The Kızıltepe JİTEM Case

Retired Colonel Hasan Atilla Uğur, Diyarbakır Province Gendarme Commander Colonel Eşref Hatipoğlu, Gendarme Commando Unit Commander Ahmet Boncuk, Sergeant Major Ünal Alkan and five village guards are being sued for the extrajudicial and arbitrary killing and the enforced disappearance of 22 individuals in the Kızıltepe county of Mardin province between 1992-96, based on articles 314/1-2 and 82/1.a of the current Turkish Penal Code, article  number 5237, for the crimes of “having formed or managed an armed entity, being members of an armed entity and deliberate killing.”

The case was transfered to Ankara even before its start on grounds of security. In the first hearing held on March 3, 2015, due to the ranks held by the two defendants Hasan Atilla Uğur and Eşref Hatipoğlu and based on article 161/5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure it was decided to send the file for permission to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors.

The hearing held on October 19, 2015 was postponed to January 15, 2016 since no answer had forthcome from The Supreme Board. Before the next newly scheduled hearing, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors turned in its decison that since the defendants were being sued on account of forming an armed organization and with the plan to kill individuals, there was no need to get permission and that court proceedings could begin immediately.

On the 15th of January, 2016 hearing, the counsels for the defendants asked that the court board be recused. The prosecutor refused this demand on grounds of its being nonprocedural and unprincipled but the court board decided to send it to the competent authority.

On the next hearing held on April 27, 2016, the request of the counsel of the plaintiffs was accepted and the formal criminal charge was read before the court. The statement of the defendants was postponed to the following day, April 28, 2016. The defendants pleaded but said they would not answer the questions of the counsel of the plaintiffs. In his dictum, Prosecutor Levent Savaş said there was “no need” for arrest or for judicial control. The request of the kin of the enforcedly disappeared persons to become complainants in the case was accepted while the request of the defendants to be exempt from the following hearings was rejected.

In the Kızıltepe JİTEM Court Case held on June 24, 2016, the solicitors of the kin of the forcibly disappeared did not appear before court. Lawyer Erdal Kuzu explained their absence in the petition he gave to the court. Village guardsmen Fahri Ertaş and Ahmet Aksoy gave their testimony as witnesses. Of the defendants, Ramazan Çetin gave his defense via the SEGBIS system.

The request of the plaintiff’s attorneys, that, the transcriptions of the audio-visual communication system pertaining to April 28, 2016 being in error, the actual voice and camera recordings be brought to court on a CD was rejected during the hearing held on November 18, 2016. The request of Nusrettin Başboğa to be a party to the case was also rejected. Anonymous witnesses “Aydos” and “Oğuz” will be brought to court during the next hearing as well as the defendant already under arrest, Mehmet Salih Kılıçaslan, and the necessary dispatches will be sent for the purpose.

During the hearing held on February 17, 2017, secret witness, “Aydos” could not be heard since he did not have the secret witness decision and his national ID card on him. On the other hand, since the court was not able to reach the other secret witness, “Oğuz”, it was decided to get his statement in Mardin’s, Derik County where he resides. Habip Demir, Hadra Ünal and Şehmus Süer who had requested to be complainants in the case gave their avowal. The defendants’ lawyers asked that the avowal be refused since their avowals did not coincide with those in the existing file. In addition, the defendants’ lawyers also asked that, since the Law of Criminal Procedure (CMK no 172) had been changed, based on the Governmental Decree, the investigation no longer complied with the procedure. Hence, they demanded that the file be differentiated and a verdict of not-guilty be given. In its interim decision, the court overruled Şehmus Süer’s claim to be a complainant in the case. On the other hand, since Habip Demir “might have been affected by the crime”, his demand to be a complainant was accepted, while and that of Hadra Ünal’s claim to be a complainant had been sustained earlier.

During the hearing held on May 10, 2017 secret witness “Aydos” gave his testimony. Of the attendant lawyers’, Erdal Kuzu’s request to join the hearings via the audio-visual system, was not accepted. The secret witness “Aydos”s request to give his testimony in written form was accepted by the court if it would be appraised by the court.

During the hearing held on September 14, 2017, in response to the allegation that the deceased victim Nurettin Yalçınkaya was alive, his birth certificate and the official papers marking the decision on his divorce from the Pendik 2. Family Court came before the court’s agenda. To clear the matter a series of interim decisions were made concerning the statement to be taken. In addition, during the hearing Kızıltepe Gendarmerie Commander, Eyüp Bölük gave his statement as witness, while the court decided that since secret witness “Oğuz” (Bedran Akdağ) could not be found despite a thorough search and that his residence could not be discovered, it was decided with the agreement of the lawyers’ present, not to hear him.

In the last hearing held on November 28, 2017, the allegation concerning Nurettin Yalçınkaya’s still being alive was to be ascertained, but to no avail. Of the parties to his divorce, the court attempted to hear Yasemin Yalçınkaya via the audio-visual system, but the connection could not be established.

The hearing was postponed to February 5, 2018, 10:30 a.m.

Case Start Date

03.03.2015

Court Name

5th High Penal Court of Ankara

Indictment

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Defendants

Retired Colonel Hasan Atilla Uğur, Diyarbakır Province Gendarmerie Commander Colonel Eşref Hatipoğlu, Gendarmerie Commando Company Commander Ahmet Boncuk, Sergeant Major Ünal Alkan and village guards Abdurrahman Kurğa, Mehmet Emin Kurğa, Ramazan Çetin, Mehmet Salih Kılınçaslan and İsmet Kandemir

Victims

Abdulvehap Yiğit, Süleyman Ünal, Mehmet Nuri Yiğit, Tacettin Yiğit, Zübeyir Birlik, Abdulbaki Birlik, Kemal Birlik, Zeki Alabalık, Menduh Demir, Nurettin Yalçınkaya, Necat (Şemsettin) Yalçınkaya, Mehmet Emin Abak, Hıdır Öztürk, Abdulvahap Ateş, Mahmut Abak, Yusuf Tunç, Şeyhmus Kaban, İzzettin Yiğit, Yusuf Çakar, Abdurrahman Öztürk, Mehmet Ali Yiğit and Abdulbaki Yiğit

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