Military links to the Malatya missionary murders were alleged last year. In May 2008, a letter sent by an individual identified as Ali Arslan to the Malatya Third High Criminal Court -- the court hearing the trial -- claimed that Emre Günaydın, one of the key suspects in the murders, was provoked by Malatya Provincial Gendarmerie Brigade commander Col. Mehmet Ülger. The letter claimed that Ülger had communicated with Günaydın through Ruhi Abat, an instructor at Malatya University’s theology department, and Halil İşler, a gendarmerie station commander at İnönü University. Later, Sgt. Mehmet Çolak took on the responsibility of establishing contact between Ülger and Günaydın.
The court last year requested permission for a probe from the Second Army Corps Command due to serious allegations being directed at members of the military. However, no permission was given by the military.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman, co-plaintiff Erdal Doğan stressed that the letter proved the role the officers played in the murders. Stating that current First Army Corps Commander Gen. Iğsız was then Second Army Corps commander, which is based in Malatya, Doğan said Iğsız ignored the letter on the grounds that the letter was not genuine, and officers implicated in the murder were not investigated. “Since such an investigation has not been made, we conclude that they were protected by the military,” he added.