Turkey: Cop who plotted to murder non-Muslims gets off scot-free after Erdogan’s government intervenes in case

Clearly the Erdogan government doesn’t consider what Ibrahim Sahin did to be a crime. Why is Turkey still considered an ally of the United States? Why is it still in NATO?

“Turkish police officer involved in terrorizing non-Muslims, extrajudicial murders, is getting off scot free,” by Abdullah Bozkurt, Nordic Monitor.

A former senior police official who was involved in terrorizing Kurds and extrajudicial killings was effectively given a get-out-of-jail-free card when a Turkish court ruled for his acquittal on terrorism charges in a scandalous decision.

Former Police Department Special Ops Unit head İbrahim Şahin was accused of organizing “death squads,” which investigators claimed planned to assassinate a large number of people as part of the activities of a clandestine network nested in the security, military and intelligence apparatus of the Turkish government in 2008. He was tried, convicted and received a lengthy prison sentence, but the case was overturned when the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan intervened, securing the release of Şahin and most other convicted neo-nationalists in the Ergenekon case. In a new trial with judges and prosecutors who were hand-picked by the Erdoğan regime, Şahin was acquitted of terrorism charges.

In the original case investigators found that in 2009 Şahin, who already had a criminal record, set up elite murder units called S-1 made up of special ops officers selected by him. The modus operandi of the murder units resembled that of gangs which carried out assassinations between 1991 and 1996, in which he was a major suspect.

Wiretap intercepts submitted to the court show Şahin was in communication with people in a bid to recruit loyalist operatives from the Turkish police, military and National Intelligence Organization (MIT). In a phone conversation on March 20, 2008 Şahin told Taylan Özgür Kırmızı, a suspect in the Ergenekon case, that the General Staff had set up a special unit that would be commanded by him and would report to no one. “We will be responsible for domestic cleansing,” he said, in an apparent reference to what he did in the 1990s with extrajudicial killings. He was seeking men with a hundred percent “Turkishness” who would take orders directly from him.

He met with Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, who provided him with a special line for communication, indicating that Şahin’s operation was being supported by the top leader of the Turkish military at the time.

On December 1, 2008 Şahin asked in a phone conversation for the name of an Armenian jewelry trader who had moved to Kayseri province. He proceeded to put the murder plot into action, and the target was Minas Durmazgüler, reportedly a spiritual leader of the Armenian community in Sivas. In a text message sent to a person named Fatma Cengiz, a suspect in the Ergenekon case, on December 28, 2008, he said there was a mission order and that Armenian must be killed.

The prosecution claimed that a hitman identified as Garip İrfan Torun was given a Glock pistol by Şahin to kill Durmazgüler. The police also arrested Şahin’s two men, identified as Bekir Çelik and Erhan Gönenci, part of the plot to kill the Armenian. The police found that Gönenci had gathered intelligence about would-be victim Durmazgüler under Şahin’s instructions and relayed the information to the former police official….

A cache of documents seized from his home during the execution of a search warrant indicate that Şahin was profiling Armenians, Kurds, Jews, Christians and people who he thought supported those groups. Among the people he made a note of were Nobel laureate novelist Orhan Pamuk, author Elif Şafak, journalists Ece Temelkuran and Burak Bekdil, slain Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink and many other writers and journalists. In his notes, US academic Henry Barkey was described as a CIA agent and the European Union as a Christian club. One of his notes listed the names of journalists who asked for police protection because of threats….

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