The Politics of MurderJanuary 21, 2014
This is a sequel to the blog post Death in Paris
The famous quote of Carl von Clausewitz “War is the continuation of politics by other means,” fits well to describe the conduct of many nations and it fits even better and applies to more nations if one adds the word “assassination” to the word “war.”
War and assassinations are the continuation of politics by other means.
One year ago three Kurdish women, Sakine Cansız, Fidan Dogan, and Leyla Soylemez were murdered in an execution-style assassination. Suspicion fell instantly on Turkeys intelligence agency MIT, a collusion of Turkey with Frances DCRI was also considered as likely.
One week after the murders, 30 year old Omer Guney was arrested, because surveillance footage placed him at the scene, and partial DNA from one of the victims was found on a jacket belonging to him.
In February investigators from the French anti-terrorist unit Sdat checked the contents of a borrowed Peugeot car Guney had used on the day of the killing — it was their second try. Dismantling the car, they found a passport behind the radio with stamps of three trips to Turkey in August, October and December of 2012, and a dry-cleaning bill dated a few days after the killings.
Also in February 2013, Murat Sahin, a former member of the MIT who is living in Switzerland, confirmed that Omer Guney was a member of the Turkish intelligence agency.
Sahin said: “I never met Omer nor worked with him but the “Aunt” [a code-name of the woman who lead Sahin’s MIT unit in Ankara] once showed me Omer’s photo and asked me ‘Do you know this heval (friend in Kurdish) who is our member in Paris?’. When I told her that I didn’t know him, she didn’t ask or say anything else. She was probably checking if I knew him or not. I have no doubt that the person on the photo was Omer Guney.”
Murat Sahin said he believed Omer was the man who pulled the trigger but that he was accompanied by some other people in Paris. He added: “It is impossible for him to commit these murders alone, he must have been assisted by 2 or 3 well-trained agents.”
The case is proceeding very slowly. To date no hearing has been scheduled as the investigation is not over yet. The anti-terrorism court denies that political considerations are slowing down the process, yet French intelligence has not been assisting, causing the investigation to come to a halt at critical junctures. On September 25, 2013 investigating magistrate Jeanne Duye’s computer containing judicial files was stolen from her home.
In October magistrate Duye lodged a formal appeal for information about Guney to Turkey but until now Turkish officials are not assisting, while the Turkish authorities wish to have access to the entire case file. Turkish media wrote earlier this year that the Ankara prosecutor was conducting a separate probe under an article of penal law which says a person who commits a crime abroad while in the service of the Turkish state can be tried in Turkey and that the prosecutor was seeking to establish whether Guney was indeed in the service of the Turkish state.
Meral Danıs Bestas, the lawyer representing the families of the slain in Turkey said she was not allowed to access documents because the investigation is carried on in secret.
Omer Guney is constantly claiming to be ill and suffering from a brain tumor that induces seizures, but doctors who have examined him agree that he is only faking the symptoms as a deliberate strategy to impede the investigation.
In December, the French magazine Express reported that there has been some progress made after the examination of new documents. The police laboratory near Ecully was able to retrieve photos that had been deleted from the memory of Guney’s Nokia mobile phone, which proved that Guney had entered the Kurdish association in Villiers-le-Bel on the night before the murders by using spare keys and had carefully photographed 329 membership forms. It was also established that he had sent the photographs somewhere, most probably to Turkey.
Guney had five phones with French and Turkish cards, two of them are still missing. He had sent dozens of text messages to unusual numbers that resembled “technical numbers.”
Former colleagues in the Munich area, where he lived for some time testified that Guney was close to the nationalist party MHP. They also told, that he frequently went to the firing range, that he wore a ring with 3 crescent moons on it, and that he had a Turkish flag in his room.
On January 12 this year the 10 minute recording of a phone conversation between Omer Guney and two MIT superiors was placed on YouTube. Until now five people have confirmed that this is undoubtedly Guney’s voice. The recording proves that he was working in conjunction with the Turkish state and that it was he who planned and carried out the attack.
One of the MIT officers says: “…the important part is getting away and not getting caught. That’s why I’m asking about the distance. I’m asking if they’d get there. I’m asking how many meters it is. Have you calculated how many minutes it would take to get from here to there? Do you get traffic on that road?“
The dialogue makes clear that at least two of the five mobile phones of Guney were special phones used only for communication between MIT operatives. “The mobile phones you gave, my French phones, they all are encrypted. They cannot enter it without codes.”
Guney also confirms that he receives support from the MIT: “two guns, one silencer and three cartridge clips. He asked for 2,500. I agreed and reported friends“. The fact that the officers speaking to Guney do not feel the need to speak about this issue and ask no questions shows that they already knew about the mentioned guns and their costs.
