ATK and minister clash on ASELSAN case report

March 02, 2012, Friday/ 16:11:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Commenting on a recent ruling by the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) that the cause of death of an engineer who worked for defense contractor ASELSAN was a suicide, Minister of Defense İsmet Yılmaz has said the engineer's death is suspicious as the latest ATK report reveals a disagreement between the forensic experts on the case.

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Murat Demir, who has long suspected that the cause of death of mechanical engineer Hüseyin Başbilen was not suicide, had earlier transferred to the ATK video footage and photographs taken by the gendarmerie after Başbilen was found dead in his car on Aug. 7, 2006, to establish whether or not a murder took place.

In the latest report on Başbilen's death, the majority of a group of forensic experts agreed that it was a suicide, while three of them disagreed with the conclusion, saying that a murder took place. The three emphasized that Başbilen, who slit his wrist, couldn't possibly have made the cuts to his throat by himself. A report that was earlier sent to the Ankara Prosecutor's Office earlier also agreed the engineer's death was a suicide.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Kayseri, Minister Yılmaz said forensic experts disagree on the cause of the engineer's death, which is why he believes the engineer's death is suspicious. “The court may demand the case be re-investigated. We will accept whatever the court rules on the case,” said the minister.

The ASELSAN investigation was re-launched last month after the Başbilen family requested a new investigation. The prosecution demanded a new report from the forensic experts and that they re-examine the documents. In the most recent development, the İstanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor's Office, which is conducting the investigation into Ergenekon, requested a copy of the case files on Başbilen's death from Ankara Prosecutor Murat Demir.

Mechanical engineer Başbilen, 31, known for his contributions to important projects at ASELSAN, a defense contractor that produces technology for the Turkish military, was found dead inside a car on Pursaklar-Ayancık Street in Ankara on Aug. 7, 2006, with serious cuts to his neck and wrist. The original autopsy concluded he had committed suicide.

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