Gunfight between police and drug gang leaves one dead, four injured
The unidentified group's bullet-ridden car carries a licence plate registered in Ankara province. Photos: Hürriyet / Rıza ÖzelOne person was killed and four others were injured on Aug. 23 in a gunfight between police and members of a crime organization that sells the synthetic drug “bonzai” in Ankara.
The clash occurred in the Dikmen neighborhood when a unit from the Ankara Police Department Organized Crime Control Bureau came under fire in an ambush by the gang as police teams were conducting an operation to capture the organization’s suspected leader, Bülent Aramaz, who was previously convicted for crimes including being a gang leader, robbery, extortion and drug trafficking.
The gang members opened fire on a police vehicle and injured three police officers. Upon the gunshots, spotter police units fired back, killing Aramaz and injuring his girlfriend, Elena K., in a car from which they attacked police. Police also seized a Kalashnikov, another gun, bullets and drugs in the car.
A gunfight with another gang member who managed to run away continued in the streets for a while, as police went door-to-door, canvassing the neighborhood. Operations are continuing to locate the other suspects.
The suspect, who left behind the group's bullet-ridden car behind, reportedly asked for locals to let him hide in an apartment, while officials warned them to lock their doors.
The gang has reportedly been trafficking drugs in the Turkish capital, forcing night clubs to sell bonzai and allegedly shooting those who refuse to take part in the illegal dealing.
Police stepped up an operation to capture the gang members after seven different workplaces came under fire within four months. Security teams started technical surveillance on Aramaz, detained a gang member and followed his girlfriend as part of the investigation. Aramaz and Elena K. reportedly managed to escape when police raided a house where they were set to meet three days before the shooting.
Aramaz became the head of the gang after its former leader, Ahmet Aramaz, was killed in 2000. Aramaz first made headlines when he started a revolt at Ankara’s Ulucanlar Prison to demand an amnesty, burning beds in the jail in 1999. He also clashed with guards.
Aramaz was released from prision seven months ago and had a traffic accident in İzmir in June that was described as a “mysterious accident” in the media.
The Doğan News Agency footage shows the moment police handcuffed the injured suspect in the immediate aftermath of the gunfight: