Parliament acquits state in Semdinli incidents

  • The New Anatolian
  • 14/04/2006 00:00:00

Ayla Ganioglu - TNA Parliament Bureau / Ankara

The parliamentary commission set up to probe the bombing of a bookstore in Hakkari's Semdinli district in November, which shook the entire country, has acquitted the state of the incident.

The commission's draft, reported to have been prepared by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party members, underlined that neither legitimate state institutions nor the "deep state" is behind the incidents, despite expectations to the contrary.

However the report didn't support state institutions' evaluation that the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) planned the bombings in Semdinli either. Thus the parliamentary commission has refused to find a guilty party, which, in turn, has shown that the incidents will continue to be shrouded in mist.

The draft has been opened to approval from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) members of the commission. The draft, in a sense, refutes the Semdinli indictment prepared by Van Chief Public Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya which created tension between the government and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). In his indictment, the prosecutor made an overall evaluation of the events in the southeast, starting from Semdinli incidents, and accused Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit of forming a crime gang. The prosecutor's demand for the trial of Gen. Buyukanit was rejected by the General Staff.

Since the commission's AKP members work in close cooperation with the AKP administration, the evaluations of the draft are reported to be the views of the AKP administration. However, whether these evaluations reflect the true views of the AKP administration is a controversial issue. The AKP ranks, who created the impression that there's a Susurluk case-like situation (forming crime gangs within the state institutions) in the Semdinli incidents, took a backwards step with this draft.

In the draft report, the AKP members answered the question of "Were the Semdinli incidents local?" by saying "Yes." This answer suggests a change of attitude within the AK Party. However AK Party leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, just after the bombing, "The incident isn't local and we'll solve it." The prime minister's statement created expectations among some of the public, especially the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) which is accused of the supporting the PKK.

The expectation was that the military was behind the bombings and that the government would shed light on it but the draft report has frustrated that expectation.

DTP's expectation

The draft report said there are five suspects behind the bombings but emphasized that there's no evidence that legitimate state institutions carried out the bombings. It also underlines that there are no clues regarding some specific accusations by the DTP and other circles against the military.

"There's no evidence of a group which accepted illegality within the state; was guided by illegal ways and methods in the fight against terrorism; used this struggle as a base for deviating from the European Union bid;or created artificial tension and escalated it, thus trying to impose an extraordinary administration in the region through preparing extraordinary conditions," the draft reads.

The draft also rejected claims that the detained suspects in the Semdinli bookstore bombing, noncommissioned officers Ali Kaya and Ozcan Ildeniz, are also responsible for other suspicious bombings in the region.

"Our commission hasn't found any evidence of an illegal formation within the gendarmerie. There are no illegal formations in either the gendarmerie or the other security units of the state that would allow unlawful actions," the reported added.

Despite these evaluations, the draft, however, addressed some concerns about the military in a very diplomatic manner. It said it's not possible to see the events clearly. "It's was anticipated that the events would become complicated. We can't track the footprints and understand where these footprints lead to. We're tracking leads in fog."

PKK's involvement

The commission also failed to reach a judgment on whether the PKK is responsible for the bombings. "Our commission cannot conclude that the PKK is responsible for all these events. But our commission will not be surprised if it turns out that the PKK is behind all these events," the report added.

The draft report underlined that there’s no evidence of PKK involvement in the big blast on Peace Day celebrations in Semdinli on Sept. 1, 2005.

According to the report, certain circles within the state that have adopted illegal methods in the fight against terrorism come to mind in such cases. Recalling that Turkey has experienced similar things in the past, the report said, “Memories of those crime gangs that included public officials, politicians and the mafia are still fresh.” However, the report also noted that the commission, after lengthy evaluations, found no such a structure in the state.

The commission concluded that 12 out of a total 17 bombings, except for the bombing of the bookstore in Semdinli on Nov. 9, were carried out by the PKK in Hakkari, Yuksekova and Semdinli between June and December 2005.

The commission also demanded legal action against Semdinli Police Chief Tacettin Aslan who misled the commission. Aslan earlier told the commission that they received intelligence that a package would be sent to Seferi Yilmaz, the owner of the bookstore ,and that the police had a court order to look for the package at cargo delivery companies. The commission requested that a complaint be filed against Aslan with the police.

The report also pointed to the fact that Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani is powerful in Hakkari through his relatives in the city. It also warned that the northern Iraqi region controlled by Barzani has become a magnet and if the necessary measures are not taken, it would be harder to fight against this organized power, which is bigger and more organized than the PKK. The report suggested that improvement of the socio-economic situation in the southeast would reduce the influence of the Barzani administration there.

The commission also proposed anti-terrorism squads in Hakkari and neighboring cities that would have enough personnel. These squads should also be equipped with armored vehicles and armored police vehicles with water cannons, the commission said.

Source:The New Anatolian

  • The New Anatolian
  • 14/04/2006 00:00:00