Chechen leader in Ankara ‘killed for $1 million’

Chechen leader in Ankara ‘killed for $1 million’

Dinçer Gökçe ANKARA
Chechen leader in Ankara ‘killed for $1 million’

Medet Ünlü, 53, was killed by armed assailants at the honorary consulate in Ankara on May 22, 2013.

A man who is suspected of involvement in the killing of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria’s honorary consul in Ankara in 2013 told friends that his group committed the crime for $1 million, a witness has told the court.

Medet Ünlü, 53, was killed by armed assailants at the honorary consulate in Ankara on May 22, 2013.

Turkish citizen Murat Aluç was arrested as the main suspect on Oct. 11, 2014. He confessed to the crime, claiming that pro-Russian Chechens in Turkey “promised him a life in Ukraine” for the assassination.

Ö.Ş., another detained suspect who is accused of hiding Aluç from law enforcement for months, was released by the court pending trial, despite the prosecutor’s request that he be arrested.

A witness told the prosecutor in Ankara on Jan. 28 that Aluç was wearing a different hat every time he left Ö.Ş’s house during his time as a fugitive following the murder, daily Hürriyet has learned.

“We killed Medet Ünlü for $1 million. We were planning to kill five more people from this neighborhood, but the balloon burst,” the witness quoted Ö.Ş. as angrily yelling at a local cafe, according to the testimony.

Goldsmith in Istanbul probed

Aluç told the prosecutor that he received $40,000 from a goldsmith in Istanbul’s Beyazıt neighborhood for the killing.

The Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul is probing the claim, while the investigation in Ankara is continuing.

Meanwhile, the family of Ünlü has filed a new complaint after the latest testimonies, demanding the released suspects in the case to be arrested.

The family claims that Aluç was hired by a Russian citizen who returned to Russia two days after the murder.

Ünlü was against Russian military operations in Chechnya and had been working as an activist to stop Chechens from going to fight in Syria as jihadists. His wife had claimed in a petition in July that Ünlü had been under the surveillance of Turkish intelligence when he was killed and “suffered oppression” from some circles, particularly pointing to Ramzan Kadirov, the pro-Russian leader of Chechnya who is accused of gross human rights violations in the territory.

In a separate case, five Chechens who were killed in Istanbul between 2009 and 2011 were murdered in the name of Russia’s intelligence agency, according to a Feb. indictment by Bakırköy Public Prosecutor Ahmet Demirhüyük in Istanbul.

A Chechen activist died in Istanbul after being hospitalized with suspected food poisoning on March 2, with some of his relatives and Turkish activists accusing Russia’s intelligence agency of poisoning him.