Prosecution demands aggravated life sentence for Sabancı assassination suspect

Prosecution demands aggravated life sentence for Sabancı assassination suspect

Damla Güler – ISTANBUL
Prosecution demands aggravated life sentence for Sabancı assassination suspect A prosecutor has demanded an aggravated life sentence for İsmail Akkol, one of the prime suspects in the 1996 assassination of Özdemir Sabancı who was arrested 20 years after the Sabancı Holding board member’s killing.

Akkol stands accused of “attempting to change the constitutional order by force of arms.” 

Prosecutors accuse Akkor and another suspect, Mustafa Duyar, of committing a number of criminal acts from 1995 until the assassination. Authorities also said the pair took the order for the assassination from a key figure in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), Ercan Kartal, in 1996.

According to the prosecutor’s opinion, the suspects used a password among themselves, “Is my mother at home?” to communicate with the suspect in the assassination, Fehriye Erdal, who was working as a tea provider at Sabancı Holding.

Erdal, who was recently sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail by a Belgian court for crimes in Turkey, allegedly postponed the assassination using the password because Sabancı was not at the holding at the time.

The suspects were primarily seeking Sakıp Sabancı, but they could not find him, the prosecutor’s opinion said.

 The suspects fled abroad with fake passports which were provided by the DHKP-C, prosecutors allege.

Akkol was arrested on Feb. 4, 2016, after he and Fadik Adıyaman, both members of the DHKP-C, were detained in the Aegean province of Aydın on Feb. 2.  

Akkol was brought before the Istanbul 18th High Criminal Court to face charges over his role in the Sabancı assassination, whereas Adıyaman had already been convicted of “membership in a terror organization.” 

Turkish security forces launched an extensive operation in January 2016 after receiving intelligence that Akkol and Adıyaman would infiltrate Turkey through the Aegean coast. The efforts were intensified in Aydın after discovering the duo entered Turkey from its town of Didim. Akkol and Adıyaman presumably crossed into Turkey by sea with the help of human smugglers operating in the Aegean.

After spending the night on a beach or in the woods, the duo arrived at Aydın’s Söke district via a taxi, early on Feb. 1. They were in possession of fake identity cards that had been arranged using the names of Söke residents.

The suspects were waiting at an inter-city bus terminal when they were detained en route to the northwestern province of Eskişehir. 

Akkol had been on the run since he took part in the assassination of Sabancı, his secretary Nilgün Hasefe, and ToyotaSA General Manager Haluk Görgün at the headquarters of Sabancı Holding in 1996. 

In the early 2000s, Akkol was recognized as a “political refugee” by Greece using the alias “Çetin Bayır.”

 Reports indicate the Greek intelligence was aware of Bayır’s actual identity and knew him by the codename “Xristo.”

However, he was later detained by Greek police alongside three other suspects, including DHKP-C leader Hüseyin Fevzi Tekin, during a 2014 operation on residences in the Gizi neighborhood of Athens.

According to Greek media reports, Akkol confessed in his interrogation that the weapons found in their Gizi house were bought to be used in attacks on Turkish territory.

Akkol was later released by a local court, although Turkish authorities had demanded his extradition for his alleged involvement in the murder of Sabancı.