Hizbullah: The Susurluk of the Southeast

HDN | 1/27/2000 12:00:00 AM |

Writer Faik Bulut calls Huseyin Velioglu, the Hizbullah leader killed in Beykoz last week, the 'Catli of Hizbullah,' and says, 'if he had been taken alive, the Susurluk of the Southeast would have been solved' Yahya Kocoglu Istanbul - Turkish Daily News Faik Bulut, a Middle East expert who wrote the book "Code Name Hizbullah" together with Mehmet Farac, has said that the killing of Huseyin Velioglu will make it impossible to work out the exact relationships in the Susurluk of the Southeast.

  • Writer Faik Bulut calls Huseyin Velioglu, the Hizbullah leader killed in Beykoz last week, the 'Catli of Hizbullah,' and says, 'if he had been taken alive, the Susurluk of the Southeast would have been solved'
  • Yahya Kocoglu

    Istanbul - Turkish Daily News

    Faik Bulut, a Middle East expert who wrote the book "Code Name Hizbullah" together with Mehmet Farac, has said that the killing of Huseyin Velioglu will make it impossible to work out the exact relationships in the Susurluk of the Southeast. He described Velioglu, who was the leader of Hizbullah's Menzil group, as the Catli of the Southeast [Abdullah Catli was a wanted murderer who was killed in a car accident at Susurluk along with a police chief and his girlfriend. A member of Parliament was seriously injured in the same incident]. Pointing out that the ideology of Hizbullah, which has little support and is an artificial creation, had been destroyed, Bulut said, "it will not be easy to recreate Hizbullah after this."

    Speaking to the Turkish Daily News Bulut said that the organization in Turkey could not be compared to the real Hizbullah. Bulut said that the word Hizbullah is used for an organization actively involved in armed, military action, and from this point of view there can not really be any talk of an organization called Hizbullah in Turkey. "There are Islamic organizations which have taken up armed struggle. These are called Hizbullahi. But they cannot establish a central structure for themselves, each of them are local autonomous structures, wherever they are," said Bulut. He stated that this structure was the result of efforts by those influenced by the Iranian Islamic revolution and sympathetic to Islam. These attempted to organize in Turkey after receiving military and political training in Afghanistan and Iran.

    Bulut said that Hizbullah was an active organization in the Middle East with a central structure which relied on the people for its support and was involved in actions for the benefit of the people.

    Bulut continued: "There are no similarities between this organization and the groups in Turkey from the point of view of fighting methods and performance. The few people trained by the real Hizbullah are not enough to merit the name here. It means there is no organic relation between Hizbullah and the groups in Turkey. These groups have relations with other groups in Iran which want to export the Islamic revolution to Turkey. The Iranian government abandoned the idea of exporting the Islamic revolution to Turkey from 1990 on. But there are some groups which have not abandoned the idea and which hold some element of govermental power. These have used the groups in Turkey."

    Hizbullah in Turkey

    Bulut stated that the militants who chose armed struggle in order to gain power first started to organize in Diyarbakir at the beginning of 1980. He stressed that this activity was carried out in Diyarbakir where "not even a bird could fly" after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup. He further stated that Huseyin Velioglu, Fidan Gungor, Abdullah Yigit, Molla Mansur Guzelsoy and Ubeydullah Dalar had been involved in these efforts.

    According to Bulut, Hizbullahi organizations started in Diyarbakir, Batman and Istanbul in the first half of the 1980s in the following way: "While meetings were being held in Vahdet Bookstore in Diyarbakir, a group of Akinci people began to come together to talk about religious matters.

    After a while this group began committing some small thefts but was caught during a jewellery robbery in Mecidiyekoy in 1984. But among them was a National Movement Party (MHP) activist called Nejat Atiker who had previously been convicted of drugs offenses and theft, came to notice by offering to act directly to establish an organization instead of simply talking about it. Irfan Cagirici, the older brother of Ridvan Cagirici who was arrested in the robbery, appeared as the leader of an organization called "Islamic Action" in 1993. Ekrem Baytap, who was one of the leaders of the Islamic Action organization in the 1980s, had been trying to get organized in his Cem Bookstore in Batman."

    Faik Bulut said that although there were already some groups called Hizbullah in Turkey, the name began to be heard when it clashed with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Southeast in the beginning of the 1990s. Bulut discussed this process: "The period when Hizbullah began to be heard of and the first period when it fought against the PKK was in 1990 in Idil. PKK militants killed the father of a Hizbullah member. Then Hizbullah militants killed a PKK sympathizer called Mihail Bayro. Clashes then started.

    Local officials in this region saw that the guard system was not successful and turned a blind eye to Hizbullah militants in order to benefit from the hostility between Hizbullah and the PKK. In this way, they started to use Hizbullah militants against the PKK. This practice was adopted by other officials in nearby cities and regions. In Silvan, Gercus, Batman... It means they subscribed to the "dog eat dog" philosophy. This was an administrative and political weakness in the state and the officials in that region... Second, some forces which started to act in the name of the state included former confessed [members]. For instance Mehmet Yildirim, who went by the code name Yesil, killed PKK militants in the name of Hizbullah and Hizbullah militants in the name of the PKK..."

    Bulut pointed out that these claims appeared in the indictment prepared by the Diyarbakir State Security Court (DGM) Attorney General's Office. He mentioned that the same claim was repeated in the Turkish Parliament's Unsolved Murders Investigation Commission's report of 1995. In Murat Demir's confession statement, it was reported that Yildirim set up Hizbullah in Bingol Solhan with help from Velioglu. Bulut stated that the Diyarbakir representative of a weekly magazine (2000'e Dogru), Halit Gungen, was killed two weeks after alleging that there was a Hizbullah camp in Diyarbakir Rapid Deployment Forces Center.

