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Turkey

Fresh Accusations Of "Deep State" Crimes In Turkey

A recent investigation of unsolved political murders and forcibly evacuated villages in southeastern Turkey cites JITEM, a clandestine intel unit linked to the Turkish military.

Watching soldiers in Istanbul
Watching soldiers in Istanbul
Mesut Hasan Benli

KIZILTEPE - A legal investigation completed by the Kiziltepe Prosecutor’s Office in southeastern Turkey cites JITEM (an acronym for Gendarmerie Intelligence services) for “systematic” unsolved political murders and forced evacuation of villages in the area.

Although it is being accused of countless illegal acts over the years in eastern and southeastern Turkey, the JITEM’s existence has never been officially accepted by the military. There are ongoing trials with defendants who are widely suspected of being JITEM members, but the name of the organization has never been written in court documents.

This investigation by the Kiziltepe Prosecutor’s Office is focusing on retired colonel Hasan Atilla Ugur, who is also currently facing charges in the controversial Ergenekon case. Similarly that organization is considered a sort of “deep state” power, with hundreds of military personnel accused of being part of a clandestine ultra-national organization that had tried last decade to overthrow the current government led by AKP and Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan.

The local prosecutor’s office sent its latest findings report to the head prosecutor’s office at Diyarbakir. It includes the names of Ugur, who used to be the Kiziltepe Gendarmerie commander, and eight other soldiers, known as “Team Knife,” suspected in the unsolved murders and systematic evacuation of local villages during the 1990s. “It is understood that the matters of the unsolved murders, disappearances, eviction from the villages and torture were commonly committed during 1993-1996; therefore it is also sure that the illegal organization called the JITEM existed and continued its actions after 1990 despite claims otherwise.” The difference in this investigation is that it openly says the JITEM is responsible for the unsolved murders and the forced evictions of the villages.

The report says the anti-terrorism activity of the state was taken out of the legal boundaries at a certain period, and continues with the following statements: “It is a reality that formations organized by the public servants working at this field, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) foremost, killed or taken similar illegal actions such as murder under torture against the organization members, its supporters and sympathizers without due procedure.” The mentioned organization here is the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

The report goes on to say that the entire authority in the area was in the hands of military officials and the units under their command while the judicial and governmental personnel turned a blind eye to things. The JITEM acted not just with political motives but also for illegal financial gain, the report says.

“Violent actions like murdering people during interrogation and throwing bodies down wells cannot be explained as ‘anti-terrorism struggle.’ On the contrary, these are crimes of terrorism themselves,” the report says. “The possibility that this organization, which spent public money, committed serious crimes like systematic murder and torture…must be further investigated.”

Among the alleged crimes cited was one against Memduh Demir, a shepherd tending to his cattle in a rural area near Yücebag village on May 13, 1995. After a clash between Turkey security forces and the PKK, PKK member Bedri Kapan was wouned and captured. According to the testimonies of village guards, both Demir and Kapan were thrown to their deaths from a helicopter.

The Gendarmerie has denied any wrongdoing, and says that the villages were abandoned because the residents left on their own accord.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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