JITEM hitman: Veli Küçük conceals masterminds
While retired Gen. Veli Küçük, who was jailed following his capture in a police raid to crack down on a gang known as Ergenekon, said in a statement that he was the founder of JİTEM, the intelligence unit of the gendarmerie that does not exist on paper and whose existence has been consistently denied by officials, a former JİTEM hit man accused the general of concealing the real masterminds of the Ergenekon organization.
Well-known informant Abdülkadir Aygan, who was involved in JİTEM activities for years, spoke to Today's Zaman. He stated that about 80 percent of JİTEM's acts were illegal, despite the fact that it was an official institution. Noting that JİTEM was using illegal and unregistered guns, Aygan said: "Possession of these guns was also illegal. A former governor of OHAL -- a state of emergency in place in the southeast region in the '90s -- Hayri Kozak-çıoğlu, who handed over C-4 explosives to JİTEM, also conspired in the illegal activities."
Born in 1958, Aygan joined the PKK in the early 1980s. He escaped from the organization in 1985 to become an informant. In his own words, Aygan took part in the first personnel line of JİTEM, owing to the efforts of Lt. Col. Cem Ersever, one of the famous names of JİTEM, He worked at JİTEM for 10 years under the assumed name Aziz Turan. In 2000, he was appointed a civil servant at the Burdur Provincial Gendarmerie Command. Married with five children, Aygan currently lives in Sweden as a political refugee. The lawsuit under which the JİTEM team is held responsible for 37 murders is currently being handled by the Diyarbakır 3rd High Criminal Court.
Aygan says that Küçük served as JİTEM group commander from 1990 to 1991 based in Ankara's Aydınlıkevler district. "JİTEM's headquarters was in a large building with two floors. All personnel in the building used to wear civilian clothes. The vehicles used in official service had civilian plates; however, these were the gendarmerie's registered vehicles. It is no coincidence that this person served as the head of the organization during the establishment of JİTEM. It is certain that he was one of the founders of the organization. However, his assertion that he founded JİTEM alone is not accurate. I think that he is trying to protect the masterminds and prove that he is loyal to them. … JİTEM was not founded by Küçük's efforts alone. It was the outcome of a collective action. If Cem Ersever had been alive today, he would have contributed to the resolution of the case. Ahmet Cem Ersever, Col. Arif Doğan, Hasan Kundakçı, Veli Küçük, Hüseyin Kara, Hulusi Sayın and Aytekin Özen were the founders of JİTEM."
Aygan asserted that a legal instrument promulgated in 1937 in relation to the Dersim mutiny on combating separatist movements and the appointment of agents and informants to deal with rebellious actions was used as a legal basis to create JİTEM.
Noting that the core cadre of JİTEM included special warfare unit members, Aygan said that 80 percent of JİTEM's activities were illegal despite the fact that it was an official institution. "Presentation of the information received from other units, agents and informants as intelligence reports to the higher posts was legal. However, references to some regions as ‘close to the PKK' were illegal. Its activities to label a number of people as PKK militants or members, the investigation of these people in prison, their subjection to torture and extrajudicial killings were all illegal. Bombings in the buildings of civil society organizations, papers and cars were illegal."
Noting that Kozakçıoğlu handed over a large amount of C-4 explosives to JİTEM, Aygan said Ersever, who was kidnapped and killed in 1993, and Özen transferred the explosives to Ankara. "Uğur Mumcu, Bahriye Üçok and Eşref Bitlis were all assassinated after the transfer of the explosives to Ankara. The same explosives were detonated in the vehicles of attorney Mustafa Özer in Diyarbakır and in Kızıltepe. JİTEM had plans to kill many other people including lawyers, bureaucrats and other leading names. For instance, attorney and Republican People's Party [CHP] deputy Mesut Değer and attorney Mahmut Şakar were two of them. I never witnessed a drug deal, but they had close relations with infamous drug traffickers." Aygan further notes that Ersever disliked Küçük.
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