Court case to shed light on Turkey's past political murders

Court case to shed light on Turkey's past political murders

Court case to shed light on Turkeys past political murders

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Pervin Buldan (R), whose husband Savaş Buldan was also killed in the 90s, attended the hearing on July 11.

An Ankara court has continued to try 18 unsolved political murders of the 1990s in light of new documents provided by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), unearthing the state institutions’ responsibility in the killings in cooperation with ultranationalist mafia.

The transcripts of phone conversations between former MİT officials and mafia members disclosed
that “the gang within the state” is also responsible for a score of murders abroad during 1990s, including Kurdish businessmen and leftist politicians. The court resumed the hearing July 11 in absentia of Mehmet Ağar, police chief in 1995, as the prime suspect of the killings.

One of most controversial figures, Mehmet Ağar was elected to Parliament from a center-right party and served as the interior minister in different governments in the late 1990s.

In 2012, he was found guilty on charges of establishing an illegal armed organization to commit crime and for his dirty relations with prominent members of the mafia, such as Abdullah Çatlı.

Daily Taraf reported a 13-page transcript of phone conversations between Tarık Ümit and Mehmet Eymür, both former MİT officials, which highlighted the killings of Kurdish businessmen Savaş Buldan, Behçet Cantürk and Fevzi Aslan, as well as assassination plans targeting prominent journalist Mehmet Ali Birand and Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who is currently serving life sentence.  

Killing lists

“In our meetings, Ümit was talking about two different lists of people to be killed: one short and one long list. I heard from Ümit that these lists included Birand, Mustafa Süzer [a businessman], İbrahim Tatlıses [a Kurdish singer] and Mahzun Kırmızıgül [Kurdish singer],” Taraf quoted Yaman Namlı, a former MİT member, testifying before the prosecutor. These lists were approved by the Special War Department and the National Security Council (MGK), Namlı claimed.

Although the MİT provided this transcript, Taraf argued that the spy agency was still hiding crucial documents that could further enlighten the crimes of the past committed by the same group within the state. Namlı argued that the phone recordings between former MİT members have been partially erased and crucial information has been covered.

Taraf also reported in detail the killing of Mehmet Kaygısız, a trade unionist, in London in the mid-1990s. According to the report, Ümit had delegated the task to Nurettin Güven, a businessman who was sentenced for illegal drug and weapon sales in European countries. Ümit even introduced him Ağar to motivate him to commit the murder. Güven informed the Kaygısız murder to Ümit, who informed Ağar immediately after.

Ayhan Çarkın, one of the 12 suspects and former special operations police, who said earlier said in his testimony that a 60-member special team was established on the order of Ağar, was among those were released at he July 11 hearing.

Çarkın had said the team went beyond its target and “undertook some execution in Ankara.”
Çarkın’s confessions regarding extrajudicial killings in the 1990s during the conflict between government forces and the PKK has led to the arrests of a number of other officials.

Çarkın said in his testimony July 11 that he was once offered to shoot Yusuf Ekinci, a lawyer,  in the head while he was on his knees and his hands were tied, but he refused to do so.

“Fortunately I do not have Kurdish blood on my hands but it splashed on me,” he said.