Secret witness in Ergenekon case, now witness in Gülen case
İsmail Saymaz - ISTANBULA prosecutor who acted as a secret witness in the Ergenekon coup plot case has become a witness in a case into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which is widely believed to have masterminded the July 2016 failed coup.
Bayram Bozkurt, whose code name is “Efe,” was a key figure in the arrests of Gen. Saldıray Berk, the top suspect in the Ergenekon case in the eastern province of Erzurum, and former Erzincan Chief Public Prosecutor İlhan Cihaner.
Bozkurt, who was arrested for being a Gülenist, has said he would provide “significant information” on FETÖ and became a witness after the court agreed to release him. The court also decided to conceal the contents of the hearing citing “national security.”
The 2013 Ergenekon case was strongly supported by ringleader Fethullah Gülen and saw 275 military officers, journalists, lawyers and academics indicted for allegedly conspiring to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, the suspects were then released following a Constitutional Court ruling and their convictions were quashed earlier in 2016, with the authorities accusing Gülen of perverting the legal process and fabricating evidence.
Bozkurt appeared in the first hearing of the case held at the Erzincan 2nd Court of Serious Crimes on Jan. 11.
According to the hearing record, Bozkurt demanded that the court issue a gag order on his case after the recording ended.
“Because I know the structure of the FETÖ armed terrorist organization very well and in order to conduct studies on this structure, I demand my release for at least one or two months. If there is a situation for my re-arrest later on, that won’t be a problem. There are things I need to do in order to save the country from the dangerous situation it is in. That’s why I request my release,” he said.
The prosecutor, whose view was solicited, demanded a confidentiality order be applied in the case and that Bozkurt be released, subject to an overseas travel ban. The court accepted the demand and released Bozkurt, while also granting his request for a gag order.
Bozkurt, who was appointed to the prosecutor’s office in Erzincan’s İliç district in 2009, became a secret witness in the Ergenekon case after going to the Erzurum Specially Authorized Chief Prosecutor’s Office after an investigation was launched against him on bribery claims. He then left the prosecutor’s office, claiming “Ergenekon wants to kill him.”
As part of the Witness Protection Law, his name was changed and he underwent a plastic surgery operation before being re-assigned as a prosecutor. He then went to the U.S. with his wife.
After the aforementioned incidents surfaced, Bozkurt was sacked from his position as a prosecutor.