Engineer 'was murdered,' expert says in Aselsan suicide case

Engineer 'was murdered,' expert says in Aselsan suicide case

ANKARA - Taraf

A Turkish engineer working on secret military projects was murdered and did not commit suicide, a court-appointed criminal expert has said, contradicting previous explanations for the man’s death in 2006.

Hüseyin Başbilen, an engineer at Turkey's military research and development enterprise, Aselsan, was found dead in his car on Aug. 7, 2006. A court ruled in 2009 that he committed suicide.

The case was reopened by a specially authorized prosecutor in Ankara as part of the "Ergenekon" investigation, which is probing an alleged ultranationalist gang that stands accused of attempting to overthrow the present government by force.

The criminal expert said Başbilen was not alone in his car at the time of death, drawing on material evidence, photographs and video recordings from scene of the incident, Arzu Yıldız of daily Taraf reported.

Other people’s fingerprints were found in the car, and his briefcase was planted in the vehicle after his death, the criminal expert's report said.

The report also noted that Başbilen's body was found with his head under the glove compartment on the passenger's side and his feet up on the driver's seat.

"It is evident that Başbilen's wrists and throat were cut while he was in the car. He struggled to open the door on driver's side but could not and tried to reach the passenger side door. It was at this moment he succumbed to injuries and collapsed with his head under the glove compartment."

Blood splatter marks and the way blood flowed from open wounds were also shown as evidence in the report, which concluded that Başbilen was murdered and did not commit suicide.

Başbilen was working on long-range sniper rifles and rifled tank barrels, as well as projects regarding F-16 warplanes. 

Two more engineer deaths

Two other engineers working at Aselsan died shortly after Başbilen.

Halim Ünal was shot in the head with one bullet on Jan. 17, 2007, while Evrim Yançeken fell from the balcony of his sixth-floor apartment nine days later.

All three engineers were working on a friend-or-foe recognition system for Turkish warplanes.