Turkish prosecutor shot by perpetrators’ gun, authorities say
DHA PhotoAn autopsy report has alleged that Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was shot with a gun belonging to militants during a police operation at Çağlayan Courthouse on March 31, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said April 2.
Meanwhile, footage from security cameras has also been revealed, showing the two perpetrators, Şafak Yayla and Bahtiyar Doğruyol of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), entering the courthouse in suits and heading for Kiraz’s room.
The office’s statement was released in response to media reports and social media posts suggesting that Kiraz was shot by bullets fired from police, with Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu saying the primary motive was to end the hostage situation without guns and injuries.
Salihoğlu said security forces intervened after gunshots were heard from the room where Kiraz was being held. Other reports, however, suggested that the shooting started following an explosion, perhaps from the police.
A French 7.65 mm pistol and a number of empty cases were reportedly found next to Yayla and Doğruyol.
According to the results of an autopsy conducted at the Forensic Medicine Institute on April 1 at 1:30 a.m., the public prosecutor was shot with a gun from immediately next to his head, indicating that it was fired by either Yayla or Doğruyol, Salihoğlu said.
A bag carried by the pair was also detonated on suspicions that it contained explosives.
Salihoğlu also said “the terrorists wanted to talk to lawyer Sezgin Tanrukulu,” who is the deputy head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
“Tanrıkulu did not come to the courthouse despite saying he would when he was reached at the beginning and informed about the terrorists’ demand,” Salihoğlu said in the statement.
“He did not come to the courthouse and did not answer phone calls later,” he said.
Responding to Salihoğlu’s remarks, Tanrıkulu accused the chief public prosecutor of ignoring his political identity, saying there were attempts to turn him into a target.
“When I first learned about the incident at Çağlayan, I said would do everything since ‘the most important thing is human life for me.’ Contrary to the chief prosecutor’s remarks, I am not ‘only a lawyer,’ but have a political identity,” Tanrukulu said on Twitter.
“If there is a demand from me, my interlocutor is the government due to my title as the CHP’s deputy head. All politicians, including those of the ruling party, should rule out provocations by taking equal responsibility over matters of life or death. However, an assault has been launched on me and my party since my name was mentioned on the day of the incident,” he said.
“The tone of the statement that ignored my political identity and made me into a target has exposed the reality of the trap that we foresaw,” he said. “Those who were planning to obtain political gains from my involvement in the incident began to attack from both sides when the plan failed.”
Footage of perpetrators revealed
Images taken from security camera footage have also been shared, showing Yayla and Doğruyol reaching Kiraz’s office at the Çağlayan Courthouse.
Yayla, a university law student, was seen entering from the C door of the building with a robe on his arm and a bag after showing a fake lawyer’s card. Doğruyol arrived at the courthouse from the D door, entering the building as a normal citizen with a black bag.
Yayla and Doğruyol took Kiraz hostage, demanding that the police officers who shot dead 14-year-old Berkin Elvan during the Gezi protests publicly confess to the killing in return for the prosecutor’s life.
Authorities had reportedly agreed to the request only to initiate the operation that resulted in the deaths of Yayla, Doğruyol and Kiraz.