    Stating that the "scientific wing" ["ilim kanadi," a branch of knowledge] whose leader was the Huseyin Velioglu killed in the operation in Beykoz, was against the PKK and also started fighting the Menzilci group which did not believe in armed conflict. Bulut said that about 300 members of the Menzil group, chief of which were Fidan Gungor and Ubeydullah Dalar, were killed in these clashes.

    Bulut gave information about the organization as follows: "In this period, the scientific wing had about 20,000 sympathizers. Very young people between the ages of 15 and 20, the ill-educated and unemployed masses, are organized in the mosques. All of them are potential murderers. They are brave people. They work as a professional murder gang. The organization's sources of funding are unknown. Anyone who joins them becomes rich all of a sudden. This money may come from abroad or may be from automobile theft, extortion, ransom and smuggling."

    The end of Hizbullah

    Faik Bulut pointed out that the "total fight" strategy from Tansu Ciller's term as prime minister, which led local officials to tolerate Hizbullah, changed in 1995 when Ismail Hakki Karaday became head of the General Staff. He went after Hizbullah, the PKK retreated militarily, and operations against Hizbullah started one after the other. The number of those caught reached 3,000 and after that the leaders, all of them known to the state, fled to the west of Turkey. Bulut talked about these events;

    "They came to the west but could not get any money there. It was someone else's territory. In my opinion, this was the reason why Velioglu's group got involved with the Zehra Association. This association consists of a group of people from southeastern Turkey, not involved in politics, and businessmen supportive of Islam. They tried to find support from this association made up of Kurdish people and to solve their money problems by kidnapping people for ransom. I think that Velioglu was influenced to come to Istanbul and to the west. He was brought here for some reason and then the operation in Beykoz was carried out. Velioglu's network of relations was quite intricate. For instance, the finding of video records of Mehmet Sumbul's interrogation... If it is true, it means that this organization without an ideal became a guerrilla force, working for the mafia. They may have directed their interests towards making money this way because of having lost their ideology."

    The Catli of the Islamists

    Bulut stated that Hizbullah was a result of the Kurdish problem not having been approached logically and said; "I think this organization is a result of Susurluk, which revealed the relations between police, mafia and parliamentary deputies. In this sense, Huseyin Velioglu was the Catli of the Islamists. He was a very dark person. He was a black box [as in an airplane]. If he have been caught alive, I think that the Susurluk relations in the southeast would have come to light in a detailed interrogation. But Velioglu took his secrets to the grave. He was also a black box from the point of view of the state. He was a black box for illegal actions, external relations and unsolved murders in that region."

    Bulut stated that the coalition government had heavy responsibilities if Turkey were to escape from such links. He said: "This government has democratic intentions of joining the European Union. At the level of democratic initiatives, it is trying to ensure freedom of thought and language and also cultural freedoms. What should be done is to reveal the relations between Hizbullah and some departments of state in that period and its links to politicians in that region. This means solving the Susurluk of the Southeast. In 1995, Parliament's Unsolved Murders Investigation Commission was working, but this was a time when the party in power did not want to reveal these matters. A new commission should be established and the same investigation should be carried out seriously. I believe that we can get definite and clear results.

    "Those who were afraid of giving evidence were scared of the PKK and Hizbullah. In this sense, officials in the region can do their work in a more legal fashion and examine the files in detail. Many documents have been found, and Hizbullah uncovered to a great extent. The distrust between the state and the public in the region would disappear. All of this could be done by working seriously and objectively. I say this on the condition that the justice system carry out its duties. Putting police in mosques and put Hizbullah militants in prison are temporary measures."

    Hizbullah groups in Turkey
  • Kasimpasa Hizbullah.
  • Southeast Hizbullah.
  • Diyarbakir Hizbullah (menzil group) Fidan Gungor, Mansur Guzelsoy, Ubeydullah Dalar.
  • Batman Hizbullah (Dawn group) Giyasettin Ugur.
  • Science group (Diyarbakir- Batman group) Huseyin Velioglu. He changed his surname in 1995. Educated at the School of Political Sciences.
  • Batman Hizbullah (Islamic Action people) When they were caught in Istanbul, MIT (National Intelligence Organization) identification cards were found on them. The details on the cards were correct. Additionally, 40 kilogrammes of C-4 was found. But an investigation into these explosives was not conducted.
  • Silvan Hizbullah, Mardin-Nusaybin Hizbullah, Bingol Hizbullah, Urfa Hizbullah, Mus and its vicinity Hizbullah, Gaziantep Hizbullah. Other regions' Hizbullah.
  • Hizbullah Book

    In the book by Faik Bulut and Mehmet Farac, published by Ozan Publications at the beginning of 1999, it was written that Hizbullah was finished in the Southeast. It was also stated that the "brains" of the Hizbullah groups were paralyzed and many trigger men caught during the Beykoz operation, or in other places the previous year.

    The text says: "Some of the most senior figures ran away from the southeast to the west of Turkey, migrating to cities such as Istanbul, Bursa, Adana and Mersin, and then disappeared. It means that the Hizbullah cancer spread all over Turkey, eating through its body."

    It is stated that the trigger men for these groups, which were supported by some state officials in the Southeast, were set free at police stations after being captured. It is written in the book that the Hizbullah militants called "Islamic Action," who were caught in Istanbul and Ankara between 1993 and 1995, were used by foreign intelligence organizations and were involved in many spying activities. In the book the organization's characteristics are described, these include: preferring to carry out its activities in daylight, shooting victims in the head with a single bullet and not claiming responsibility for its actions.
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