A lengthy article in the London Times has exposed the critical court case at the heart of Turkey's political-military trials for what it is: a fraud based on fabricated evidence. There is nothing new in the article itself. A few courageous Turkish journalists (Sedat Ergin and Ezgi Basaran in particular) have made many of the same points for some time. And my wife Pinar Dogan and I have now documented countless inconsistencies and anachronisms in the evidence being used by the prosecutors that leave no doubt that the alleged coup plot is a fantasy. But what is important is that for the first time a serious paper outside Turkey has taken a close look at the evidence and reached its own unambiguous verdict.
The same day that the article was published, Turkish courts arrested 8 more people for being part of the same plot. The mind boggles.
Where you might ask are Turkey's liberals and democrats? Well, a good number of them are actually applauding the case. The fact that it has served to weaken the military seems to be a good enough reason for them to disregard the fact that what is being passed off as a court case is a legal travesty.
What is involved here is not just prosecutorial zeal or Turkey's traditionally weak legal culture. We are talking of a massive fraud committed to frame and imprison innocent individuals. The court proceedings to date make painfully clear that the prosecutors and the judges are quite aware of what is going on. And how could they not be? Even a 10-year old can understand that a document that refers to an entity that was not created until 2009 could not have been prepared in 2003.
So those in Turkey (and Europe) who support this case (and the many others that are similar) are committing two serious errors. Perhaps the less serious one is that they are willing to look the other way when the rule of law and human rights are violated. But their truly fatal mistake is their failure to see that the organized groups within the police and judiciary who are manufacturing evidence and running these trials are the greatest threat to Turkey's democracy at present. By lending these groups support they are complicit in the undermining of any prospect of democracy that still remains in Erdogan's Turkey.