Tahir Elçi, who is representing victims' families in a case being heard at the 6th High Criminal Court, filed a criminal complaint yesterday with the Diyarbakır Prosecutor's Office, accusing the chief of General Staff of attempting to use his position of authority to influence the prosecutor and judges hearing Temizöz's trial.
Col. Temizöz is facing nine life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murder of several individuals allegedly committed by Temizöz and another colonel between 1993 and 1997.
In a recent statement Başbuğ said he was disquieted by the charges against Temizöz, whom he praised as an officer who took on important responsibilities in Turkey's war on terror and gladly risked his life for the purpose.
The Temizöz trial is the culmination of an investigation launched when wells excavated in the town of Silopi were found to contain human remains believed to be the bones of victims of an illegal organization inside the gendarmerie in the 1990s known as JİTEM. The other suspects in the case are former Cizre Mayor Kamil Atağ and his son Tamer Atağ, a Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) member-turned-state-informant Adem Yakın and other informants, including Fırat Altın, Hıdır Altuğ and Kukel Atağ.
The suspects are accused of murder, forming an organization to commit crimes and incitement to murder. The prosecution demands nine consecutive life sentences for Temizöz, seven life sentences for Kamil Atağ and Yakın, two life sentences for Tamer Atağ, three for Altın and Altuğ and life for Kukel Atağ -- all without the possibility of parole. The prosecution claims that Temizöz formed a group comprising village guards, ex-PKK members and special sergeants, ostensibly to fight the PKK, but says the group was instead involved in illegal activities.