Turkey's former state of emergency regional governor found dead
Hayri Kozakçıoğlu was found dead in his apartment. Hürriyet PhotoHayri Kozakçıoğlu, a former state of emergency regional governor in southeastern Turkey, was found dead in his apartment in Istanbul early this morning, with reports suggesting the cause of death may have been suicide.
Kozakçıoğlu was shot at close range, in the left side of his chest, according to preliminary investigations. The gun was found next to him, prompting rumors that he had taken his own life, but no confirmation has been made so far. His wife, Sabire Kozakçıoğlu, was reportedly at home at the time of the shooting, but told officials that she did not hear the shot.
The body was discovered when Kozakçıoğlu’s wife and son called a locksmith to unlock the door of his room, which his wife had noticed was locked when she came by in the morning hours to wake him up.
The exact confirmation of whether or not Kozakçıoğlu shot himself will come following an official autopsy, according to sources from the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office.
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said he had been informed of the suspected suicide, but still lacked the confirmation.
“I cannot give you too many details,” Atalay told reporters following a human rights conference in Istanbul. “But I have received information [of a suicide] too.”
State of emergency in southeastern Turkey
A state of emergency, abbreviated as OHAL in Turkish, was initiated in 1987 in eight provinces located in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country in a move to fight militancy in the area. The provinces included were Bingöl, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Hakkari, Mardin, Siirt, Tunceli and Van.
Turgut Özal, who was president and prime minister at the time, had assigned Kozakçıoğlu as the governor of the state of emergency region.
The state of emergency, extended 42 times in 15 years, was gradually lifted over the region until a final piece of legislation formally ended martial law in the remaining provinces of Diyarbakır and Şırnak on Nov. 30, 2002.
Kozakçıoğlu subsequently became the focus of an official investigation over allegations that he had transferred around $250,000 into his own accounts. He denied all the accusations, claiming that there had been official supervision of the transfer of the money, which was later returned to official accounts.
The president at the time, Süleyman Demirel, said the money was used in the fight against terrorism as a discretionary fund.
Some 29,712 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants have been caught or killed or have surrendered within the boundaries of OHAL, while a total of 1,117 village guards and 5,040 security forces personnel have been killed in the line of duty.