Six questioned for seizing slain Col. Çillioğlu’s guns

May 10, 2012, Thursday/ 16:59:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Six people arrived at the Malatya Specially Authorized Prosecutor's Office on Thursday to testify to prosecutors about the seizure of two guns by two gendarmerie officers from the family home of a colonel who died in 1994.

Col. Kazım Çillioğlu was found dead 18 years ago in his apartment. His death was ruled a suicide. However, evidence that emerged later, including reports outlining the circumstances of his death, gave prosecutors strong reason to believe that Çillioğlu had been the victim of a murder. It also emerged in a recent investigation into his death that two guns owned by Çillioğlu were seized by two senior gendarmerie officers via falsified documents about three years after his death. News sources did not specify whether the six people who testified to prosecutors were civilians or military officers.

Recently the slain colonel's son, Gökhan Çillioğlu, told a prosecutor that on Dec. 12, 1997, two senior gendarmerie officers came to the family's house and took two guns licensed in Col. Çillioğlu's name. The two guns were returned to the Çillioğlu family three months later. The Malatya Prosecutor's Office recently sent a query about the incident to the Gendarmerie's criminal department. The department in response denied that it ever seized Col. Çillioğlu's guns, and the officers involved in turn testified that they were carrying out orders.

The initial probe that was conducted by a military prosecutor into Çillioğlu's death was mired in controversy from the start. Last year, the Yeni Şafak daily published a photo clearly showing the presence of bruises on the face of the victim, indicating foul play. Traces of blood on the floor tiles were also visible in the photo, indicating that the carpet on which the major's body was found had been dragged by another person after Çillioğlu's death. Çillioğlu's body was exhumed in the summer of 2011, whereupon a detailed examination of his skeletal remains revealed an unusual hole in the humerus and two broken ribs, adding to suspicions that the colonel's death was not self-inflicted.

Currently, seven active duty and one retired military officers are under arrest on charges of illegally wiretapping the telephone conversations of Gökhan Çillioğlu. Wiretapping the phone of Çillioğlu's son was made legally possible after a gendarmerie intelligence unit included his name on a list, along with several drug dealers, in order to obtain court permission.

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