‘Court camp’ expands amid continuing trials

Erdem Güneş

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

Located right across Istanbul’s Silivri courthouse, a permanent camp run by the releatives and supporters of Ergenekon suspects has become a place for visitors to stay, cook and grow vegetables

 Residents of the camp say they pay 1,500 Turkish Liras per month in rent to the field owners, funded by relatives of the suspects and other supporters. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

06-SILIVRI (1)

Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

A permanent camp created near the Silivri courthouse in response to the long-running court case against the Ergenekon coup plot suspects has been continuing to expand.

The Ergenekon trial, which is prosecuting an alleged ultra-nationalist gang accused of plotting to overthrow the government, is now into its fourth year. Supporters of those suspected in the coup plot have settled as “watchdogs” in a camp they call “national guard duty tents,” located 67 kilometers away from the city center in the Silivri district of Istanbul.

The campers tend to a vegetable garden and have planted trees, which they give such names as “the rule of law” and “Atatürk’s principles,” as well as the names of the prominent suspects in the case.
A large banner erected by campers welcomes visitors to the Silivri courthouse, reading “Shut the Specially Authorized Courts, free the patriots.” The controversial Specially Authorized Courts have already been shut down. However, laws require that the courts complete the cases they had already begun.


Hıdır Hokka, the spokesperson responsible for the camp, said four large tents that can house more than 50 people have been constructed since Sep. 2011.

“It’s a supra-parties camp,” Hokka says of the Ergenekon establishment. Hokka is a member of the Workers Party (İşçi Partisi), whose leader Doğu Perinçek has been in jail since March 2008.


The Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputies Mahmut Tanal and İsa Gök have stayed in the camp as well, but Hokka says the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) supporters, who frequently visit Silivri Courthouse for the KCKcases. Cumhur Denizkıran, a 62-year-old farmer who visits the camp every day, said tensions have risen during the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case hearings, yet they have distanced themselves from it. “My children tell me not to come, but it is a kind of national service for me to stand here. Since April I have been planting flowers and vegetables in this garden,” he said, pointing to the campus of the Justice Ministry located across from their camp. “We are here to stand for justice against the Justice Ministry,” Denizkıran said.

The Ergenekon case regards an alleged ultranationalist shadowy gang accused of planning to topple the government by staging a coup.



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