Turkish prosecution calls for acquittal of former state officials in major case

Turkish prosecution calls for acquittal of former state officials in major case
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The prosecutor has dismissed statements of a suspect who had confessed to taking part in the murders of three people.

The prosecution in Turkey called for the acquittal of all suspects on Friday in a lawsuit involving former state officials, including Mehmet Agar, former national police chief and interior minister, retired lieutenant colonel Korkut Eken, former special warfare officer and former official of Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT), and Ibrahim Sahin, former head of the police special forces department.

The suspects face allegations in the case over forming an illegal organization within state ranks and are accused for several forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

The suspects were earlier acquitted by an Ankara court but the decision was overturned by an appeals court on 5 April 2021.

One of the suspects, former special forces officer Ayhan Carkin, had confessed back in June 2011 to taking part in murdering Necip Baskin, the head of the registrar's office in Ankara's Altindag district, and lawyers Yusuf Ekinci and Faik Candan.

Carkin had also stated that he and his friends were operating under the command of Ibrahim Sahin, and that Sahin was acting under Agar.

Prosecutor Semra Yoruk Kalayci said on Friday that "Carkin's statements were inconsistent," and that "he related some events as if he was at the scene although he was not."

She also said:

"The witnesses were not able to identify the suspects. They have made conflicting remarks concerning the model and color of the cars used in the incidents."

Lawyer Yusuf Alatas, representing the victims' families in the case, had warned in the court session on 16 September:

"The objective of this trial is to acquit the suspects. The prosecution has not even once asked a question to the suspects or has called for the gathering of particular evidences. The court only pretends like it is engaged in a lawsuit."

27 years after the Susurluk Scandal

The 19 victims allegedly killed by suspects include Savas Buldan, late husband of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan, Kurdish drug trader Behcet Canturk, Omer Lutfi Topal - once known as "king of casinos" - and MIT agent Tarik Umit, whose murders were the main focus of investigations following the Susurluk Scandal.

The scandal that erupted after a traffic accident in November 1996, which killed police chief Huseyin Kocadag and Grey Wolf Abdullah Catli and wounded deputy Sedat Bucak in the same car, was seen in the second half of 1990s as a great opportunity to deal with the illegal activities of state officials; activities including not only forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, but drug trade, extortion and bribe.

Interestingly, the prosecution's demand for the acquittal of suspects on Friday coincided with events targeting a visiting football Kurdish team in the western city of Bursa on Sunday, at which the poster of a white Renault station wagon, typically used by state forces in the abduction and disappearance of Kurdish political activists, and the poster of a Mahmut Yildirim, executioner in state's death squads, were proudly raised by Bursaspor fans.