HomePublicationsReportsThe Other Side of the Ergenekon: Extrajudicial Killings and Forced Disappearances

The Other Side of the Ergenekon: Extrajudicial Killings and Forced Disappearances

25 November 2013

The Ergenekon Trial has been one of the most important political developments in recent Turkish history. The trial helped uncover the ways in which some groups in the military establishment and their political and economic collaborators in civilian circles were intervening illegally in democratic politics.

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When the trial revealed that the suspects had ties to the Susurluk scandal and to organizations that had committed extrajudicial killings of Kurdish civilians in the 1990s —the Yüksekova Gang, the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter Terrorism organization, and the Special Forces Command—there were heightened expectations among the public that grave violations of human rights committed during the 1990s, particularly against the country’s Kurdish citizens, would be brought to light. Yet the prosecutors and panel of judges in charge of conducting the investigation phase of the trial ignored these expectations as they prepared the criminal complaint, instead focusing solely on the charge of “attempting to overthrow the government.”

A report published by the TESEV Democratization Program in November 2013, presented the public with an analysis of information found in the Ergenekon case files regarding the grave violations of human rights during the 1990s. The present work, an abridged version of this report, uses the most noteworthy information on murders by unknown assailants from the case files. We seek to present a general analysis of the Ergenekon Trial’s importance in Turkey’s confrontation with its past, to highlight its unprecedented nature in Turkish criminal-justice history, and finally to present our own recommendations.

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