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Hizbullah is prime example of state's 'playing one against the other' policy

HDN | 1/31/2000 12:00:00 AM |

The terrorist organization first killed PKK sympathizers, then directed its attacks towards journalists who had investigated their operations, many of whom labelled Hizbullah as 'state sponsored' Ankara - Turkish Daily News They operated in teams of two or three people. They would stalk their victim before one of the group carried out the execution by shooting the target in the neck with a single bullet, while the other kept watch. A third militant may have assumed the duty of protecting the

  • The terrorist organization first killed PKK sympathizers, then directed its attacks towards journalists who had investigated their operations, many of whom labelled Hizbullah as 'state sponsored'
  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    They operated in teams of two or three people. They would stalk their victim before one of the group carried out the execution by shooting the target in the neck with a single bullet, while the other kept watch. A third militant may have assumed the duty of protecting the executioner: This was the modus operandi of Hizbullah.

    From the late 1980s until the capture of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in mid-1999, the radical Islamist terror organization, calling themselves Hizbullah and referring to their opponents as Hizbulcontras, committed approximately 2,000 murders in southeastern Turkey.

    Most of the fatal attacks against PKK sympathizers as well as against members of political parties, including the People's Labor Party (HEP), the Democracy Party (DEP) and the People's Democracy Party (HADEP), remain unsolved. In the early 1990s, the number of murders rapidly increased, prompting allegations that the organization was supported by the state.

    Journalist Halit Gungen, the first person to add weight to this allegation by confirming the state support through photographic evidence, was killed in an armed assault while working in the Diyarbakir office of the 2000'e Dogru (Towards 2000) newspaper.

    The massacre of journalists

    The photos taken by Gungen showed armed Hizbullah militants receiving firearms training at the training field of the Diyarbakir police anti-terrorist task force.

    Gungen's fate was shared by Hafiz Ozdemir, a columnist of the Diyarkabir newspaper Ozgur Gundem (Free Agenda), who followed a similar approach. Then several other journalists were assassinated, all working for either Ozgur Gundem or for 2000'e Dogru. In the beginning of the 1990s, little short of a 'massacre of journalists' was experienced in the Southeast, and all of these murders remain unsolved.

    The fact is that most of the murdered journalists were those who either investigated Hizbullah, wrote articles about the terrorist organization or published interviews on terrorism. Moreover, none of the killers were ever apprehended by the police. This situation further increased suspicions that Hizbullah was receiving support from the state.

    Gendarmerie support for Hizbullah

    The support provided for Hizbullah was not limited to firearms training at the headquarters of the task force. According to some allegations, Hizbullah terrorists who were captured by local residents, at great risk to their own lives, were released by the police within a few days.

    In mid-1992, a businessman who owned a souvenir shop in Mardin's Nusaybin county was assassinated in his shop by a terrorist. The killer was captured by the owners of the other shops in the area and was subsequently turned in to the police. To the amazement of the people, he was also released after a few days.

    Based on the accelerated rate of unsolved murders committed in the region and the increased number of allegations claiming that the terrorist organization was receiving support from the state, a Parliamentary Investigation Commission was formed at the beginning of 1993. As part of this probe the members of the commission started inquiries in August 1993 in Batman, where the majority of these murders were committed.

    In response to questions posed to him by the commission chairman, True Path Party (DYP) Ankara Deputy Sadik Avundukluoglu, and commission members, including Virtue Party (FP) Bingol Deputy Husamettin Korkutan, Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) Kars Deputy Atilla Hun and SHP Malatya Deputy Mustafa Yilmaz, Batman Police Chief Ozturk Yildiz admitted that Hizbullah militants undergo fire arms training at their camps the in Sekili, Cicekli and Gonullu villages of Gercus and that the gendarmerie forces provide logistical support for the organization.

    Missing audiocassette

    This conversation, which took place in the office of the deputy governor of Batman, was recorded on an audiocassette by Judge Akman Akyurek, who died in a suspicious traffic accident in 1997. Following his death the audiocassette recording of this conversation mysteriously went missing.

    Some details of the conversation between Police Chief Yildiz and the investigation commission members were published in newspapers after the information was released. However, the Office of the Chief of General Staff censored the broadcast of a popular TV program entitled 'Arena,' which was hosted by celebrated TV personality and renowned journalist Ugur Dundar, just before the information about that audiocassette was to be announced.

    Intra-organizational conflict

    In the mid-1990s, Hizbullah split into two separate terrorist groups, assuming the names of Ilimciler (The Scientists) and Menzilciler (The Rangers). Those who disapproved of violence assembled around Fidan Gungor, under the name of Menzilciler, while the others who favored violence went under the leadership of Huseyin Velioglu and assumed the name Ilimciler.

    From this date on, a bloody conflict took place between the two wings. The violent Ilimciler started to brutally massacre the moderate Menzilciler with knives, hatchets and guns.

    By that time, the state no longer needed Hizbullah. The PKK terrorist organization had been reduced in size, and its leader Ocalan was forced out of Syria and was subsequently arrested by a police operation in Kenya before being brought to Turkey and imprisoned at Imrali Prison. Furthermore, upon the orders of Ocalan, which were issued from his prison cell, the PKK militants started to leave Turkey. This turn of events left the state facing the threat of Hizbullah.

    Based on information obtained from Hizbullah informers as well as facts acquired from arrested terrorists, Turkish security forces launched attacks against Hizbullah in the Southeast, causing heavy losses to the terrorist organization. Realizing that there was no place left for them to hide and with the intention of covering their tracks, the terrorists started to migrate to cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Konya and subsequently targeted former members who had deserted the organization. Their aim was to re-establish the structure of the group.

    Many people, including some well-established businessmen of Kurdish descent, were kidnapped for this purpose and executed following prolonged torture and questioning.

    Realizing that this was the work of Hizbullah, terrified relatives of the victims did not dare to go to the police; therefore, the murders remained a mystery. This state of affairs continued until Izzettin Yildirim, an established businessman and chairman of the Zehra Foundation, disappeared.

    The recent developments only started after the relatives of Yildirim reported the incident to the police and forced the merciless face of Hizbullah to emerge from the shadows. The police operations shed light on evidence that the Islamists, who were intending to establish an autonomous Kurdish state under Shariah rule, transformed the country into a killing field.

    The dozens of bodies unearthed from mass graves in Istanbul, Ankara, Konya and Gaziantep was the horrific consequence of the "playing one against the other" policy of the state.

    Allegations of Iranian support

    Allegations prevailed since the beginning that Hizbullah, which was founded in the Batman town of Gercus and developed into a threat from the mosques located in southeastern Anatolia, received support from Iran.

    According to those who maintain these allegations, the Islamic Republic of Iran either establishes these organizations or provides financial support for them in order to promote its regime in neighboring countries.

    These allegations were put to Iranian Foreign Minister Kemal Kharrazi during his recent visit to Turkey. Kharrazi first abruptly refused to respond to the question and later held a press conference during which he denied the allegations and stipulated that Iran did not support any form of terrorism.

    Despite the fact that Kharrazi denied Iran's involvement in terrorism, the Hizbullah terrorists recently apprehended by the police admitted in their testimonies that they received military training and support in Iran and gave the names and descriptions of the Iranian guards who acted on behalf of the Iranian government.

    ( $=553.281 TL Official Rate)

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