There has been no progress made by the courts in the murder case of retired imam, Bayram Ali Öztürk, since he was killed five years ago.
Mahmut Öztürk, the imam’s son, spoke to Yeni Akit daily on Monday, saying that the case has been forwarded to three different prosecutors in four years. The prosecutors investigating the case until now were also involved in investigations into the Ergenekon criminal network, the Sledgehammer coup plot and the Poyrazköy incident, in which a cache of munitions was discovered in İstanbul’s Poyrazköy district. Prosecutors in these cases discovered suspects had been ordered to infiltrate the İsmailağa faith group, of which Öztürk was a member, but none of them were interrogated according to Öztürk’s son, who added that he doesn’t know why the case is not being investigated properly. Öztürk, who was a prominent leader of the Naksibendi sect in Turkey, was stabbed to death by Mustafa Erdal at İsmailağa Mosque in İstanbul’s Fatih district in 2006. Witnesses have asserted that Erdal was then attacked and killed by a group of bystanders, who have been accused of being the perpetrators of the murder. Özturk had been at the mosque with some of his followers on the day of incident, speaking at one of his regular Sunday afternoon lectures. Erdal, one of the attendees at the meeting, went to the front of the mosque where Öztürk was sitting and stabbed him in the heart twice. He added that Erdal’s telephone calls were not investigated, his wife was not interrogated and footage from the security cameras near the mosque was not requested by the prosecutors. Erdal, who infiltrated Öztürk’s lecture group, was found to be uncircumcised in the autopsy.