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Turkish Gendarmerie declares alleged JİTEM founder a 'martyr'

ISTANBUL – Daily news with Milliyet | 1/10/2011 12:00:00 AM |

The General Commandership of the Gendarmerie Forces has conferred the status of 'martyr' on one of the alleged founders of JİTEM, daily Milliyet reported Monday.

The alleged founder of JİTEM, an alleged illegal intelligence unit accused of many unsolved murders, has been granted the status of a “martyr,” meaning his relatives can benefit from increased state aid, daily Milliyet reported Monday.

The General Commandership of the Gendarmerie Forces chose to confer the status of martyr on Cem Ersever, who was found bound and shot on Nov. 4, 1993, after the dead man’s relatives made an application.

The soldier’s death has been the subject of speculation for many years, and the Ankara Prosecutors’ Office continues to investigate the incident.

One of the dead man’s three daughters, Müzeyyen Asena Ersever, applied for benefits under a law mandating that a certain quota of martyrs’ children be hired for public institutions. Müzeyyen Asena Ersever was at first rejected, so she opened a case against the Interior Ministry to demand she benefit from the right.

Both the local administrative court and later the Council of State, the country’s top administrative court, initially rejected her demands, with the latter saying Cem Ersever was retired at the time, meaning he was no longer a public office.

Müzeyyen Asena Ersever then applied to the General Commandership of Gendarmerie Forces, who agreed in February 2008 that her father was a “martyr” as he had been killed by terrorists 15 years previously. 

JİTEM is an alleged illegal intelligence and strike force within the gendarmerie. The clandestine organization has been accused of being behind dozens of unsolved murders, predominantly in the 1990s. Despite an ongoing lawsuit against JİTEM in Diyarbakır, the General Staff has never acknowledged JİTEM’s existence.

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