TURKEY: MURDER DEFENDANT AGAIN ADMITS PERJURY


Prosecutors suspect he’s protecting ‘masterminds’ of slaying of three Christians in Malatya.

ISTANBUL, August 25 (Compass Direct News) – Turkish murder suspect Emre Gunaydin admitted in court last week that he had again committed perjury in the trial over the savage murders of three Christians in southeast Turkey.

Gunaydin, 21, faced off in Malatya’s Third Criminal Court on Friday (Aug. 21) with Varol Bulent Aral, whom he had named as one of the instigators of the attack at Zirve Publishing Co.’s Malatya office in a previous disposition before state prosecutors. Gunaydin, the alleged ringleader of the murderers, told the court that he had lied in a previous disposition before state prosecutors by implicating Aral.

“I named Varol Bulent Aral to reduce the sentence,” Gunaydin said under questioning.

His admission came after Aral testified at length, painting an elaborate scenario of himself as a key player in the “Ergenekon” conspiracy – said to include top level political and security officials, among others – suspected of orchestrating the 2007 Malatya attack with Gunaydin and four other defendants.

“Varol Bulent Aral has no connection with these events,” Gunaydin insisted. “He is explaining things that he has imagined. There was not any threat against me, nor any instigator.”

Gunaydin initially failed to appear at Friday’s hearing where Aral was expected to testify, sending a note to the court that he was feeling unwell. But the judge abruptly announced a short court recess and ordered Gunaydin brought immediately from prison to the courtroom.

At a hearing three months ago, Gunaydin retracted similar allegations he had made against Huseyin Yelki, a former volunteer at the Christian publishing house where Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske were bound hand and foot, tortured and then slain with knives.

Jailed for three months on the basis of Gunaydin’s allegations, Yelki was finally brought to testify at the May 22 hearing.

“Huseyin Yelki is not guilty. He’s in prison for nothing,” Gunaydin told the court after Yelki testified. When questioned why he previously had implicated Yelki, Gunaydin said, “I did it to lessen my punishment. That’s why I said he was a missionary.”

Despite glaring discrepancies in his testimony, Yelki was released for lack of evidence. Aral was also ordered released for insufficient evidence, although he remains jailed in the Adiyaman Prison on unrelated criminal charges.

Plaintiff lawyers have expressed skepticism about Gunaydin’s two retractions, questioning whether he has been pressured to change his testimony in order to shield the actual instigators of the plot. They also remain unconvinced that Aral and Yelki were not collaborators in the attack.

Prosecution Failures

“An investigation does not just consist of claims, it must consist of proofs,” plaintiff lawyer Ali Koc told journalists on the courthouse steps after last week’s hearing. “One of the underlying missing elements of the Zirve Publishing trial in Malatya stems from the failure to pursue the investigation with sufficient objectivity, depth and careful attention.”

The only reason Aral and Yelki were charged in the case, the attorney noted, was because one of the defendants claimed they were accomplices. Koc stressed it was “the duty of the state and the judiciary to uncover those responsible for this event – the instigators, and the climate in which they emerged.”

He also declared that Aral should be investigated for his relations with intelligence officials, which he hoped would expose new evidence.

“If the Malatya case is not joined with the Ergenekon trial, then we’re probably looking at a verdict against the killers within the next three to five court hearings,” plaintiff lawyer Erdal Dogan said. “But I have hope – I hope for merging it with the Ergenekon case, in order to uncover the perpetrators behind the scenes.”

After two failed summons, Burcu Polat also appeared to testify at the Aug. 21 hearing. Now 18, Polat was Gunaydin’s girlfriend at the time of the murders. She stated that she had used two different cell phones in the weeks previous to the murders. Both telephones were registered in the name of her father, Ruhi Polat, a provincial council member of the Nationalist Movement Party previously called to testify at the trial.

The court summoned intelligence officer Murat Gokturk from the Malatya gendarmerie headquarters to appear at the next hearing, set for Oct. 16. Yelki had contacted Gokturk frequently by telephone in the weeks preceding the murders.

Detailed Informant Letter

Two months ago, an informant in the military intelligence division of the Malatya gendarmerie headquarters sent an extremely detailed report to state prosecutors regarding what Turkish media have dubbed the “Malatya massacre.”

The two-page letter fingered former Col. Mehmet Ulger, gendarmerie commander of Malatya province at the time of the murders, as a key instigator within the murder plot.

With precise, documented details, the report outlined Ulger’s targeting of the Malatya Christians and their activities during the weeks surrounding the attack, including a secret briefing for selected officials, unregistered meetings and the tapping of gendarmerie personnel named for specific assignments at various stages.

At the actual day and hour of the killings, the report said, Ulger received a telephone call from his commander while he was in a furniture shop in the city center. Ulger immediately promised to go to the scene, taking two sergeant majors and an official car, and arriving just as the police teams pulled up.

