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Turkey: State Gangs Like a Garbage Dump Waiting to Explode

30 August , 1998, Turkish Probe issue 294

State Gangs Like a Garbage Dump Waiting to Explode 

Obstacle Due to state gangs having direct connection with the MIT,
it's very hard to sustain the struggle against them. Furthermore,
cooperation between the gangs and the politicians represents a real
obstacle in weeding out the gangs from the government Connections
confirmed Investigations are continuing against two senior MIT
administrators, Mehmet Eymur and Yavuz Atac, whose connections with
illegal gangs have been confirmed Weeded out Ultra-nationalist gangs,
which have been performing dirty work for the MIT for the last 20
years, are collapsing as their connections in government offices are
being weeded out Names divulged During an investigation conducted by
the Parliamentary Commission concerning the Susurluk incident, Hanefi
Avci, the deputy chief of intelligence, divulged connections and the
names of senior officials that provide protection to gang leaders


Gangs within the state remind me of the Mamak garbage dump, located in
the eastern section of Turkey's capital, Ankara. The mountain of
garbage that has accumulated through years of governmental neglect has
developed into the source of a huge stench in Ankara. Government
officials have been unable to perceive the smell; however the dump has
steadily became a threat to public health. Smoke created by the
occasional fire at the site envelops the blue sky, sending a warning
to those in positions of responsibility that if the necessary
precautions are not taken within a reasonable period of time, the
entire dump will explode like a bomb, and all that filth will blanket
Ankara, just like the incident experienced at Istanbul's Umraniye
garbage dump.

The government is now fully occupied with another source of filth
similar to the one in Mamak. The state gangs, which have developed
into an enormous problem through years of neglect, emitting the bad
odor of a warning signal for a long time, have finally developed into
a blaze that has not been able to be extinguished for the last two
years, and as a result could not be hidden from the public. If the
government continues to neglect the stench and fails to abandon its
usual ignorant approach, it will be faced with a "methane" explosion
that will claim many lives and, at the very least, will smear filth
onto countless people.

Two years ago, a traffic accident that occurred in the Susurluk
township of Balikesir exposed the existence of a state-mafia-politics
triangle. A super-luxurious Mercedes ran full-speed into a truck,
killing Chief of Police Huseyin Kocadag, an "ultra-nationalist" gang
leader, along with alleged murderer Abdullah Catli and his girlfriend,
Gonca Us.  True Path Party (DYP) Urfa deputy and clan chieftain Sedat
Bucak escaped the accident with some injuries.

Special assassination guns, special bullets, forged identifications
and false gun licenses signed by Mehmet Agar, the former minister of
the interior, were found scattered about the car. The ominous
incident, which occurred while a fugitive gang leader and a
multiple-homicide suspect, a senior member of the police and a
parliamentary deputy were sharing the same vehicle, was instrumental
in disclosing the state-mafia-politics triangle. Two years have passed
since the accident, but the after-effects of this conspiracy, later
called the "Susurluk Gang," are still being felt. The recent arrest of
Alaattin Cakici in France made it mandatory for the government to
probe the state structure to ascertain the gang leaders' connections
within the government. When Cakici was apprehended along with his
private guard and his girlfriend, he was carrying a diplomatic
passport, which suggested that the Susurluk Gang maintains high-level
relationships within the government.

Cakici's arrest was carried out as a result of highly confidential
cooperation between the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and
the French police. The date of this arrest coincided with the date of
a wedding reception arranged for the son of former Interior Minister
Agar, whose name has often surfaced in connection with state-mafia
cooperation, suggesting that the housecleaning operation was very
carefully engineered.

