Reports in the Turkish media claim the 2001 murder case of Turkish-Jewish businessman Üzeyir Garih went 'missing' after prosecutors linked to the Gülen Movement allegedly dragged out the probe for years
Garİh, co-chairman of Alarko Group, was stabbed to death at a cemetery in Istanbul's Eyüp district on Aug. 25, 2001. A murder suspect, Yener Yermez, was detained and sentenced to life. The suspect, a conscript in the Turkish army, has claimed people he did not know killed Garih and offered him money if he claimed responsibility for the killing, years after the murder.
A report in the Star daily claims the case "went missing" after Zekeriya Öz, Cihan Kansız and Muammer Akkaş, who conducted investigations on various dates, failed to investigate the murder further. Öz and Akkaş are accused of having ties to the Gülen Movement, the powerful religious congregation that evolved into a power player in Turkey through infiltration into the judiciary and police.
The chief prosecutor's office in the capital Ankara recently ordered the police to launch a probe into potential links between Gülenists and the killings of high-profile individuals over the past decade, including Garih. The prosecutor's office in Istanbul reportedly asked for the handover of the case from the Bakırköy court in Istanbul, but court officials responded the case was not in the archives. The Istanbul prosecutor's office is now investigating the case of disappearance.
The prosecutors will also summon Yermez, currently serving a prison sentence in central Turkey, for testimony. The case was reopened first by Öz in 2008 over allegations of negligence by previous prosecutors, but it was handed to Kansız, another prosecutor, later. Finally, the case was handed to Akkaş in 2010. The latest prosecutor assigned to the case found that previous prosecutors did not conduct any investigation into the allegations during the past six years.
Öz and Akkaş are known to be members of the "parallel structure," a name attributed to the Gülen Movement's clandestine operations, including illegal wiretappings, to plot against the government. Both prosecutors were behind two probes in December 2013 that sought to discredit the government and eventually overthrow it by implicating names close to the government in an antigraft probe. After the December operations, Gülenists launched a defamation campaign against the government, and the government in turn started a purge of Gülenists within the police, judiciary and state agencies.
The family of Üzeyir Garih will also be summoned to testify as witnesses to find out whether the businessman was threatened before his death. Doğan Kasadolu, a friend of Garih, had claimed earlier that the businessman was killed by "an organization." The previous prosecutors then shifted their focus to Ergenekon, an alleged criminal organization, but could not find any ties between the murder and Ergenekon. The lengthy Ergenekon trial that long headlined Gülenist media, led to the imprisonment of generals, journalists, academics, dignitaries and others and its critics claimed Ergenekon was a plot to silence opponents of the Gülen Movement. Akkaş and Öz were among prosecutors assigned to Ergenekon-related cases.
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