenekon terrorist network.

Prosecutor Mehmet Ali Pekguzel presented his closing argument to the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court last month. The 2,271-page document, however, does not contain excerpts from or refer to the testimony of Sakik.

In early 2008 Sakik wrote a letter to a prosecutor involved in the investigation into Ergenekon, a criminal group accused of working to overthrow the government, saying that he wanted to tell the prosecutor about ties between the PKK and Ergenekon. The prosecutor agreed to take Sakik's testimony. During his testimony, Sakik claimed that Ergenekon was in close contact with the terrorist group and even cooperated with it on several occasions.

Sakik told the prosecutor that the Ergenekon gang planned to cooperate with a number of terrorist organizations, including the PKK, to achieve its objectives. "This cooperation was realized with Dogu Perincek [leader of the Workers' Party (IP)] and several other figures. Cemil Bayik [a senior PKK leader] was also among these figures," he remarked.

Perincek was arrested in 2008 as part of the Ergenekon investigation.

Shortly after Sakik's testimony was taken, there were claims by critics of the Ergenekon trial that a former PKK leader was allowed to be a witness while many members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) stand as suspects in the trial. Sources say the exclusion of Sakik's testimony in the closing argument is aimed at putting an end to the claims.

Sakik is currently in prison in Diyarbakir. He was captured in northern Iraq in 1998 and brought to Turkey, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorism-related crimes.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Pekguzel seeks life sentences for 64 suspects in the Ergenekon trial, including former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. Ilker Basbug, and retired generals Hursit Tolon, Hasan Igsiz and Nusret Tasdeler in accordance with Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which criminalizes attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey. The prosecutor also demanded up to 15 years in prison for 94 other suspects.