The wedding reception was turned into a show of "reconciliation with
the government and a purification of the allegations of crime" by
Agar. It was announced beforehand that Kenan Evren, leader of the
Sept. 12 coup and the ensuing period's president, as well as current
President Suleyman Demirel were both invited to be witnesses for the
bride and groom. Those who had decided to destroy the gangs within the
government, however, arranged for Cakici's being apprehended in France
on the same day, preventing the reception from accomplishing its
purpose. Upon being informed of the arrest, Demirel changed his mind
at the very last minute and did not attend the reception. Once they
heard about the arrest, many influential businessman left the

Although Cakici was apprehended during the day, the operation was kept
secret until 8:30 p.m., the time of the marriage ceremony, seen as a
part of the plan. A red diplomatic passport found on Cakici made it
inevitable that the state gang would be the target. During an
investigation conducted by the parliamentary commission on the
Susurluk incident, Hanefi Avci, the deputy chief of intelligence, had
divulged connections and the names of senior officials who were
providing protection to gang leaders. Avci explained to the commission
that the first official to contact Cakici in 1987 was Senkal Atasagun,
currently serving as undersecretary of the MIT, and that this
relationship had been perpetuated through Yavuz Atac, also a senior
official with the MIT. Avci also revealed a connection of a
questionable nature between Cakici and Mehmet Eymur of the MIT.

Following a brief investigation, it was easily substantiated that the
red passport found on Cakici had been illegally prepared and issued by
the MIT's Atac. It was also reported that Cakici had travelled to
Beijing just to pick up the passport, but Atac later stated that the
passport had been delivered to Cakici in Malaysia. Due to his
continued affiliation with the mafia, Atac was supposedly "exiled" to
Beijing a year ago, where he was able to steal the red
passport. Allegations pertaining to this theft were at first
vigorously denied by the Foreign Ministry; however it was soon
discovered that a passport was in fact missing.

It was also indicated that the passport had initially been prepared by
Atac to be provided to Mehmet Can Kulaksizoglu, suspected of being the
mastermind behind the assassination attempt on Human Rights
Association (IHD) Chairman Akin Birdal.

While the official procedures are ongoing for the extradition of
Cakici, whose name has also surfaced in connection with the
assassination of acclaimed columnist Ugur Mumcu, killed by a bomb
planted in his car, many other fugitive gang leaders from the
ultra-nationalist wing have been apprehended one after another by
security forces, every one of whom has been accused of multiple
homicides and kidnappings as well as extortion and illegally
manipulating state tenders. The National Security Council (MGK),
defining the ultra-nationalist wing as a "primary threat," has been
instrumental in identifying the proper approach to the issue of gangs.

Cakici stayed at the Buyuk Ankara Hotel on Jan. 22-23, 1993 in rooms
704 and 806; Ugur Mumcu was assassinated on Jan. 24. Tevfik Diker, a
member of the investigation committee, was able to locate the hotel
invoices. It is also reported that on Oct. 31, three days prior to the
Susurluk accident, both Agar and Cakici stayed at the Princess Hotel
in Kusadasi. According to hotel records, Cakici stayed in Room 1242,
while Huseyin Kocadag, Abdullah Catli, and Sedat Bucak were also among
the hotel's guests.

Cakici's girlfriend, Asli Yaka, the daughter of celebrated designer
Canan Yaka and well-known singer Selcuk Ural, was with Cakici at the
time of his arrest in France. The friendship between Cakici and Asli
Yaka's father is purported to go back many years. Ural's name had
previously come to light when underworld personality Tevfik Agansoy
was murdered upon Cakici's orders. It has been suggested that it was
Ural who informed Cakici of Agansoy's arrival at the Deniz Cafe, the
scene of his murder. During the incident, Ural barely saved his life
by jumping into the sea; however his female companion was killed, and
Ferda Temel, Tansu Ciller's bodyguard who accompanied Agansoy at the
time, was injured. Temel was caught red-handed by police only last
week in the course of committing extortion with his gang.

Cakici was married to Ugur Kilic, the daughter of another mafia
leader, Dundar Kilic; however he also had her killed Bursa's Uludag
district. Kilic stated that he tried everything in his power to avenge
his daughter's death, but his men were unable to locate Cakici
anywhere in the world. Kilic indicated that Ural had often visited
Cakici when married to his daughter.

