Former National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Counterterrorism Unit head Mehmet Eymür has said that the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) Special Forces Command "engaged in illegal activities from time to time" and that MİT official Kaşif Kozinoğlu ordered the assassination of Kurdish politician Murat Bozlak.
The Malatya 3rd High Criminal Court, which is seeing a trial regarding the 2007 murders of three Christian missionaries who were employed at the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya, earlier decided to hear Eymür's testimony. Following the court's decision, the former MİT official testified to the İstanbul 15th High Criminal Court on Friday.
Eymür said he launched an investigation into Kozinoğlu as soon as Eymür heard about the assassination order, but Kozinoğlu was being protected by some circles within MİT, he said.
Asked about what he knew about the National Strategies and Operations Department of Turkey (TUSHAD), which has long been known as a clandestine organization within the TSK, by panel judge Kazım Kahyaoğlu, Eymür said he had no specific knowledge about TUSHAD. He said it is a legal institution established by the state. “But I heard that some structures within the Special Forces Command carried out illegal activities from time to time,” he added.
“As far as I know, the structures [carrying out illegal activities within the command] are formed by three units. The first is called the ‘White Forces,' constituting the civilian unit. The second is [Wartime Search and Rescue Unit] MAK. And then there are the ‘Black Forces,' which are also called the ‘red-beretted' and are the key element of the structures,” he said.
Elaborating on the so-called “White Forces,” Eymür said their task was to make plans for the command. “They are extremely disciplined and tight-lipped. I have not yet seen a person talking about this unit. When I asked the Special Forces Command members about this [the White Forces], they told me that they will have to pay a high price if they say anything. As far as I know, this unit was established within the scope of the Mobilization Unit [of the TSK],” Eymür said.
As for MAK, which was used to conduct psychological warfare against certain political parties and individuals according to recently revealed MİT documents, the MİT official said that the major task of this unit was to find out the persons or institutions providing logistics for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It carried out anti-PKK activities both inside and outside of the country, he said.
And the “Black Forces” were the non-civilian unit of the structures engaged in illegal activities within the Special Forces Command. “Today this unit is known as the ‘red-beretted.' I have to say that they contributed a lot to the Special Forces Command's counterterrorism fight. The people from this unit were very well-trained and disciplined. They were both good soldiers and good agents. I know for sure that they got out of their routine job from time to time,” he noted.
He gave the example of Kozinoğlu. Kozinoğlu suffered a fatal heart attack at a No. 1 F-type unit in the Silivri Prison Complex on the outskirts of İstanbul in early November 2011. He 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, 2011.
Eymür said that while he was working with Kozinoğlu, Eymür learned that Kozinoğlu ordered his subordinates to assassinate Murat Bozlak. He said that he had launched an investigation into Kozinoğlu as soon as he learned about the assassination order. “I gave a disciplinary punishment [to Kozinoğlu] and was planning to suspend him from MİT. But I couldn't because he was being protected by some circles within MİT,” Eymür stated. Bozlak was the former chairman of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP).
Eymür then presented a flash drive containing information and documents regarding the Special Forces Command.