Recordings of late major confirm illegitimate practices in anti-terror fight

October 02, 2011, Sunday/ 17:30:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A major who was mysteriously killed in 1993 stated in voice recordings obtained by the Bugün daily over the weekend that the Turkish military resorted to illegitimate means in its fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) during the 1990s.

The Bugün daily published transcripts over the weekend of the voice recordings of Maj. Cem Ersever, who is known as the “black box” of JİTEM -- a clandestine and illegal intelligence organization formed within the gendarmerie force that is the alleged perpetrator of hundreds of unsolved murders from early 1990s.

In the voice recordings, Ersever acknowledges that he took part in some controversial operations against the PKK while vowing to reveal the “network of dirty relations” within the Turkish military.

The voice recordings came from Ersever's telephone answering machine.

Ersever's body was found killed under mysterious circumstances on Nov. 4, 1993, and his murderer was never caught. His girlfriend and right-hand man were also killed in the same instance. After gendarmerie commander Gen. Eşref Bitlis died in a suspicious plane crash in 1993, Ersever left the gendarmerie in March 1993. In his resignation, he wrote: “A gang formed inside the authorized organization in the Southeast is preventing the Turkish nation from seeing the real dimensions of the events taking place there.” The major was working on an archive containing state secrets at the time of his death. The archive disappeared shortly thereafter.

Ersever's assassination came shortly after his interview with journalist Soner Yalçın, now a jailed suspect in the Ergenekon case, was published in the Aydınlık magazine. In the interview, Ersever said he would try to reveal the facts as to what was going on in the Southeast and the military's shortcomings in the fight against the PKK. The Gendarmerie Military Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation against Ersever over to his statements to the Aydınlık magazine. Ersever made a deposition in the case on Oct. 26, 1993, and departed for Ankara on Oct. 24 -- the last day on which he was heard from.

In one of the voice recordings, Ersever speaks to a member of the military named Celal and says that in case of his arrest, he will reveal that he took orders from the General Staff to carry out certain operations. “These guys completely brought me to the line of illegitimacy, too. They want to silence me and I will not keep silent,” said Ersever.

In another recording in which he speaks with an unidentified person, Ersever talks about the military's shortcomings in the fight against terrorism and the importance of the development of counterterrorism policies by civilians, believing civilians should write these policies and the military should implement them.

In another voice recording with an unidentified person, Ersever asks whether “our sons will continue to die due those pashas [who act as the pincers of certain circles and fail to take security measures to prevent PKK attacks].”

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