Avcı arrested for links to terrorist group

Former Police Chief Avcı was taken to İstanbul after detention by a civilian prosecutor.

September 29, 2010, Wednesday/ 17:33:00
Hanefi Avcı, the former police chief from the central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, was arrested late Tuesday by an İstanbul court due to his suspected ties to the Revolutionary Headquarters, a leftist-terrorist organization behind a deadly attack that took place in İstanbul in 2009.

He was detained early in the day in Ankara and was taken to İstanbul for interrogation by civilian prosecutors. He appeared before the prosecutor at the Beşiktaş Courthouse. The İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office recently summoned Avcı to testify after a recent revelation that he had close links to the Revolutionary Headquarters.

The prosecutor decided that Avcı be arrested and put behind bars due to his suspected links to the terrorist group.

Police sources said the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court later issued an arrest warrant in his name after he failed to present himself to give testimony. Yesterday, the court ordered the İstanbul police to apprehend the former police chief for interrogation on charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and violating the secrecy of an ongoing investigation.

Seventeen members of the terrorist group were apprehended last week after simultaneous police raids in various provinces. Thirteen of them were later arrested. One of those arrested was Necdet Kılıç. A police investigation revealed that Kılıç was the owner of the SIM card that Avcı, in his recently published book, argued had been illegally wiretapped. In the book, Avcı contends he had a SIM card he used to communicate with a small number of people that he later discovered had been wiretapped following a court decision. “I discovered I was being wiretapped on a SIM card I used to communicate with only two people. My conversations were being listened by court order. I was monitored as if I were a member of a terrorist organization,” Avcı claims in his book, titled “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar” (Simons in the Golden Horn).

The police also discovered that Kılıç had another SIM card that was being used by another Revolutionary Headquarters member, Kezban K. Claims emerged this week that Avcı had an affair with Kezban K., who confirmed the claims and said she started an affair with the former police chief two years ago when she was married.

Avcı was furious when police officers detained him yesterday. He told reporters that he was not being taken in to testify of his own free will, but was being forced to do so by police. “They [the police officers] say that I am being taken to İstanbul upon an order from a prosecutor, but I do not think this is the case. And I do not know why I am being taken in. [Besides being a former police chief,] I am also a legal expert. The law is being violated at this moment. A man who fought terror for 40 years is now in detention on terror charges,” he stated. Avcı also denied links to the Revolutionary Headquarters.

He also e-mailed a five-page statement to reporters in which he denied all accusations directed at him. He said he would show resistance at the prosecutor’s office, probably implying that he would refuse to testify. In the statement the former police chief also noted that he had filed a complaint against the prosecutor involved in the probe into the Revolutionary Headquarters with the Justice Ministry, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“I have no ties to the Revolutionary Headquarters. They are trying to associate me with the group in order to protect the real suspects,” the statement added. The statement featured no date or signature and led some observers to wonder if Avcı had prepared it in advance as self-defense, expecting that he would be detained. He also said he had testified to a military prosecutor’s office at the General Staff as a witness over claims included in his new book.

Eskişehir police also began a search of the former police chief’s home in the province. They were reportedly looking for more evidence of links between Avcı and the group. Police were accompanied by a civilian prosecutor. Members of the press were not allowed to enter the house.

Interior Minister Beşir Atalay also commented on the court’s decision to detain Avcı, and said it was a result of a move by judicial authorities. “That’s a judicial move. There were detentions [of suspected Revolutionary Headquarters members] in İstanbul recently. Avcı’s name was frequently mentioned during that period. I believe that İstanbul prosecutors will interrogate him over this issue,” he added.

The detention came shortly after Avcı returned to Ankara from the western province of İzmir, where he was traveling to meet with his readers and sign copies of his new book. Speaking to reporters there on Monday, the former police chief said he was set to testify to civilian and military prosecutors soon about the claims included in his book. He added that he also plans to call a press conference in order to provide detailed information to people on the recent developments regarding his book and himself.

In the book, which experts on criminal law have dismissed as biased, Avcı argues that ongoing criminal investigations aimed at confronting illegal activities within the state, including the probe into Ergenekon -- a clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government -- lack evidence and are based on illegal wiretapping. However, it is well known that the telephone conversations of Ergenekon suspects were legitimately wiretapped by prosecutors overseeing the probe on court orders.

Avcı’s wife also spoke out about the detention of her husband and a police search of their home, expressing full support for and confidence in her husband. “Let them search everything. They will not be able to find anything. This is the house of a police officer. I am the wife of a police officer,” she said. She also argued that the detention is linked to the allegations included in her husband’s new book. “He will write a new book. No one will be able to silence him,” she said.

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Eskişehir police also began a search of the former police chief’s home in the province.

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