Appeals Court Reverses Bucak’s Acquital in Susurluk Case

Appeals Court Reverses Bucak’s Acquital in Susurluk Case

March 05, 2004, Friday/ 13:13:00/ MURAT AYDIN
The Court of Appeals has cancelled the acquittal verdict given to Sedat Bucak, a former deputy of the True Path Party (DYP), in what has become known as the Susurluk Case.

The Court of Appeals reasoned that Bucak's association with convicted felons in the Susurluk Case was conducted illegally and noted that it was unacceptable to think that it was accidental or legitimate.

Bucak was a member of the same organization as other defendants who were convicted for 'forming an organization to commit crimes' and was an administrator due to his position according to the decision statement and case documents of the Court of Appeals 8th Penalty Office. It was also noted Bucak should be convicted according to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th clauses of the Turkish Crime Code's 313th article that addresses the crime of 'forming an organization to commit crimes'. After this decision, the lawsuit file will be sent to Istanbul's 2nd Heavy Penalty Court, which originally gave out an acquittal verdict. Bucak will then be tried again. The court can either insist on the previous verdict or convict Bucak. If the court maintains the previous verdict then the lawsuit will be taken up in Court of Appeals Penalty General Council.

The decision recalled that an injured Bucak was found at the scene of a car accident along with Huzeyin Kocadag, Gonca Us, and Abdullah Catli, all of whom died in the accident. Catli had falsified documents identifying him as Mehmet Ozbay, but Bucak is said to have known the true identity of Abdullah Catli, who was notorious for his involvement in many illegal activities. The Court decision reads, 'at the time, the defendant was a Sanliurfa deputy, Huseyin Kocadag, was a police academy principal, and Abdullah Catli was a drug smuggling convict, a prison fugitive and a massacre suspect who was wanted by police.' The decision said it was incredible that Bucak would come together with these people under normal life circumstances and stressed that it was not possible to accept that the relationship between these people had an official basis, that it was accidental, or that it was legitimate. It also noted that convictions for other Susurluk gang members were solid.

The car bearing license plate number 06 AC 600 belonged to Bucak but was driven by Huseyin Kocadag on the night of the accident. A gendarme search of the car revealed unlicensed guns, numerous bullets, and two fake license plates and cocaine was found on Abdullah Catli. The decision stated that the Baretta 22 caliber gun and silencers had been donated to the Police Department by a firm named Hospro. The gun was later lost and the barrel changed. The decision reads: 'it is unacceptable that those were placed in the car later or that the car owner was not aware of them since gas station workers, the defendant's guards and security forces' arrived at the scene of the accident very short quickly-that has to be taken into consideration.'

A statement by Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP) which was submitted to the Parliament's Susurluk Investigation Commission on December 24, 1996, stated that Bucak was involved with the kidnapping of businessman Mehmet Ali Yaprak and the murder of casino owner, Omer Lutfu Topal.

It was noted that Bucak was had 'close relations' with several convicted gang members including Retired Lieutenant Colonel Korkut Eken, Chief of Police Ibrahim Sahin, police officers Ziya Bandirmalioglu and Ayhan Akca, and casino managers Sami Hostan and Ali Fevzi, and massacre convict, Haluk Kirci. The decision reads: 'it is clear with information and documents that the defendant and his relatives hosted Korkut Eken, Ibrahim Sahin, Sami Hostan and Haluk Kirci in Siverek. '

The traffic accident on November 3, 1996 in Susurluk, led to a lawsuit against 14 people including special police teams, Ibrahim Sahin, Korkut Eken and Haluk Kirci. In the trial conducted in Istanbul's Sixth State Security Court (DGM), Sahin and Eken were sentenced for 6 years each and the others were imprisoned for 4 years each as ordered by the Court of Appeals. Sedat Bucak, who was included in the same case, could not be tried as long as he was an active deputy. His trial has to be postponed until he could no longer be re-elected.

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