Küçük ordered academic's murder, says witness

January 28, 2009, Wednesday/ 16:47:00
One of the witnesses in the trial of Ergenekon, a clandestine terrorist organization charged with plotting to overthrow the government, has claimed in his testimony that a retired general who is a key Ergenekon suspect had personally ordered the 2002 assassination of secular academic Necip Hablemitoğlu.

Excerpts from the witness's testimony were distributed yesterday by the prosecution to some of the suspects' lawyers. Most of the witnesses are informants who worked with or for the organization and were involved in some of its crimes. Their identity is kept secret, but the press reported that the witness known as witness number nine is Osman Yıldırım, a suspect in the 2006 Council of State shooting.

His witness testimony claimed that initially Yıldırım was told to kill Hablemitoğlu by retired Gen. Veli Küçük, thought to be the leader of the military operations of Ergenekon. Yıldırım refused, saying he “did not work with the state.” Küçük then told a hit man named Osman Gürbüz, also a suspect in the case, “Well, it looks like this is once again left to you.” According to testimony records, witness number nine said in his questioning: “I have known İbrahim Genç for a long time. We have been partners in crime. İbrahim Genç invited me to his office in Osmanbey in December 2002. Veli Küçük was there when I got there. They showed me a picture of Necip Hablemitoğlu, saying, ‘He has to die.’ They offered me $1 million. When I refused, Veli Küçük turned to Osman Gürbüz and said it looked like the job was left to him again. Gürbüz agreed. He had some kid do it. He had a hit man finish the deal.”

Another excerpt gave further information on the murder: “They were at Kemal Ateşoğlu’s club in Şirinevler. Osman Gürbüz said, ‘We also finished Hablemitoğlu at the tables,’ meaning they finished the money they were paid for Hablemitoğlu [gambling].”

Yıldırım also testified regarding Semih Tufan, who nearly fatally shot former Human Rights Association (İHD) President Akın Birdal, who miraculously survived. “Semih Tufan, we are partners in crime plus we are from the same town. I knew about the Akın Birdal incident. They decided right next to me. I told them, ‘I’m staying out of this’.”

He also testified that Gürbüz was a member of “Korkut Eken’s team.” Eken is a retired colonel who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for involvement in clandestine and illegal operations after the 1996 Susurluk incident. “They hung out together. That was when he fired at a police station in Gebze. Gürbüz at the time gave [former Police Chief] Mehmet Ağar a BMW. It was either ‘95 or ‘96,” he said.

“In 1996, Osman Gürbüz introduced me to Veli Küçük. I knew him earlier, but I didn’t have a close relationship with him. I also met İbrahim Genç there. They would come together with Veli Küçük. [Ergenekon suspect retired Capt.] Muzaffer Tekin would also drop by their office in Sirkeci and sometimes in Mecidiyeköy,” he also said in his testimony.

“I walked around with a police ID for a while. I also had a gun. I had my own gun that I used at all times. And sometimes they would give me guns. In that environment, everyone gave each other guns. It was not right to buy guns,” the witness also said.

National
Other Titles