Black, white forces exist, Turkish military says

Black, white forces exist, Turkish military says

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Black, white forces exist, Turkish military says

The Zirve murders trial continued yesterday with a hearing in Malatya. AA photo

The Turkish General Staff confirmed for the first time yesterday the existence of a special operational team dubbed “the Black and White Forces” during the 62nd session of the Zirve murders trial.

The involvement of a shadowy Special Forces team was revealed in the testimony İlker Çınar, one of the suspects prosecuted in relation with the killings of three missionaries at the Zirve Publishing House, a small Christian publisher located in Malatya on April 18, 2007. The crime had been committed with an unprecedented level of violence as the missionaries were tied up before their throats were slit.

“Black and White Forces” were allegedly working in close cooperation with the Gendarmerie Intelligence Anti-Terrorism Unit (JİTEM), a reportedly clandestine intelligence unit which is at the center of several coup plots, including Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledghammer).

Responding to the court’s question, the Turkish General Staff explained that the reserves of the special operation teams were separated between “black and white personnel” according to their tasks. The so-called “black personnel” were trained to perform ambushes and raids while the “white personnel” stood as intelligence experts and were responsible for exploration and collecting information, the General Staff said in its statement to the court. However, the Armed Forces denied that there was a specific and separate organization assigned the title of “Black and White Forces.”

One of the defense lawyers emphasized the importance of the revelation. “This statement will affect the course of the trial, no doubt,” he said.