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ARTS-CULTURE

Blood feud in the South East underworld

HDN | 11/18/1996 12:00:00 AM |

To take control of the narcotics and smuggling traffic of Southeastern Turkey is a great opportunity for any criminal organization. Mumcu: "Examples around the world indicate that there is a serious connection between terrorism and narcotics and arms smuggling. Kucuk: The key names of right wing operation against the leftists were Sukru Balci and Mehmet Agar (former Interior Minister and DYP deputy) and Unal Erkan (former the governor of the Southeast Emergency Rule region and current DYP deputy).By

  • To take control of the narcotics and smuggling traffic of Southeastern Turkey is a great opportunity for any criminal organization.
  • Mumcu: "Examples around the world indicate that there is a serious connection between terrorism and narcotics and arms smuggling.
  • Kucuk: The key names of right wing operation against the leftists were Sukru Balci and Mehmet Agar (former Interior Minister and DYP deputy) and Unal Erkan (former the governor of the Southeast Emergency Rule region and current DYP deputy).By M. Akif Beki / Turkish Daily News

    ISTANBUL- The recent traffic accident in Susurluk district, in which a senior police officer, a leading figure in Turkey's criminal underworld and his girlfriend were killed and a member of the governing coalition's True Path Party (DYP) was injured, and which has prompted wide discussion on mafia, political and police relations, also calls for a new look at recent events and requires the re-reading of the past through new eyes.

    There have been dozens of mysterious murders involving the black princes of the underground world, investigative journalists who concentrated on the mafia and terrorism, and high-level army officers and spies in the past, all seen as reflections of a secret settling of accounts.

    According to the thesis derived from opinions of former MIT official Mahir Kaynak, former Staff Lieutenant Colonel Talat Turhan -- who carried his claims to court, writer Yalcin Kucuk and late columnist Ugur Mumcu, the struggle to gain the upper hand between two opposite sides of the underground world, in which both sides have extensions inside the state, turned into a blood feud through the bloody assassinations which have targeted prominent figures in the opposing camps.

    The region in which the fighting is taking place -- southeastern Turkey -- is a historical transit line for drugs where 80 percent of all narcotic substances originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan use this route to reach the European and Trans-Atlantic markets.

    That being so, to take control of the narcotics and smuggling traffic of Southeastern Turkey is a great opportunity for any criminal organization. But to have control of this line it is necessary to be connected to and be backed by a multinational criminal organization that can provide the resources, transportation facilities and markets. However, such types of criminal organizations would not be able to be in charge of the secret underworld kingdom without the support of secret services.

    This is why one powerful thesis on what is going on behind the scenes here carries the claim that from terrorist and anti-terrorist organizations to secret services, all the legal and illegal organizations are taking part on one side or other of this struggle.Local battle or international power struggle?

    According to this thesis, the history of this blood feud was going to come about with the ending of the illegal Armenian organization ASALA, and the foundation of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) instead. Just at this point, the process saw the involvement via a secret initiative of the conflict between the German-led European side and America, with existing data verifying this thesis.

    "Armenian terror increased after 1974 and was cut suddenly while PKK terror evolved instead," Mumcu wrote. "However, while talking with a number of prosecutors abroad, they said off the record that the Armenian terrorist organization ASALA and the French government had reached an agreement in 1984, and after this date the terrorist activities of the PKK had increased instead of ASALA."

    Mumcu, who was assassinated in 1993, wrote this in an article printed just four days before his death.

    In the same article, while explaining the connections of and reasons for terrorist organizations, Mumcu went on to write that "Examples around the world indicate that there is a serious connection between terrorism and narcotics and arms smuggling. Narcotic substances go and return as arms, and so terrorist activities happen by those means."

    Additionally, from another viewpoint, the Armenian ASALA organization was allegedly destroyed by a secret team consisting of activist members of the Ultra-Nationalist Movement's youth branches in an operation on an ASALA base camp in Beirut in 1982.

    According to claims and confessions made in court by many nationalist `Ulkucu' suspects after the 1980s such as murdered crime figure Tevfik A§ansoy. Reputedly involved in the raid were Abdullah Catli and Alaattin Cakici, who were suspected for a number of killings and bombing actions held before the September 12, 1980 military coup.

    As part of the struggle for control between opposing blocks within the state, the claim continues, the PKK would be founded to obtain regional control after a purge of the ASALA organization. The PKK was backed by European secret services and the underground world cooperated with the Turkish side.

    Allegedly, a campaign was also started against the left-wing mafia which was working with the PKK after the 1980s by the right-wing, which included police chiefs, journalists and nationalist activists called the "Ulkucus" who had been involved in the ASALA operation. Ugur Mumcu in particular can be observed among those who tried to decipher the coalition among the left-wing mafia, the PKK and army and secret service officers, Yalcin Kucuk claimed recently in an interview.

    The left-wing mafia, led by the "Turkish Escobar," Behcet Canturk, and Savas Buldan was allegedly backed by the Gendarmarie Secret Service (JITEM), organized by Cem Ersever and his team during the time when late General Esref Bitlis was Gendarmery Forces Commander.

    The stones of balance would be moved and the control of Southeast would be taken over by the pro American side. But this also would make the historical silk road insecure for the smuggler and illegal traders who were working jointly withthe left-wing organization being destroyed. That being so, narcotic smugglers began to seek an alternative route to carry their products from Afghanistan and Pakistan to European markets, often by sea. But the American side worked to eliminate this alternative as it would undermine their own control over the trade.

