Controversial state of emergency governor during Turkey's troubled '90s laid to rest

Controversial state of emergency governor during Turkey's troubled '90s laid to rest

Controversial state of emergency governor during Turkeys troubled 90s laid to rest

Hayri Kozakçıoğlu was buried in Istanbul May 25 together with the secrets of an era. DHA photo

Hayri Kozakçıoğlu, a former state of emergency regional governor in southeastern Turkey and controversial bureaucrat accused of shady practices, was laid to rest in Istanbul May 25.
Kozakçıoğlu was found dead in his home with a gunshot on the left side of his chest May 23. The initial forensic report suggested the cause of the death was suicide.

A ceremony was held before the funeral at the Istanbul Governor's Office. Kozakçıoğlu was appointed governor of Istanbul in 1991 after serving in the southeast. Istanbul's current governor, Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, and many senior bureaucrats attended the ceremony together with Kozakçıoğlu's wife and three children.

Former President Turgut Özal had declared martial law in eight eastern and southeastern provinces to fight outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militancy. Kozakçıoğlu was appointed as the first governor of the state of emergency provinces in 1987. The state of emergency would be extended 42 times in 15 years, and gradually lifted through the region until being formally ended in the remaining provinces of Diyarbakır and Şırnak on Nov. 30, 2002.

'Black box' of an era

Kozakçıoğlu subsequently became the focus of an official investigation over allegations that he had transferred around $250,000 into his own accounts when he served in the southeast. 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. Then President Süleyman Demirel came into his rescue, saying the money had been used in the fight against terrorism as a discretionary fund.

Kozakçıoğlu also served two terms as a deputy for the True Path Party (DYP) before retiring from politics in 2002.

Together with other former state of emergency regional governors, Ünal Erkan and Mehmet Ağar, the latter having served as an interior and justice minister as well as Police Department chief before sentenced to prison as part as the Susurluk deep state case, Kozakçıoğlu formed the trio of bureacrats pulling the strings of the security state during the troubled 1990s.

For many, all three names constitute "black boxes" of the state of emergency years, implicated in the massive number of unsolved murders that shook the decade.