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The Susurluk Report Produces a Mouse

HDN | 2/1/1998 12:00:00 AM |

TV show contributions: Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz has claimed that he preferred to discuss the contents of the Susurluk report on a private channel television show rather than in Parliament because the TV show had contributed substantially to the report Political approach: The real problem with this report is its political approach. It dates the activities and even the existence of this gang to the second half of 1993, when Tansu Ciller became leader of the DYP and prime minister. It ends when Ciller

  • TV show contributions: Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz has claimed that he preferred to discuss the contents of the Susurluk report on a private channel television show rather than in Parliament because the TV show had contributed substantially to the report
  • Political approach: The real problem with this report is its political approach. It dates the activities and even the existence of this gang to the second half of 1993, when Tansu Ciller became leader of the DYP and prime minister. It ends when Ciller left the prime ministry in 1996By M. Akif Beki

    The Susurluk report of Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz created serious disappointment among the public, because Kutlu Savas, head of the Prime Ministry's Investigation Council, was given the authority by the prime minister to solve and expose the dimensions of the criminal gang which was allegedly related to the state as well as the illicit activities of this gang.

    Six months have passed since Savas was given the job, and he has finally presented his report to Yilmaz. The report repeatedly raised the hopes of society in general because it was being prepared in the name of purifying the state of illegal activities, and so, also, of the gangs.

    But Yilmaz first said that he would not reveal the whole of the report since it contained state secrets. Following that, Yilmaz preferred to inform the public about the contents of the report via a live broadcast "reality show" on a private television channel rather than in a press conference in Parliament. When asked the reason for this preference, Yilmaz said that it was because this show had made valuable contributions to the report.

    Although many parts of the report were broadcast by this program, there was nothing new. The report just proposed to the prime minister which subjects should be investigated. The rest of the information was collected in its entirety from the report of the Parliamentary Susurluk Commission. For instance, it was known that Abdullah Catli, the ultranationalist chief wanted for murder, had been using Mehmet Ozbay's identity card. So Savas' duty was to reveal the relations between Catli and the real Ozbay. But what did Savas do? He suggested to the prime minister in his report that relations between Catli and Ozbay should be clarified.

    There wasn't any new evidence either which would have substantiated the parliamentary report. This is why the Turkish public was really very disappointed when super-investigator Savas' report only produced a mouse after a six-month gestation period.

    But the real problem with this report has its source in the political approach which super-sleuth Savas took. He chose to date the activities and even the existence of this gang to the second half of 1993. This date was very meaningful. This was when Yilmaz's rival, Tansu Ciller, became the leader of the True Path Party (DYP) as well as prime minister. Furthermore, according to Savas, the gang was active until the date on which Tansu Ciller left the prime ministry following the general elections of 1996.

    That being so, Savas' report was described by certain circles as a tailor-made report, because it was based on political hostility between Yilmaz and Ciller.

    This was despite the fact that the existence of the "Susurluk" gang, which was allegedly related to the state could be traced to before Ciller's stint in power -- in particular the activities carried out by this gang which involved ultranationalist militants, the underground world, the police and the intelligence service -- was already partially known.The abridged story of the gang according to Savas

    The 1996 traffic accident in the Susurluk district, in which a senior police officer, a leading figure in Turkey's criminal underworld and his girlfriend were killed, while a member of the governing coalition, the DYP, was injured, prompted broad discussions of mafia and political and police relations.

    There have been dozens of mysterious murders involving the black princes of the underground world, investigative journalists who concentrated on the mafia and terrorism, and high-level army officers and spies in the past -- all of these have been seen as reflections of a secret settling of accounts.

    The region in which fighting is taking place -- southeastern Turkey -- is a historical transit line for narcotics, through which pass 80 percent of all narcotic substances having their source in Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to reach European and transatlantic markets.

    That being so, taking control of the narcotics and smuggling traffic of the Southeast is a great opportunity for any criminal organization. But to have control of this route, it is necessary to be connected to and backed by a multinational criminal organization that can provide the resources, transportation facilities and markets. However, such types of criminal organizations would not be able to be in charge of the secret underworld kingdom without the support of governmental secret services.

    The history of this bloodshed was to take place with the end of the illegal Armenian organization, ASALA (The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia), and the foundation of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) instead.

    Additionally, ASALA was allegedly destroyed by a secret team consisting of activist members of the ultranationalist movement's youth branches in an operation in an ASALA branch camp in Beirut in 1982. (According to claims and confessions made in court by many nationalist "irkici" suspects after the 1980s, such as the murdered Tevfik Agansoy, involved in the raid were Abdullah Catli and Alaattin Cakici, who were suspects in a number of killings and bombings held before the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup.)

    A campaign was also begun against the left-wing mafia which was working with the PKK following the 1980s by the right wing, which included police chiefs, journalists and nationalist activists called the "Ulkucus," who had been involved in the ASALA operation.

    The key names in the right-wing operation against the leftists were Sukru Balci and Mehmet Agar (former interior minister and DYP deputy) and Unal Erkan (former governor of the Southeast Emergency Rule Region and currently a DYP deputy) in the police organization, while Mehmet Eymur and Hiram Abbas were the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) officials involved in this operation.

    A secret conflict surfaced between the team run by Abbas in MIT and Balci's team in the police force. The first concrete clue to this conflict was a report written MIT's Eymur in 1988. The report revealed the sordid connections between the underground world and Balci's police team, including Agar and Erkan. In addition, many leading political figures of today -- except Tansu Ciller -- were counted among the political supporters of this crime organization in the report. The report created a sensation when printed in a magazine, and Eymur was discharged from MIT.

    The public learned of the continuation of this secret conflict between MIT and the police with a second sensational MIT report. This time, just a short while before the Susurluk accident, a MIT report was revealed by Dogu Perincek, who had ensured that the first report was printed.

    This report revealed all the secrets of Abdullah Catli and his gang and their relationship to the state. Even the connection of Agar and other special operation team members were set out clearly in this report. Furthermore, sensational activities and mysteriousmurders by this gang were enumerated.

    The left-wing mafia princes would become the victims of a series of murders through an operation carried out by this gang in the name of cutting financial support for the PKK. Behcet Canturk, who had often been accused by Ugur Mumcu of being a secret sponsor of the PKK with his smuggling empire, was killed. Savas Buldan, Tarik Umit... And others followed him.

    This report was completely proven by an accident. Finally, the definite victor of this conflict, the right-wing coalition, was uncovered in Susurluk in a black Mercedes involved in one of the many traffic accidents on Turkey's roads. The picture of this coalition was only first obtained by the press through this accident. The caption showed the founder of the special operations teams, Huseyin Kocadag, the leader of the Bucak clan and DYP deputy, Sedat Bucak, and the preeminent prince of the underworld, the "irkici godfather," Abdullah Catli, side-by-side.

    But it seems that Kutlu Savas was out of the country while everything was happening.

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