    Described as the operation of the century, two ships, the Kismetim 1 and Lucky S, were boarded by Istanbul police teams and the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and found to be carrying narcotic substances totalling more than 15,000 tons and counterfeit money from the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea to the Mediterranean in 1993 before murdering Ugur Mumcu.Mumcu's last story

    In his last investigation, Ugur Mumcu claimed that, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan had a connection with MIT during his time as a student at Ankara Political Sciences Faculty. Ocalan was arrested during a demonstration but was not convicted with his other left-wing friends who were protesting against the killing of Mahir Cayan and his friends. According to Ugur Mumcu, the military court released Ocalan because he was a spy for MIT, in an article printed in daily Cumhuriyet after his death.

    Another of Mumcu's claims was that Ocalan had married a girl (called Kesire) linked to a MIT spy called Ali Yildirim. In addition, another alleged connection between the PKK and MIT was a person who would be side by side with Ocalan in the Lebanon's Syrian controlled Bekaa Valley, namely Pilot Necati.

    According to Mumcu, in 1979 a group of PKK militants said to Ocalan that Necati was a spy and so he had to be purged. However, despite this Ocalan protected Necati and said that Necati was his key to security.

    Mumcu became one major victim of a series of sensational mysterious murders in a bombing assassination in January 24, 1993, at a time when the secret conflict between opposing sides was heating up.Another assassination?

    After Mumcu's assassination, the commander of the Gendarmarie, General Esref Bitlis, was killed in a helicopter accident which writer Yalcin Kucuk believes was not an accident at all but another assassination.

    The famous pro-Kurdish writer Kucuk, who is known for his close ties with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and who now lives in Europe, claimed in an interview recently that Mumcu and Bitlis were victims of a conflict between Germany and its supporters and America, both trying to gain influence in the Southeast region.

    "I have been in prison together with `godfathers' of the underworld," Ku‡uk said . "They were reading Ugur Mumcu`s columns in the daily Cumhuriyet and saying that they knew the information source of Ugur Mumcu.

    "When I got my freedom I saw Ugur Mumcu and said to him that the left-wing underworld will kill him. And I said that they know that you are getting information from Sukru Balci (a well known police chief of 1980s who died in America in 1993)."

    According to Ku‡uk, the key names of right wing operation against the leftists were Sukru Balci and Mehmet Agar (former Interior Minister and DYP deputy) and Unal Erkan (former the governor of the Southeast Emergency Rule region and current DYP deputy).

    "According to our information, Sukru Balci started a campaign to purify the left-wing mafia to the open field to the nationalist Ulkucu mafia who were associated by the Cumhuriyet columnist Ugur Mumcu and Hurriyet columnist Cetin Emec (killed in an armed assassination in March 7, 1990) in this campaign," Kucuk claimed.

    Evaluating death of Esref Bitlis, Kucuk claimed that Bitlis was killed in response to the Mumcu murder by other side of the state.

    "This thesis also is part of the American-German initiative conflict," he claimed. "Because Bitlis was looking like a German minded person who grew in Germany and learned the German language while everyone was learning English.

    "Another indicator of this is that Germany stopped human rights based pressures on the Turkish government concerning the use of German arms in southeast Turkey. PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan also was surprised like me, and we could not understand the reason for this change when I met with Ocalan in Arab territory. But later we discovered that this policy change of Germany happened at the same time as Esref Bitlis becoming the commander of the Gendarmarie."

    The following scenario completes the thesis of Yalcin Kucuk.

    The Gendarmarie's secret service, JITEM, was allegedly founded by Cem Ersever in accordance with orders of Esref Bitlis. Ersever had very close ties with Bitlis. Then, Ersever's team began to combat right-wing groups, including tribes like the Bucaks, working with the special operation teams and PKK confessors, deciphering their secrets and uncovering unlawful events they were involved in.

    The conflict heated up after the Ugur Mumcu murder and the right wing coalition of pro-nationalist special teams in the security forces, tribes, Ulkucu mafia and PKK collaborators decided to destroy this left wing coalition of JITEM (Cem Ersever team), the PKK, and pro-Kurdish underworld princes.Who is in the game?

    In addition, writer Yalcin Kucuk, Workers Party leader Dogu Perincek, former army officer Talat Turhan and Mumcu put forward the claim that the right wing coalition was backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli secret service MOSSAD and has a counter guerrilla organization, founded before 1980 and from chosen from young members of the ultra-nationalist Ulkucu movement like the Gladio of Italy, while the other side was supported by German, France and Syria secret services and has an other secret organization as its spearhead.

    Later, the American side began to eliminate one by one the pro German parties: JITEM was cancelled and Cem Ersever and his team including his girlfriend who was accused of being a Syrian al-Muhaberat spy, were killed.

    The left wing mafia princes would become victims of a series murders. Behcet Canturk who had often been accused by Ugur Mumcu of being a secret sponsor of the PKK with his smuggling empire, was killed. Savas Buldan, Tarik Umit and others followed him.

    Finally the certain victor of this conflict, the right wing coalition, was uncovered in Susurluk in a black Mercedes involved in one of the many traffic accidents on Turkey's roads. A picture of this coalition could be printed by press for the first time after this accident while it was written under this picture that the founder of the special operation teams, Huseyin Kocadag, the leader of Bucak Clan and DYP deputy Sedat Bucak and preeminent prince of the underworld, `Ulkucu godfather` Abdullah Catli, were found side by side. Back to first page of this issueBack to Submenu for more choices
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