Negligence probed in plane downed by Syria

Negligence probed in plane downed by Syria

MALATYA - Anatolia News Agency
Negligence probed in plane downed by Syria

The Malatya Public Prosecutor’s Office will ask for permission from the Prime Ministry to investigate MİT chief Fidan (C) for his role in the downed Turkish jet. Two pilots were killed when their plance was shot down by Syria. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The Malatya Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation for possible negligence and premeditation in the downing of a Turkish military plane by a Syrian missile in June 2012. The prosecutor’s office will reportedly also ask for permission from the Prime Ministry in order to launch an investigation on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan.

The investigation comes after a lawyer for the family of one of the pilots killed filed a criminal complaint on Dec. 21 about Air Forces Commander Gen. Mehmet Erten, MİT chief Hakan Fidan, MİT officer Atınç Özkaya and other officials involved in the incident. The prosecutor’s office has reportedly requested documents and autopsy reports for the two pilots from the relevant institutions in order to investigate whether there was any negligence in the incident or whether the men were sent on a dangerous mission with premeditation. The father of Cpt. Ertan also announced that he will file a criminal complaint soon.

Cpt. Gökhan Ertan and Lt. Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy, whose family requested the action, were killed when their plane was shot down by Syrians on June 22, 2012. A report by a military prosecutor said in September that a Turkish F-4 Phantom warplane was shot down by a Syrian air defense missile even though the missile did not directly hit the plane.

‘MİT ordered deployment’

Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s office will also ask for permission from the Prime Ministry to investigate Fidan, in a move likely to reignite a power struggle between the government and elements within the police and judiciary. A crisis erupted in February 2012 after a specially authorized prosecutor called Fidan and four other MİT officials to testify in an ongoing investigation on the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), on the grounds that some MİT members who infiltrated the KCK had exceeded their authority in their duties.

Parliament then passed a hastily drafted bill to save top intelligence officials from a judicial investigation. Aksoy’s family lawyer, Mehmet Katar, said MİT ordered the deployment of jets to the region.

“The deployment of that plane was ordered by MİT. The intelligence agency insisted on the mission even though the deployed fleet reported that it was risky to breach Syrian air space. They continued their insistence for two days,” Katar told Hürriyet yesterday. Katar said they also took part in the investigation opened by the General Staff’s military prosecutor. “This complaint is based on comprehensive research. Vulnerability in two state institutions, MİT and the Air Force, is contrary to the state’s interests.”

Syria says it shot down the Turkish jet in self-defense and that it was brought down in Syrian airspace.
Turkey says the jet accidentally violated Syrian airspace for a few minutes but was brought down in international air space.