Avci revealed MIT links a year ago 

Hanefi Avci, the former deputy chairman of the Security Department's
intelligence section, disclosed the mafia's relations with the MIT and
named names when he testified at the special Susurluk Commission a
year ago. During his testimony, Avci described the establishment of
mafia-state relations as follows:

"As the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) activities speed up
and became more serious, some state officials began to think that the
state could not fight effectively enough against PKK members and those
who supported the illegal organization by legal means. They began to
believe that the PKK should be combatted by making use of illegal
methods. For the first time, Cem Ersever, a member of the
Gendarmerie's Intelligence and Anti-terror Unit (JITEM), undertook
such [illegal] activities. Ersever was killed, along with his
girlfriend and bodyguard, and the murderer has not been found. Groups
which were meant to operate illegally have been established,
particularly in order to fight against the financiers and drug
smugglers in Istanbul that have allegedly been financially supporting
the PKK. Active elements providing support to the PKK have been
silenced [Avci is referring to the murder of Behcet Canturk and Savas
Buldan]. However, as the groups later completed their work and there
was no concrete base [i.e. enemy] to fight against, these groups,
consisting of officials and civilians, engaged in mafia-style illegal
activities in order to obtain a profit for themselves."

Avci stated that these illegal groups were formed from various state
organs and were controlled by various state authorities. The illegally
established group within the Security Department was under the
authority of then Security Department Chairman Mehmet Agar, Avci said,
adding that this group consisted of special policemen, tied to Special
Action Department Deputy Chief Ibrahim Sahin, and of civilians
associated with retired Lt Col. Korkut Eken. Avci stressed that one
head of a similar illegal group within the MIT was Mehmet Eymur.

Explaining that these groups had silenced businessmen and drug
smugglers of Kurdish origin, such as Behcet Canturk and Savas Buldan,
Avci asserted that the bombing of daily Ozgur Gundem, a pro-Kurdish
newspaper defending the PKK, had been carried out by them as well. The
police and gendarmerie had not yet interfered in the activities of
these groups, which then began to extort money from rich businessmen,
Avci stressed. Mahmut Yildirim, code-named "Yesil," who has long been
sought in connection with various murders, was used by MIT member
Eymur and his friends, declared Avci.

According to Avci's statements, an escape on the part of Nurullah
Tevfik Agansoy (who was later killed at the order of his close friend,
Cakici) had been engineered by MIT officer Atac, and the MIT also
helped Cakici and his comrades.  Avci also attested to the fact that
Erol Evcil, a businessmen from Bursa, had hired Cakici on several
occasions. Most recently, Evcil agreed to give $2 million to Cakici in
order to wipe out people who had prevented him from opening a
bank. Avci said that Cakici had spoken to MIT official Atac and that
they had devised a plan together to eliminate these people. According
to Avci's testimony, Hadi Ozcan, whose name is associated with the
Kocaeli gang has also had relations with the MIT. Noncommissioned
officer Duran Firat, working at the MIT, was Eymur's representative
for his dirty dealings with the illegal gangs and mafia groups, doing
Eymur's errands, Avci claimed.

Disagreements occurred between Agar's and Eymur's groups concerning
the murder of MIT member Tarik Umit and the kidnapping of one Mehmet
Ali Yaprak, Avci explained. A certain "political group played a role
in the appointment of Orhan Tasanlar" to the Istanbul Security
Department, and later, with the support of the gambling mafia,
Tasanlar was appointed governor of Bursa, Avci alleged.

Eymur always had a leading role 

The name of Mehmet Eymur initially came to light with the first MIT
report in 1987. Being the author of this controversial report, Eymur
was subsequently forced to retire on June 10, 1987, and later went
into the ice-producing business in Antalya in partnership with retired
Lt Col. Korkut Eken, however, this partnership ended in a fight
between the two partners. After Tansu Ciller became prime minister in
1995, Eymur was assigned back to the MIT as head of the
counter-terrorism office.

During the investigations related to the Susurluk incident, Eymur
accused Ibrahim Sahin, head of the Special Operations department, and
some police officers on the Special Team of being responsible for the
murder of Tarik Umit.  Eymur also indicated that the murder was
committed by Catli at the order of Sahin and pointed out that fugitive
Mahmut Yildirim was under Sahin's protection as well.

Following Mesut Yilmaz's becoming prime minister, Eymur was removed
from his duties and assigned to Washington, however, he was called
back to Turkey in June 1998 to consult with investigators on a report
against Senkal Atasagun, the undersecretary of the MIT.

