By Kani Xulam
Tuesday, November 12, 1996
It was a luxurious Mercedes Benz. There were four passengers in it. One was
a Kurd. The other three were Turks. One of the three was a woman. One of
the other two a fugitive. The last person was the president of a Police
Academy in Istanbul.
On Sunday, November 3, 1996, a truck hit the car they were driving in
Susurluk, a town in western Turkey. The sole Kurd survived. The Turkish
woman and the other two passengers died. The next day when the true
identities of these individuals became clear, people in Turkey began to ask
why these four were in the same car.
Now that the dust has settled some sobering facts have surfaced. The
surviving Kurd is Sedat Bucak, a member of the Turkish parliament and the
head of Bucak tribe in Turkish controlled Kurdistan. He is a darling of the
Turks for declaring a war on rebel Kurds. His forces control the Siverek
Valley between the cities of Diyarbakir and Urfa. He has some 8,000
mercenaries, all Kurds.
Huseyin Kocadag, the president of Eroge Police Academy was also the former
deputy Chief of Police for Istanbul, Turkey. His name is closely linked with
the creation of the counter-insurgency group called “Special Teams.” A crack
civilian unit operating in Kurdistan, these “Contra Guerrillas” specialize in
inflicting death and suffering on unsuspecting Kurds. He has done a “good”
job. Amnesty International has just undertaken a worldwide campaign to
expose his crimes.
The other passengers were Abdullah Catli, and his girl friend, Gonca Us. Mr.
Catli first came into the limelight on March 9, 1978. On that day, he allegedly
strangled seven university students for being members of Turkish Labor
Party. The Turkish court found him guilty as charged in absencia and the
Interpol put him on their list of most wanted criminals. While on the run, a
few years later, he was also alleged to have helped Mehmet Ali Agca in his
attempt to assassinate the Pope, John Paul II.
The Italian prosecutor, Antonio Marini, wanted to interview Mr. Catli. He
was nowhere to be found. But when the news of his presence in the company
of one of the highest Turkish security officials reached Mr. Marini’s office, in
Rome, he was flabbergasted. Apparently, the Swiss police have equally been
dumfounded. The latter case, on the other hand, stems from a charge that
Mr. Catli was selling drugs in Switzerland.
At the scene of the accident Abdullah Catli had a false identification card on
him. He had the name Mehmet Ozbay and the badge of a police officer in his
pocket. On him, there was another coveted document, a Turkish passport, a
green one that is usually issued to senior civil servants obviating the need for
visa requirements. In the trunk, there was an arsenal; guns, silencers and
Gonca Us, Mr. Catli’s companion, was a former Miss Cinema in Turkey.
According to the press accounts, her relationship with Mr. Catli had turned
her into a Mafia hitwoman.
If anyone was looking for evidence of Turkish government complicity with
organized crime, the accident in Susurluk unequivocally revealed the nature
of this unholy alliance. For the fugitive that was captured dead, one wonders
how many others are roaming around. Human Rights organizations note
with alarm the killings and the disappearances of thousands of Kurds in
Turkey. They are urging for sanctions both military and economic. One
wonders, when will their governments hear and heed.