Turkish police investigate soldier’s mysterious death on board

Turkish police investigate soldier’s mysterious death on board

Police have started an investigation into the mysterious death of a soldier in 2010, which was said to be a suicide by military officials, but which the family and friends of the dead soldier claim to have been murder, linked to alleged alcohol and cigar trafficking. 

Soldier Taner Deş died on board the military ship “Çandarlı” on Feb. 28, 2010 while performing his military service, with military units reporting to his family that he had committed suicide. However, a soldier who was serving on board the same ship told Deş’s family that he had been murdered by superiors on the ship after he threatened to report them to the police for cigarette and alcohol trafficking between Turkey and Cyprus.

The soldier told the alleged victim’s family in a letter from Cairo that their son had been murdered by his superiors, daily Taraf reported. Code named Faruk K, the soldier said he would be willing to testify in court, under condition of anonymity. 

Cigarette and alcohol trafficking was common knowledge among all soldiers on board the ship, Faruk K reportedly wrote in the letter, adding that large quantities of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages were being illegally traded by the ship’s commanding officers.

The Deş family requested an autopsy be performed on their son’s body after receiving the letter, but the request was rejected at the time and the investigation was suspended. 

“Taner was going to inform the commanders about trafficking,” the letter read. “When we arrived in Cyprus [the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] we were carrying thousands of flasks of whisky and rakı [the Turkish traditional alcoholic beverage] illegally. It was our commanders distributing them. My senior soldier friend Taner Deş and I were close friends. After a while he started having problems with his seniors. His hand was injured in an accident and they forbade him to go hospital. The seniors’ attitude toward him changed,” Faruk K said in the letter. 

Police are now investigating how the trafficking is conducted and how goods are offered in the illegal markets.

Taner’s father, Metin Deş, said the military court had ignored their demands.

“We believe that our son was murdered because of his attempt to expose trafficking, it will be good for us for the police to investigate this case,” he was quoted as saying by daily Taraf.