After a show trial that lasted for five years and would’ve made Josef Stalin and Andrei Vyshinsky proud, 354 opponents of Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s Islamist regime have been found guilty. The main defendant, Gen. Ilker Basbug, who led Turkey’s armed forces in 2008-2010 was given a life sentence. The head of the socialist-secular nationalist Workers Party was also given a life term. Other opponents of Erdogan’s AKP party like Kemalist MP and journalist Mustafa Balbay were sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment.
Gen. Basbug and his co-defendants were accused of being part of the so-called “Ergenekon plot”, named after a mythical valley where the pre-Islamic ancestors of modern Turks sojourned before Asena, the Grey Wolf of Turkish lore, led them into Asia Minor. Interestingly, the seventy-year-old Basbug never openly expressed his opposition to Erdogan’s rapid Islamization of Turkey, but it was known that the distinguished general was a supporter of the moderately nationalist Kemalist CHP. Another reason for Basbug’s prosecution could be his insistence that the government guarantee the Kurds equal rights vis-a-vis the majority ethnic Turks. In short, Basbug is hardly the hardline secular Kemalist general that Erdogan’s regime painted him as.
The Ergenekon sentences come almost a year after more than 300 members of Turkey’s officer class were given prison sentences for their alleged parts in the so-called “Sledgehammer plot”. The scenario of Sledgehammer could’ve come straight from a low budget Hollywood movie: according to the prosecutors, the accused officers planned to blow up two mosques in Istanbul and shoot down a passenger airliner over the Aegean in order to spark an armed conflict with Greece. The laughable ridiculousness of this “plot” is apparent from the fact that an attack on a member of the European Union would result in armed conflict with France, Germany, and Britain, not to mention, the United States. And even the most rabidly nationalist Turkish officer would not plan anything this reckless.
What’s amazing is not the silence of the EU and the “international community” in the face of the Islamist decapitation of Turkey’s military and civilian elites, but the fact that Turkey’s military – long a bastion of secular Kemalism, allowed its leadership to be decimated by Erdogan’s Islamist regimes. In the face of the AKP’s assault, the grey wolves of Turkey’s military turned into meek lambs.
One can’t help, but compare this with Stalin’s destruction of the Red Army’s leadership in 1937-1940. Marshals and generals, famous for their exploits in the Russian Civil War and subsequent battles with the Japanese and Franco’s forces, not only went like lambs to the slaughter, but publicly pled guilty to the outlandish accusations of the NKVD and implicated other Soviet officers. Of course, then, as now, the Western commentariat stood silent in the face of the growing evidence of the ludicrous nature of the show trials.