More than 200 crime scene photos missing in case into blast at military ammunition depot
İsmail Saymaz – ISTANBULSome 218 crime scene photos from an ammunition depot blast in the western province of Afyonkarahisar in 2012 that killed 25 soldiers have disappeared, while Turkey’s scientific watchdog refused the demand to find a way to return the photos on grounds of being “too busy.”
In an investigation the lawyers of the victims’ families have conducted, 218 photos, which had been taken by the crime scene investigation units where a blast at a military ammunition depot killed 25 soldiers, were determined to be missing.
Upon realizing the photos were missing, a letter was penned on June 11 to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) asking if the 218 photos had been deleted or not, and in the case of deletion, the possibility of recovering the photos.
TÜBİTAK, in return, answered on July 3, that “the units working under [TÜBİTAK] did not have the legal obligation to conduct a judicial review,” and as “they tried to meet the judicial review demands as much as the council’s projects allow them to, they could not respond to the [demand] positively.”
A letter with the same demand has also been sent to the Gendarmerie General Command’s Criminal Department for the analysis of the missing photos.
A lawyer of the victims’ families, Altan Ulutaş, said even though demand was sent to the Gendarmerie Criminal Department after TÜBİTAK had refused to analyze the evidence, it was TÜBİTAK who needed to do the examination.
On Sept. 5, 2012, 25 soldiers were killed in a blast at a military depot in Afyonkarahisar while work was conducted inside.
The case into the blast is ongoing at the military court of the Turkish Air Forces in the central Anatolian province of Eskişehir.
Only nine days after the blast, military prosecutors announced that there was no sign of sabotage.
“No evidence suggesting that the blast occurred due to terror or sabotage could be found,” the Eskişehir Military Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Sept. 14.
Around a month after the blast, a letter from the military sent to the victims’ families revealed the 25 soldiers had died in a “natural disaster,” meaning the families would not receive as much compensation as the relatives of soldiers killed in terrorist attacks.