Take a closer look at Turkey's Hanefi Avcı: Once a 'hero,' now in prison
ISTANBUL - Radikal | 10/1/2010 12:00:00 AM | ERTUĞRUL MAVİOĞLU / Analysis
With Hanefi Avcı, the policeman who made allegations about the Gülen community's secret power, the name on everyone's lips, questions remain about his background.
A torturer, or a policeman who regrets past tortures? A nationalist police chief, or a democratic police chief? A man who loves revolutionaries or murders revolutionaries, and now is a revolutionary – Who is Hanefi Avcı?
Eskişehir Police Chief Avcı has been on top of the media’s agenda, first for the book he wrote, “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar: Dün Devlet Bugün Cemaat” (‘Devotee’ Residents of Haliç: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation), and then for his arrest over allegations that he had connections with the illegal leftist Revolutionary Headquarters organization.
In his book, Avcı alleged that the Fethullah Gülen community had seized the state and wiretapped many people unlawfully.
The Gülen community is a religious community that is headed by scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in the United States.
Avcı, meanwhile, was arrested Wednesday over accusations that he had contact with the illegal Revolutionary Headquarters organization.
Cahit Akçam, a partner of the publishing house that printed Avcı’s book, believes that Avcı’s arrest is the revenge of the Gülen community.
After the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup, Avcı was a police officer in the southern province of Mersin. Witnesses who were severely tortured in the province alleged that Avcı was responsible for the murder of Ali Uygur, a member of the Devrimci Yol, or the Revolutionary Path, a revolutionary youth group at the time.
Uygur was detained in July 1980 and allegedly killed at Mersin Police Headquarters. His body was found in a potter’s field many years after.
According to Ethem Dinçer, the head of the Mersin 78’liler Association, Avcı threatened revolutionaries under arrest, saying their end would be like Uygur’s if they did not talk.
[HH] Who is the murderer of Uygur?
Avcı returned to Mersin years after, this time as a police officer in search of redemption. In 1997 Avcı met with his torture victims and apologized to them in news that made a cover story in the Aktüel news magazine.
Dinçer said some revolutionaries at the time refused to meet with Avcı although others agreed to the chance to talk in the hopes of locating Uygur’s killer.
In the end, Avcı managed to meet six of his torture victims and had photographs taken with them – including one with Necdet Kılıç, who is currently accused of being the financier of the Revolutionary Headquarters.
Revolutionary Headquarters has rejected the allegation on its website, however. “This person [Kılıç] has no relation to our organization. Moreover, if he were our financer, as is claimed, we will easily say that we leave his punishment to God due to our poor financial situation,” the organization said.
[HH] Susurluk testimony
Avcı did not stay away from newspapers’ front pages for long. When the dirty laundry of Turkish counter guerillas was spread over the road in a car crash on Nov. 3, 1996, Avcı, who was the head of Police Intelligence at that time, testified to the parliamentary commission which was founded to investigate the car crash.
The car crash is known as the Susurluk scandal as the collision between a car and a truck in Balıkesir’s Susurluk revealed relations among the mafia, police and state after a parliamentary deputy, a hitman and a police officer were found together in the car.
As the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, began to weaken during that time, Avcı said unemployed members of special police units had begun to work with the mafia. Those units also exist within the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, and JİTEM, the gendarmerie intelligence unit whose existence has never officially been acknowledged.
According to Avcı, those groups were organized by the national police chief of the period, Mehmet Ağar, Special Police Forces Directorate head İbrahim Şahin, Korkut Eken and Mehmet Eymür.
After his testimony about Susurluk, Avcı was accused of manipulating the events to absolve himself, of not providing documents for his allegations and only telling the amount that benefited him. The same allegations were brought up after he wrote his book, too.
* This article originally appeared in daily Radikal and was translated into English by the Daily News staff