|Turkish General (ret.) Veli Küçük|
The detention in Istanbul last week of alleged members of a shadowy Turkish ultranationalist group has revived charges that elements within the Turkish security apparatus have long tried to destabilize the country through a campaign of bombings and assassinations. These allegedly include false flag operations that have been attributed to Kurdish separatists and violent Islamists.
By January 28, the Turkish authorities had formally charged 13 of those detained with forming an armed terrorist group in order to provoke members of the public into armed revolt against the government. Those arrested include retired Gendarmerie General Veli Kucuk, ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, who is famous for taking intellectuals to court under the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, January 8) and Sami Hostan, who is frequently alleged by the Turkish media to be a leading member of the Turkish underworld (Radikal, Hurriyet, Yeni Safak, Milliyet, January 28). The Turkish media have claimed that the latest arrests follow intelligence reports that the gang was planning to carry out a series of high level assassinations, including killing Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, Islamist journalist Fehmi Koru and Kurdish politicians Leyla Zana and Ahmet Turk (Yeni Safak, CNNTurk, January 25).