Suspect in unsolved assassination case handed over to Turkey

Suspect in unsolved assassination case handed over to Turkey
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Levent Goktas ia accused of being involved in the assassination of historian Necip Hablemitoglu in 2002.

Levent Goktas, a former Turkish army colonel who has been accused by the prosecution of being involved in the assassination of a Turkish historian and writer, was handed over to Turkey by Bulgarian authorities on Friday, ANKA news agency reported.

Goktas had fled Turkey when an order for his arrest was issued in the context of the case of the assassination of Necip Hablemitoglu.

Hablemitoglu was killed in front of his house in 2002. An anonymous witness told a Turkish court in a hearing session of the "Ergenekon trial" in March 2012 that a Osman Gurbuz confessed to him that he killed Hablemitoglu. The anonymous witness also said that general Veli Kucuk, the founder of the notorious anti-terror and intelligence branch of the Turkish Gendarmerie (JITEM), told him that Gurbuz was under his command. The Hablemitoglu case nevertheless remains unsolved.

After the capture of Levent Goktas in Bulgaria, a court in Haskova had rejected Turkey's call for Goktas's extradition. Turkey's objection to the decision was eventually accepted, clearing the way for Goktas's extradition.

About Levent Goktas

Levent Goktas, 63, took part in a 1999 operation to capture Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

He was arrested in January 2009 in the context of the "Ergenekon investigation" and was released five years later on 10 March 2014.

It has been alleged in the process of the investigation and the ensuing trials that a secret organization named "Ergenekon" has always been active in the Turkish Republic, that it has ties to senior members of Turkey's military, and that it has worked to topple elected governments by fomenting unrest, through means including assassinations.

In 2015 most of the suspects were acquitted and it was announced by officials that the investigation and trials were the result of a plotting by the Gulen movement.

The Ergenekon investigation and trials served, in effect, to mystify and obscure the unlawful actions of Turkish state officials and state institutions throughout the history of Turkey.