The Silivri Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation into the suspicious death of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official Kaşif Kozinoğlu while serving time in a prison where he had been in custody since March on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, seizing confidential state documents and sharing them with third parties.
Kozinoğlu suffered a fatal heart attack at a No. 1 F-type unit in the Silivri Prison Complex on the outskirts of İstanbul on Saturday evening.
Kozinoğlu had been arrested as part of an investigation into the Odatv news portal, which is accused of aiding and abetting Ergenekon -- an organization that allegedly plotted to overthrow the elected government. He was the sole MİT official arrested as part of the Ergenekon probe and is known as the Special Forces Command and MİT's black box.
His death has raised suspicions about whether he was killed, as he had been scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 22.
The private Cihan news agency reported on Thursday that Silivri Public Prosecutor Güngör Karakoç has begun investigating Kozinoğlu's death and questioned his cellmates retired Col. Atilla Uğur, another Ergenekon suspect, and retired Col. Hasan Ataman Yıldırım, who is under arrest as part of an investigation into allegations that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had set up websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda. The prosecutor's office has also reportedly seized the text of a defense statement Kozinoğlu was planning to deliver during his first court appearance.
Ministry: Prison doctor was not informed of case
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry released a statement on Kozinoğlu's death on Thursday. The statement said although there is a clinic in the Silivri Prison Complex and there was a doctor in the clinic at the time of the incident, the doctor was not called when Kozinoğlu lost consciousness. The statement added that the 112 emergency hotline received a call at 6:30 p.m. and that two ambulances were dispatched to the prison. However, the statement did not say exactly when Kozinoğlu passed out and whether the ambulances were called on time.
The Ministry of Justice said in an earlier statement on Sunday that the initial autopsy on his body showed no physical evidence of assault. The ministry noted he felt faint after doing heavy exercise, citing the account of his roommate. The statement said paramedics immediately went to his cell and that he was breathing properly at the time. The statement said he was then taken to Silivri State Hospital, where he died nearly one-and-a-half hours after he began to feel faint.