The family of a judge who was shot dead by the actor and filmmaker Yılmaz Güney has said the media has obstinately chosen to ignore reporting on the incident that took a life.
Güney, one of the most important figures of Turkish cinema and also a left-wing icon, shot dead Sefa Mutlu with a single bullet to the head on Sept. 12, 1974 at a bar in Adana's Yumurtalık district, where Mutlu served as a judge. Güney was sentenced to 19 years, but escaped prison and fled the country after having served only five years.
Oktay Mutlu, the victim's brother, complained that not a single second in most of the documentaries and broadcasts celebrating the life of Yılmaz Güney mentions the murder, that he “killed a human being.”
He said: “I have never seen anybody in the media talking about the murder Güney committed, not even once until now. Whenever we call in to a studio during a program on Yılmaz Güney, we are not allowed to speak. We are being censored.”
Last week was the 38th anniversary of the death of Sefa Mutlu, who was shot by Güney after a quarrel started between the two men, who were both heavily intoxicated. There were five or six witnesses at the venue, including the judge's wife and Güney's director and actor friends.
Mutlu said the family had a right to speak, but television networks in particular refused to talk to them. “There was a television program, where Yılmaz Güney's wife, Fatoş Güney, was invited. We called, but they didn't let us talk on air.”
He said none of the people in the bar testified in court against Güney, recalling that Abdullah Pütün, Güney's nephew, had claimed to have committed the crime, although the prosecution later established that it was Güney who pulled the trigger.
The judge's brother also said the family strongly resented the absence of an apology from the Güney family. “All we wanted was an apology. We would still be happy if they offered us even a belated apology, 38 years after the incident. It would be at least a slight relief for us.”
Mutlu noted that Güney didn't admit to the murder in court, but recalled that filmmaker Ali Özgentürk, who was present during the incident, and Fatoş Güney had admitted that Güney killed the judge. “Güney never said in court he shot my brother, but he was embarrassed by our presence. He would look down when he saw us.”
He also said the family relayed a message expressing their anger to Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who visited Güney's grave in Paris two years ago, adding that Kılıçdaroğlu had later called the family and apologized.
Güney, who was working on the production of the 1974 movie “Endişe,” was arrested on murder charges after killing Sefa Mutlu. In 1976, he was sentenced to 19 years in jail. He was given one-day leave in 1981 -- which was possible under Turkish law at the time -- after which he never returned and fled to France, where he died of cancer on Sept. 9, 1984.