Former National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Counterterrorism Unit head Mehmet Eymür, who was questioned by a special prosecutor last week, claimed in his testimony that a team that included former Police Chief Mehmet Ağar, special ops units and military men was responsible for carrying out extrajudicial killings, racketeering and kidnapping.
According to Eymür's testimony obtained by the Taraf daily, he claimed that Ağar and his team were heading that “formation.” Ağar, who has been sentenced to five years in prison on charges of establishing a criminal organization, had claimed in his testimony that there were “secrets” inside the state and “if a brick is pulled out, the whole wall would come down.”
Ağar, who said following his conviction that he is confident the Supreme Court of Appeals will overturn his sentence, is also accused of having been involved in crimes disclosed after the Susurluk affair of 1996, which exposed links between state officials, politicians and organized crime.
Taraf's headline asserted that it was Eymür who “pulled out a brick.”
Eymür, who started his career at MİT in 1966 in İstanbul, provides in his testimony a web of relations among many people whose names have been related to extrajudicial killings. Eymür said that he had a long-time and close relationship with Ağar, who sometimes stayed at his home when Eymür was still a bachelor. Eymür said that Ağar had many connections and that among his “friends” were mafia related people, whose names are included in MİT's reports.
“Since I was responsible for contraband trade at the time, I found out in reports coming from Interpol that some foreign contraband traders would call the İstanbul police, and when I found out whose number they were calling, I learned that they were calling Ağar's extension. I warned Ağar and then tried to stay away from him,” Eymür said.
Eymür went on to say that when he became the head of the special intelligence unit at MİT in May 1994 he was aware of the murders of Macit Baskın, head of the Altındağ Registry Office, Namık Erdoğan, ex-head of the supervisory board of the Ministry of Health, and Faik Candan, a lawyer.
“I don't remember those events fully but I have knowledge about the murder of lawyer Yusuf Ekinci,” Eymür said, and added that “Yeşil,” an alias used by Mahmut Yıldırım, a hitman who is believed to have carried out most of the “dirty work” of the illegal formations inside the state, was related to the murder.
Yeşil managed to remain elusive for much of his life and has been presumed dead for many years. Eymür said that Yeşil initially worked for MİT in Elazığ, but was not allowed to do so later as he was “out of control.” Eymür also said that Yeşil started to work at JİTEM, an illegal intelligence unit secretly founded in the '90s to fight Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism “more effectively.” JİTEM's existence was officially acknowledged only this year, despite overwhelming evidence of its existence surfacing long before the official acknowledgement by the Interior Ministry, which said in a response to a query filed by a court hearing a JİTEM-related trial that the organization “had existed,” although observers suspect it might still be in operation.
“Yeşil was given identification cards. Some of his cards even included the title of the ‘Prime Ministry Intelligence.' He worked with JİTEM up until 1995, and then, since he was out of control, he was moved to Ankara. In Ankara, Yeşil was introduced to me as he was going to be useful for the capture of Abdullah Öcalan. I asked him if he would work for us and he accepted. I told him that he would not have a duty inside the country. At the time he was not a sought after person by the police. I later learned that he was involved in many extrajudicial killings. He was involved in many events with gendarmerie officer Aytekin Özel,” Eymür said.
Yeşil was detained by an order from then Ankara Police Chief Orhan Taşanlar in relation to the murder of two Iranians.
“I questioned Yeşil about this. He said he was not involved in this event. … We found out that those Iranians were killed by Abdullah Çatlı and his team,” Eymür said, referring to Çatlı, an internationally wanted criminal who died in the Susurluk accident which revealed connections of the illegal structures within intelligence units and the police force.
Eymür also claimed that MİT has detailed logs and reports on the acts of Tarık Ümit, a MİT informant. Eymür said he went to Ümit's home in İstanbul upon his request.
“He told me that he has a 40-member list for people to be killed. Some names were crossed out, like Behçet Cantürk, who was already murdered. He told me that the list was given to him by the 'formation' that I mentioned before. So I reported this to the MİT Undersecretariat. We started to be interested in how those extra-judicial killings occurred and started to use Tarık Ümit,” Eymür said adding that both Yeşil and Ümit were used within the procedures of the MİT, not on Eymür's personal initiative.
Eymür also stated that murders of Şahin Arslan, Fevzi Arslan and Medet Serhat were committed by the “formation” he mentioned.
“I know Serhat since I was the one who questioned him. He was pro-Kurdish and Cantürk's lawyer. He is respected in the Kurdish community. Since he was not involved in violence, his advice was taken by the MİT in regards to the solution of the Kurdish problem. However, the formation headed by Ağar, Korkut Eken and İbrahim Şahin had him killed under the banner of ‘fighting with terrorism'.”
Eymür also accused Hanefi Avcı, İstanbul intelligence chief of the police at the time, for having responsibility in Serhat's murder.
“He never touched Çatlı even though he had Çatlı's house searched. He never worked toward finding those responsible for extra-judicial killings,” Eymür stated.
According to Eymür, former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller was used by Ağar.
“I know that Çiller was supporting the anti-terrorism policies with good will, and I don't think she would ever gave orders like ‘kill this person, take that person's money. But since she had less experience in the state affairs, Ağar and his team might have pushed Çiller and [her husband] Özer Çiller into making some mistakes.”
Eymür was questioned in relation to the July testimony of Ayhan Çarkın, a former member of the National Police Department's Special Operations Unit, who had said that he had information about the killing of some men who were Erdoğan, Ekinci and Candan. Çarkın said he and some other colleagues took part in the killings. Çarkın was arrested and an investigation was launched after his confession.
The recent detention of Eymür and his release after being banned from travelling abroad came as part of the investigation into Çarkın's confessions. Şahin was earlier arrested as part of the same probe.