“The event had just happened, and the police teams had not yet gone to the scene, and Mehmet Ulger’s superiors informed him about it,” the report noted.

The letter goes on to describe frequent visits Inonu University professor Ruhi Abat made to Ulger’s office, where the colonel had specifically ordered his subordinates to never record Abat’s visits in the official record book.

Although Ulger and Abat testified on April 13 that they had sponsored a seminar regarding missionary activities for gendarmerie personnel, the informant declared it could be easily proved that such a seminar had never been held.

The informant claimed that 40,000 Turkish lira (US$30,800 at the time) was paid out during 2007 by Malatya’s gendarmerie intelligence staff “solely to direct close surveillance on missionary activities.” Instead of using the funds to help “break apart illegal organizations or recover a lot of drugs,” he said, a large portion of the money was handed over to Abat, he said.

The informant’s letter was sent simultaneously to Malatya Prosecutor Seref Gurkan and State Prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, who heads the Ergenekon investigation in Istanbul.

The anonymous informant claimed he had much more information that he could not pass along safely without revealing his own identity.

“Because I regret that I was involved myself in some of this, I am sending this letter to both prosecutors,” he wrote. “I hope that I am being helpful in solving this dark event.” He enclosed a CD of Ulger’s 2007 briefing as well as a list of the people whose telephones were being tapped.

It is not known how seriously the latest informant’s letter is being taken by the Malatya prosecutors.

“But we are seeing the continuation of a long chain of information coming out,” plaintiff lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz commented. “We have at least achieved something in the eyes of the Turkish public, because everyone is now convinced that it was not just these five young men who planned this; there were much larger and more serious forces behind the scenes.”

Report from Compass Direct News 

Sweet Escape or Inner Self Realities


This is not a post about the Gwen Stefani CD ‘Sweet Escape’ – just in case you turned up on that possibility. I do have that CD and I am something of a Gwen Stefani fan, but that is a whole other story.

No, this post is about trying to make a ‘sweet escape.’ There are times in life when you think that just maybe you can escape your troubles and get away and make a fresh start ~ just like I did several months ago when I quit my job, left Newcastle and moved to Gloucester. There are many reasons for doing so – some good, some bad – I’m talking in general terms and not specifically about my own case. Some flee to escape prosecution, being caught out, embarrassment, etc. Some flee to escape hardship, personal trauma and distress, financial difficulties, etc. Some escape to just have a change, an adventure or for something different. There are a myriad of reasons for trying to have a sweet escape.

I have catalogued various reasons for my change of circumstances several months ago in letters, Blog entries, web sites, etc. I’m not sure whether I have carefully articulated every reason there was for me doing so, but I have made mention of quite a number, which were not insignificant reasons, for doing so. These included work stresses, illness, etc.

What I have come to experience (which I already knew intellectually to be so – though one often flies in the face of what one actually knows to be the facts) is that those reasons which have impacted significantly on the ‘inner self,’ which I believe some might call the ‘psyche’ or some other similar term, are not possible to escape from. These travel with you no matter how much running from them you might attempt to do. In my case I carry quite a few of these things with me ~ significant hurts, personal flaws and failures (some of which could be accurately titled sins), eating disorders (that might come back to bite me – no pun intended), etc.

Right now one of these not so helpful ‘pseudo-symbiotic&r squo; reasons is plaguing my consciousness and has returned as a major ‘filler’ for my quiet moments, solitary times, etc. Not long ago I had thought I had come to grips with this particular issue, only to find it re-surface several weeks ago and cause renewed distress, etc. As I say, it is near impossible to escape those experiences and impacting issues that have significantly impacted on the inner self.

Now this would be the point at which some would say to ‘simply take it to the Lord in prayer,’ as though uttering a few words or a given formula is the panacea for all of life’s ills. I would suggest that these folk either have had little experience in truly ‘inner self’ impacting crisis’ or they are not telling the truth about how hard difficulties have been to cope with which they have experienced for fear of portraying prayer in a different light to that with which they have been indoctrinated.

I am not about pouring scorn on the merits of prayer or the God to whom prayer is directed ~ that is not my purpose in this post, for I too herald the power of prayer in transforming lives and being a mighty aid in answering life’s problems. I am simply stating that these ‘inner self’ impacting experiences are very real and are often the source of recurring heartaches, etc. I am also saying that I am not immune to these times as my current experience bears witness and my life history bears continuing testimony ~ even though prayer is an important part of my life.

So just at this point in time I find myself again enduring the difficulty of an ‘inner self’ impacting experience, along with all of the emotional stresses that come along with it – as do most (the honest readers anyhow) of you out there.

So why share this particular circumstance? Well, it is my Blog isn’t it? That’s what these things exist for – an open online journal, among other things.