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A journey to Hanefi Avcı's near past history

HDN | 9/30/2010 12:00:00 AM | SEDAT ERGİN

Hanefi Avcı's arrest made me, as a journalist, think about him and take a short journey in my mind with the help of archives.

As the former police chief Hanefi Avcı’s book was published in August, I was working on a different file. So, I didn’t have a chance to read it and write a piece on it. However, I am closely following the developments on Avcı.

His arrest the other evening made me, as a journalist, think about him and take a short journey in my mind with the help of archives, too. Through the journey, I came across the following facts.

[HH] ‘The Emperor has no clothes,’ he said in Susurluk

The first I heard his name was on Feb. 2, 1997 as he was the subject of a parliamentary hearing into the Susurluk case. Avcı’s remarks caused a great deal of reaction in Ankara at the time.

Although admitting in his deposition that the Security Department had put its mark on extrajudicial executions, Avcı said illegal structuring within the state was spreading in the gendarmerie and the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, as well. For instance, he said, MİT used the code name Yeşil back then. Avcı’s deposition on the Susurluk case is one of the historic documents on the “deep state” literature in Turkey.

[HH] Instigator in the Mole Scandal

I ran across his name again during the Feb. 28 post-modern coup period for the involvement in the “Mole Scandal” broke out in the Naval Force Headquarters. Security Dept. Intelligence Unit Director Bülent Orakoğlu used police officer Kadir Sarmusak as a spy and obtained some secret documents on the West Working Group. Sarmusak was then doing his military service as a non-commissioned officer in the Naval Force Intelligence Department. Tension arose between the government and the military following the delivery of the said documents to the prime minister of the period, Necmettin Erbakan.

Avcı was together with Orakoğlu in the meeting where Orakoğlu asked noncommissioned officer Sarmusak to spy on and bring in the documents. Avcı was the deputy security commissioner in the period. As Orakoğlu faced charges in the court, The General Staff Military Prosecutor requested Avcı’s deposition. “It is our legal right as the police department if there are preparations for a coup,” said Avcı in a statement signaling the Security Department’s attitude on the subject matter.

[HH] Ten days in Beyşehir Prison

As the Refah-Yol coalition government fell, the first thing the new coalition formed by the Motherland Party, or ANAP, the Democratic Left Party, or DSP, and the Democratic Turkey Party, or DTP, did was remove Avcı from office to passive mission. His name came back to the agenda again on Feb. 3, 1998, when Avcı appeared on a TV news program titled “32. Gün” (32nd Day). He was quick to cause yet another earthquake so to speak. Avcı repeated his statements over the Susurluk case and openly included the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, in the gang plan of his.

The Chief of General Staff Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı of the period sent a letter to the government and asked for the launching of an investigation against Avcı for insulting the TSK. Four days later, Avcı was removed from office and punished with a loss of seniority for 26 months. Concurrently, the MİT put into process a four-month-old criminal complaint for revealing the state’s secrets. Therefore, AvcI was arrested by the State Security Court, or DGM, in that period, on Feb. 21 and sent to Beyşehir Prison. Avcı was acquitted after spending 10 days in the prison.

[HH] Operations against the HSYK and MİT

As the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government was formed in late 2002, Avcı was appointed as the Director of Security Department Organized Crime and Anti-Smuggling Unit. He ordered a series of critical operations in that period, one of which was the Lancet-2 Operation. Avcı worked together with Prosecutor Ömer Süha Aldan for the operation. During the investigation, as part of the operation, a bribery gang was exposed. The gang had even leaked into the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, or HSYK. And gang members were sentenced afterwards.

Another operation Avcı was involved in the same period was about finding out the connections between Alaattin Çakıcı, a mafia leader, and MİT. Avcı revealed that MİT was paying special attention to the Çakıcı dossier via the Chief Justice of the Appeals Court, Eraslan Özkaya, of the period. That was a scandal! The government replaced MİT Director Şenkal Atasagun with Emre Taner.

[HH] Why was he dismissed?

Avcı was dismissed from the seat of Organized Crime Department director and appointed to the Edirne Security Department. The claim then that he was pursing corruption claims against some groups close to the government was found audience in the Security Department.

As I heard of Avcı’s detention the other evening for having ties with the Revolutionary Headquarters, a leftist organization behind a deadly attack in Istanbul in 2009, I couldn’t help myself but to connect all these incidents together.

* Mr. Sedat Ergin is a columnist for daily Hürriyet, in which this piece appeared Thursday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

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