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Court acquits Eyup Asik in mafia trial

HDN | 2/4/1999 12:00:00 AM |

Former State Minister Eyup Asik resigned from the government in September when television stations broadcast his taped conversations with mafia boss Alaattin Cakici. The scandal eventually led to the collapse of the Mesut Yilmaz-led 55th government in November of last year HAKAN ASLANELI Istanbul - Turkish Daily News A leading conservative politician was acquitted on Wednesday of charges of aiding and abetting the mob. Eyup Asik, a confidant of Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz, resigned his

  • Former State Minister Eyup Asik resigned from the government in September when television stations broadcast his taped conversations with mafia boss Alaattin Cakici. The scandal eventually led to the collapse of the Mesut Yilmaz-led 55th government in November of last year
  • HAKAN ASLANELI

    Istanbul - Turkish Daily News

    A leading conservative politician was acquitted on Wednesday of charges of aiding and abetting the mob.

    Eyup Asik, a confidant of Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz, resigned his post as state minister last September when television stations broadcast his taped conversations with mafia leader Alaattin Cakici. The scandal eventually led to the collapse of the Yilmaz-led 55th government in November of last year.

    In the end, the court ruled that the conversations did not constitute a crime.

    As a result, Asik, who also gave up his position as a member of Parliament when news of the scandal broke three months ago, was legally absolved of any wrongdoing. He is therefore eligible to seek election in the upcoming April 18 parliamentary and mayoral elections.

    Asik, who was accused of assisting in the formation of illegal gangs, arrived at yesterday's hearing at approximately 10:00 a.m. During the hearing, which a large group of people attended, prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin explained how Cakici had managed to elude authorities for so long. Engin suggested that Cakici had been instructed by certain people in Turkey to change his place of residence and that Asik had assisted in these flights. Engin asked for a prison term of six months to one year for Asik.

    The prosecutor stated that in July 1977 Turkish police organized an operation in the United States, the goal of which was to capture Cakici, but that the mafia boss had managed to flee as a result of information obtained from Turkey.

    Engin reminded the court that Cakici had made public certain cassette recordings of telephone conversations with Asik, in which the latter instructed him to change his place of residence. "The evidence of the court demonstrates that Cakici learned about the operation from Asik and consequently changed his location. According to article 314/1 of the Turkish Criminal Code, Asik is guilty of assisting a criminal gang member," Engin said.

    Asik's defense

    In his defense, Asik said that the cassette recordings were part of a conspiracy and were released in an effort to blackmail him.

    Asik said that a careful scrutiny of the material provided by Cakici indicated that he had only confirmed some facts. "I never assisted the gangs, nor did I assist Alaattin Cakici. This is a war. This is a war started by Alaattin Cakici. This is the reason why these cassettes were made," said Asik.

    Asik denied the charges against him and asked to be acquitted. Seha Cakin, one of Asik's lawyers, said that she did not agree with the accusation with which her client was faced, claiming that the real reason Cakici was not caught was that the Turkish police team that sought to capture him was unprepared and the operation was ill-timed.

    Taking the floor again, Asik said that he agreed to talk with Cakici on the phone after being told that the mafia boss would provide him with some important information. "I was persuaded to talk with him because I was promised some very important information. As you may remember, at the end of the conversation I asked Cakici what this information was but he did not respond. The reason why I continued to talk with him was to get this information. In the meantime, Cakici succeeded in his goal [of acquiring something with which to blackmail Asik] by making this cassette recording. I am innocent. I never assisted the gangs and I request that I be released."

    The verdict

    After the court pronounced the verdict, the presiding judge, Sedat Karagul, said that although Asik was charged with "assisting a criminal gang" and although the prosecutor demanded that he be punished, Asik had been acquitted by a majority decision, because the physical and psychological evidence for conviction was lacking.

    Sedat Karagul opposed the majority decision, claiming that cassette recordings of the Asik-Cakici conversation, records of a conversation between Cakici and businessman Erol Evcil, whose name has been mentioned in connection with the murder of usurer Nesim Malki, a telephone conversation between Cakici and his mother, an expert report regarding the authenticity of the Asik-Cakici cassette recordings and Asik's own testimony constituted incriminatory evidence according to article 314/1 of the Turkish Criminal Code. "I therefore oppose the majority decision," Karagul said.

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