‘Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu’s helicopter found on day of crash’

April 06, 2012, Friday/ 15:17:00/ EMRE SONCAN

An important step has been taken in the investigation of the death of former Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, who died in a helicopter crash in 2009, after prosecutors received a document listing the duty schedule of two military helicopters that went to the scene of the incident on the day the helicopter crashed.

The wreckage of the helicopter and the bodies of the passengers were found by local villagers three days after the crash. However, a document that was sent to the Malatya Prosecutor's Office shows the wreckage was actually found on the same day by military helicopters but was not reported to rescue teams.

The Presidency's State Audit Institution (DDK) has been investigating the cause of the crash, which has been mired in suspicion from the very beginning. The DDK's findings confirm allegations that military jets were in the same area as the helicopter minutes before the crash. There is also a four-minute blackout of all radar in the area that coincides with the time of the crash. The DDK's recent findings indicate that a critical map drawn up by the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB), using the victims' cell phone coordinates to aid in search and rescue efforts was not used by the gendarmerie search and rescue teams looking for the crash site.

TİB officials say two maps showing the coordinates of the crash site were created on the day of the crash, one drawn up at 4:55 p.m. and the other at 10:30 p.m., using GSM signals from the victims' phones that still had running batteries. However, the DDK report found that the maps were deliberately concealed by the gendarmerie commanders conducting the search.

Yazıcıoğlu, BBP Sivas provincial branch Chairman Erhan Üstündağ, BBP Sivas provincial branch Deputy Chairman Yüksel Yağcı, Sivas City Council candidate Murat Çetinkaya and İhlas News Agency (İHA) reporter İsmail Güneş, along with pilot Kaya İstektepe, had been traveling from Kahramanmaraş to Yozgat when the accident occurred. The victims' snow-covered bodies were found by villagers 72 hours after the crash.

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