A secret witness testifying in court on Friday claimed that the 1996 assassination of businessman Özdemir Sabancı was not carried out by the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), as is believed.
In the 204th hearing of the Ergenekon trial at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, the secret witness, referred to as “Feryat” (Outcry), said the killing of Sabancı was not the work of the outlawed DHKP/C terrorist organization, despite the DHKP/C having taken the blame following the murder.
In 1996, Sabancı, a member of one of Turkey's richest families, was killed by gunmen on the 25th floor of the Sabancı Holding building in İstanbul. The investigation into his murder has not yet been concluded. Many mysteries surrounding his death -- including how the attackers could have gained access to the high-security building, let alone have brought in machine guns -- have remained unsolved. Three members of the DHKP/C, Fehriye Erdal, İsmail Akkol and Mustafa Duyar, were arrested as part of the probe into Sabancı's murder. Erdal managed to flee Turkey.
Feryat is a former member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization. He surrendered to Turkish security forces to benefit from the active repentance law after engaging in acts on behalf of the terrorist PKK for years. In 2007, Feryat was in Kırklareli Prison with the gunman responsible for the Sabancı murder, Duyar, after the latter turned himself in to the Turkish Embassy in Damascus on Jan. 6, 1997. Duyar was later murdered in prison by members of the Karagümrük gang, established by Vedat and Nuri Ergin, on Feb. 15, 1999.
Feryat said during the hearing that Duyar, while they were imprisoned together, had once told him the Sabancı murder was not carried out by the DHKP/C. “After he told me the murder was not the DHKP/C's doing, I asked why, if that was the case, this organization took the blame following the murder. He avoided talking further about the issue by saying, ‘Just forget all this.' Because Duyar was expecting to be killed, he sometimes revealed information. He constantly affirmed that he was not against the state at all, leading other prisoners in the jail to believe that he could not be a member of the DHKP/C. He would also say, ‘They they took advantage of me, now they don't protect me'.”
Feryat added that during his stay in the prison with Duyar, he observed Duyar exhibiting some schizophrenic and paranoid behavior, and what appeared to be razor scars on various parts of his body. This further encouraged Feryat's belief that he could not be a member of an organization.
Prisoners often chatted with each other and shared details of the crimes they had committed, Feryat stated. However, he said, “Duyar was not saying anything at the beginning. He was not sleeping at night. He engaged in some schizophrenic and paranoid behavior. He worried that he would also be assassinated.”
Feryat stated that he was surprised to note scars, which appeared to be razor cuts, on various parts of Duyar's body, and also deep scars on his throat, because such scars are not common on the body of a person who comes from an organizational culture or from a revolutionist body.
Another secret witness, “Kıskaç” (Pincer), testifying in court during one of the hearings of the Ergenekon trial in March, claimed that the Ergenekon terrorist organization -- a clandestine gang, the suspected members of which are currently standing trial on charges of attempting to foment chaos for the ultimate purpose of triggering an overthrow of the government -- was behind Sabancı's murder.