Testimony shadows death of Gen Bitlis

Testimony shadows death of Gen Bitlis

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Testimony shadows death of Gen Bitlis

Former top gendarmerie commander Gen Eşref Bitlis died in a suspicious plane crash on Feb 17, 1993, that led to speculations of an assassination.

Former Chief of Staff Doğan Güreş said they did not investigate the possibility of the aircraft malfunctioning due to threats received from the producer company, in the case of Gen. Eşref Bitlis who died in a plane crash on Feb. 17, 1993.

The file was then closed in short order through an intermediary solution, by ruling the plane had crashed due to icing in the engine, former Gen. Güreş told specially authorized Ankara Chief Prosecutor Mehmet Özgür while testifying, the state-owned news channel TRT Haber reported on its website Feb. 3.

The possibility of a technical failure was overlooked because the aircraft producer company threatened to halt their sale of planes, Gen. Güreş said, according to the report.

Former top gendarmerie commander Gen. Bitlis’s death in a suspicious plane crash had led to speculation that he had been assassinated by the “deep state” because of his willingness to try to solve the Kurdish problem outside the parameters of the Turkish state’s official policies, including through a plan to give more rights to Kurds.

Former Gen. Güreş also claimed he witnessed the accident and that they failed to encounter any piloting errors leading to the crash and subsequent death of Gen. Bitlis.

A sound recording that emerged during the course of the investigation had implicated retired Col. Arif Doğan, who confirmed the voice in the recordings was his, but claimed they were spliced to incriminate him.

Ret. Col. Doğan, who is also standing trial in the Ergenekon probe, said in the sound clip that he had assisted in the “assassination” of Gen. Bitlis.