Guney complains about not being able to make use of the “opportunities” he had to kill his Kurdish enemies: “Halil İbrahim Gundoğdu was a highly significant person. He has sent 200 people to the mountains from Europe. He was going to toilet in the woods, if you’ll excuse my language. I was behind him. If I had wanted, I could have eradicated him and Nedim Uzun, the one they call heval Siyar right there. I could have killed the two of them. There was time, it was suitable. I was alone in the forest. I didn’t do anything as I didn’t have permission.“
One of the officers advises: “…make absolutely sure of these things. Do a good job. Let’s talk again. Let’s review your plan. May God protect us from the smallest mistake, because you’re important for us.” And: “Let’s do it again. Let’s co-ordinate. Wait to hear from us. If we get the chance within the framework of that encrypted telephone conversation we planned. But for now review all those plans once again.”
It is clear from this phone conversation that Guney and Turkish state officials were planning not just one attack but several attacks on various targets. The audio recording also implicates French security services by suggesting that Guney may have committed the murders in Paris while under heavy surveillance.
On January 15 the Turkish opposition newspaper Sol published a document which is apparently a November 2012 mission order issued by MIT, identiying Guney as an agent code named “Legionnaire.” Here is the full text of the document:
SUBJECT: Sakine CANSIZ, codenamed Sara
LEGIONNAIRE who we talked to in order to unveil the KONGRA-GEL (PKK) KCK’s activities in FRANCE/Paris and the restraint of senior members of the organisation stated in the email he sent to us in October 2012 that Sakine CANSIZ, code-named Sara, one of the prominent staff of the KONGRA-GEL (PKK) KCK has arrived in Le Bel in Paris/Villiers.
Sakine CANSIZ, code-named Sara, who came to France a few days after the arrest of Adem UZUN by French security forces, performed the official procedures such as residence permit and passport renewal through the Source in the scope of the assignments made by the organisation.
During his last visit to our country for a meeting with us, the Source was instructed to make preparations aimed at the persons determined in line with his attack/sabotage/assassination style operative opportunity/abilities against the organisation targets in Europe, to obtain the equipment to be used during the work, and to show ultimate attention to any kind of communication with our side, and was provided with 6000 EURO for probable spendings.
The Source who has the opportunity/ability to stay informed about Sakine CANSIZ, code named Sara, activities across Europe in the coming period, her contacts, correspondences and residence address could also be considered for an operational planning intended for the restraint of the mentioned member of the organisation.
In this context, also considering the Source and activity safety, it is being planned to instruct LEGIONNAIRE for a move against Sakine CANSIZ, codenamed Sara by means of the formerly designated coded statements.
Submitted for your information.”
Department Chief : O. YÜRET
Head of Department: U. KAYIK
Deputy Head of Department: S. ASAL
Director: H. ÖZCAN
The leaking of the recorded phone conversation and of the mission order could be related to the attempts of the Fathullah Gulen movement to put pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party and to oust him from power.
The MIT and especially its chief, Hakan Fidan, is in the crosshairs of the Gulen movement. Gulen’s followers tried to arrest Fidan, but Erdogan changed the law and saved Fidan from being jailed.
Hakan Fidan has been playing a leading role in conducting both the peace talks in Oslo and the direct talks with PKK leader Ocalan on the prison island of Imrali, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that assassination attempts were stopped for the time of the negotiations.
The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on October 19, 2012 about an “award regulation” which the Turkish government allegedly issued last year, targeting 50 leading members of the PKK/KCK, 20 of which are situated in Europe. The regulation includes the names of KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) executive council president Murat Karayılan, KCK executive council member Cemil Bayık, Duran Kalkan, HPG (People’s Defense Forces) main headquarters command Fehman Huseyin, as well as Mustafa Karasu, Sabri Ok, and Zubeyir Aydar, who attended the negotiation talks in Oslo. The capture or assassination of these Kurdish leaders will be rewarded with 4 million Turkish Lira. The lower limit of 2 million Turkish Lira is designated for the local leaders and European unit executives. Instant intelligence is awarded with 100 thousand Turkish Lira.
There are indications, that the Paris massacer was the first implementation of this regulation.
In February Der Spiegel published a report about the murder case which didn’t present any new facts except the (not unsurprising) revelation, that Germany’s spy agency BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) and the Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz are closely cooperating with Turkeys MIT. Ugur Kayik, one of the officers implicated in the murder by the leaked mission order, is personally known to his German colleagues from meetings that were held when a MIT delegation visited Germany.
The Kurdish diaspora in Germany should be vigilant and cautious!
Additional details about the forensic evidence against Omer Guney:
A CCTV camera (of which Guney obviously was not aware) shows him arriving at 11:30 am in a car together with Cansiz in front of the office and then leaving. He arrived again at 12:11 pm. The conversation that the three women held in the office ended abruptly at 12:43 pm. At 12:56 pm, Guney left the site. Gun powder traces were later detected on the bag that he was carrying when he left. There were also traces of blood on his shoes and the DNA of one of the women on his jacket.