Bayraktar (28) was the nephew of Özdemir Bayraktar, the owner of Baykar, and also worked as an accountant at the company. Mert Bayraktar failed to show up for work on Monday morning and was unreachable for the rest of the day. His father, Ömer Bayraktar, who rushed to the young man's home in Sarıyer, found Mert's body with his throat slit. Autopsy records indicate that he was severely beaten before being killed. However, the autopsy, carried out by a team of doctors led by Haluk İnce, the head of the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK), failed to reveal the instrument used to cut the young man's throat.
Sources close to the investigation note there was no sign of a break-in attempt, and nothing had been taken from the house. According to Bayraktar, the company did not receive any threats prior to the murder. Reports say the prime minister, a former school friend of Özdemir Bayraktar, ordered a special team of investigators to follow up the probe. The investigators are an elite team of detectives from the İstanbul Police Public Safety Department's Homicide Bureau.
Police have not ruled out the possibility of a personal conflict being the cause of the murder.
The UAVs manufactured by Baykar are currently being used in operations conducted by Turkish security forces against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Southeast. The Ministry of Justice is also following the murder investigation.
Baykar is the first Turkish company to manufacture a domestically made UAV, known as Kale. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have ordered 400 unmanned aerial vehicles from the company. Currently, the Baykar group is working on Çaldıran, a new generation UAV, also developed by the company.
In 2010 a prosecutor launched an investigation into a mysterious death at another company involved in national military projects. Since October of last year the Ankara Prosecutor's Office has been investigating the deaths of Hüseyin Başbilen, Ünsem Ünal and Evrim Yançeken, who worked for ASELSAN, a defense industry giant that produces technology for the Turkish military. The cause of their deaths, which occurred between 2006 and 2007, was initially determined to be suicide, but a recent report on the death of Başbilen suggests that he was murdered. All three had been assigned to work on encryption and decryption projects at ASELSAN and had worked on highly strategic projects in the past.