Eymur's spouse, Janset Eymur, reported that her husband repeatedly had
requested to remove Atac from his duties with the MIT due to his
affiliation with mafia organizations, and made it known that Atac was
leaking confidential information to the mafia. "Despite my husband's
efforts, Atasagun always protected Atac. As a result of Atasagun
pitting Atac against my husband, Atac walked into my husband's office
with a handgun under his belt, resulting in a physical confrontation
and a fist fight. Disciplinary action was taken unjustly against my
husband, while Atac, on the other hand, was sent abroad by Atasagun
with his girlfriend, Neyzi, to conduct an operation with Alattin
Cakici," she alleged.

Janset Eymur further indicated that these incidents are known by all
MIT administrators and their spouses, adding that these accusations
would be publicized in the near future. She said: "Who issued the red
diplomatic passport? Who delegated authority to Cakici, and who is
providing protection to Mehmet Kulaksizoglu, the key figure in the
attempted murder of IHD Chairman Akin Birdal? And which MIT
administrators are protecting characters like Yavuz Atac and Kasif
Kozanoglu? All this will eventually be made public."

Kozanoglu is known to be a major in the military, and the periodical
Aydinlik once claimed that he was the liaison between a special
organization established by Ciller and the special state
organizations. Kulaksizoglu was found to be the mastermind behind the
Birdal assassination attempt and is known to be involved in activities
for the revitalization of the illegal Turkish Revenge Brigade
(TIT). Semih Tufan Gulaltay, one of the gang leaders involved in the
Birdal assassination attempt, stated at a court hearing that
Kulaksizoglu had maintained close cooperation with MIT member
Atac. "Kulaksizoglu often went to Beijing to visit Atac," disclosed
Gulaltay. Another fugitive, Oya Kaya, once told the police that her
boyfriend, Kulaksizoglu, was so loyal to Atac that he "would not
hesitate to kill his own children if Atac ordered him to do so."

Multi-pronged interrogation 

Gangs within the state were also on the agenda of the National
Security Council (MGK) meeting on Monday. An MGK decision to clean up
ultra-nationalist gangs was looked at once again. Cakici, an
ultra-nationalist gang boss, has been arrested in France. Deputy Prime
Minister Bulent Ecevit admitted on Sunday that Atac had provided
Cakici's red passport. Atac, a close friend of Cakici, had been "sent
into exile" on Oct. 24, 1997, to Beijing. It has been discovered that
Cakici went to Beijing in Nov. 1997 in order to get the red passport
from Atac. At Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's order, Atac was recalled
to Ankara. MIT Undersecretary Atasagun, has presented a dossier to
Yilmaz which recommends discharging Eymur and Atac from their posts.

Another ultra-nationalist gang chiefs, Kursat Yilmaz, has been
arrested in Bulgaria. At the same time, Hadi Ozcan has been arrested
and is being tried for commanding the Kocaeli gang. The day Cakici was
arrested in France, Sedat Peker came to Turkey on a special airplane
and surrendered to the police. Peker's interrogation
continues. Another detainee, Kasim Gencyilmaz, is being tried for his
illegal activities in Ankara and its environs.

Due to state gangs having direct connections to the MIT, it is very
hard to sustain the struggle against the gangs. And furthermore,
cooperation between gangs and the politicians represent a real
obstacle in weeding out the gangs from the government. The action
initiated against gangs by President Demirel indicating that "the
issue should be pursued right to the end" has apparently run into a
solid wall. It is not yet known whether the clean-up operation
initiated within the MIT be concluded. It is assumed that MIT
Undersecretary Atasagun really meant business when he stated that the
senior officials having connections with the underworld would all be
fired. His approach to the issue has vital importance for Atasagun's
professional career. If the operation ends with no result, he will be
forced to resign.

Until 1992, the MIT had always been administered under an
undersecretariat chaired by a general; however this practice was
changed by late former President Turgut Ozal. The dirty MIT-mafia
cooperation started during the same time period. Many mafia leaders
accused of homicides, kidnappings, extortion and of illegally
manipulating state tenders were used by the MIT and the entire
situation got completely out of control. It is assumed that the
Susurluk scandal is the main reason why "resuming the old structure
within the MIT and its being placed under the supervision of a
general' is often being voiced.

Press Agency Ozgurluk
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