Selçuk, Perinçek and Alemdaroglu in custody over Ergenekon
Two senior officials of a Turkish political party, a former university rector and the chief columnist of a daily newspaper -- all known for their neo-nationalism and ultra-secularism -- were taken into custody early on Friday morning over alleged links to a criminal network with suspected links to the army and bureaucracy.
Workers Party (IP) Chairman Dogu Perinçek, IP Secretary-General Ferit Ilsever and Cumhuriyet daily chief columnist Ilhan Selçuk, as well as a former Istanbul University rector, Kemal Alemdaroglu were detained as part of an investigation into a criminal network that calls itself Ergenekon, after a legend of how Turks came into being.
The ongoing investigation had previously uncovered evidence showing that the gang was attempting to prepare the ground for a coup d'état in Turkiye in 2009. Ergenekon is suspected of shady links to groups hidden within the state. These groups are commonly referred to as Turkiye's "deep state," a vague concept of a phenomenon in which individuals and groups occupying various positions in the state take justice into their own hands to shape Turkiye in accordance with their political convictions.
The arrests come at a time when allegations have been made that a recent closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was filed with the Constitutional Court to prevent further development of the Ergenekon investigation.
The police have also raided the offices of TV station Ulusal Kanal (National Channel) and the Aydinlik newsweekly.
The arrests follow the interrogation on Wednesday of Sedat Peker -- an ultranationalist underworld leader currently serving 14 years in prison for involvement in organized crime -- over his alleged links to the Ergenekon gang. Suspects of the 1996 Susurluk affair Yasar Öz and Semih Tufan Gülaltay were also interrogated by the prosecutor on Wednesday as part of the same investigation.
In January 39 suspects were arrested during raids targeting the gang, including retired Gen. Veli Küçük, nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, academic Emin Gürses and press speaker of the so-called "Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate."
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