The forensic doctor Mehtap Altuğ, in her official statement, stated that the most crucial evidence for the investigation in relation to the assassination of Tahir Elçi was spoliated at the order of the President of the Institution of Forensic Medicine.
BOLD – It was revealed that the most crucial evidence that might lead to the discovery of the perpetrator of the assassination of Tahir Elci was removed from the investigation file in the Institution of Forensic Medicine. Mehtap Altug, who is a forensic geneticist in the Istanbul Forensic Institution, explained the spoliation of evidence in detail during an investigation that was carried out by the Istanbul / Bakirkoy Prosecution Office. However, the issue was hushed up.
The President of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, Tahir Elçi, was shot to death on 28th November, 2015, in Diyarbakir. Despite the four years that have passed since then, the gun that fired the bullet which killed Mr Elçi has not been identified.
While the family of Elçi, together with rights defenders, continue to lament that there has been no effective investigation, it was revealed that the most crucial evidence in relation to the investigation was removed from the investigation’s file.
During the investigation on the murder of Mr Elci, pieces of evidence collected in the crime scene by the Diyarbakir Police were delivered to the Institution of Forensic Medicine, which is based in Istanbul. After the forensic expert Arif Bingöl began to examine the evidence, he discovered, on a swab which is used to collect DNA evidence, a DNA sample that belonged to a male. Bingöl registered this evidence on the National Judiciary Network Database (UYAP), however, this evidence was removed from the investigation’s file at the order of Yalcin Büyük, who is the President of the Institution of Forensic Medicine. The record in the National Judiciary Network Database also erased by the Department Chief, Bestami Çolak, and thus the most important evidence which might lead to the discovery of the perpetrator, was spoiled.
SPOLIATION OF EVIDENCE WAS RECORDED IN AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT
Mehtap Altug, who has been working as a forensic geneticist at the Istanbul branch of the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM), provided a witness statement on 3rd August, 2016, during an investigation numbered 2016/68697, which was being carried out by the Istanbul / Bakirkoy Prosecution Office. Altug detailed the spoliation of the evidence, which was carried out at the order of the President of the IFM, Yalçın Büyük:
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE EVIDENCE BAG WAS VESTED IN ARİF BINGOL
Mehtap Altug stated that responsibility for the evidence bag which contained cartridge bullets, swabs and camera devices, was vested in the forensic expert Arif Bingöl, and she added that the other partners in the case were herself and Turgay Kandemir. Mehtap Altug continued as follows: ‘Arif Bingöl had discovered a DNA sample belonging to a male on a swab which is used to collect DNA evidence, however, this evidence was spoliated due to pressure that came from the higher ranks of the IFM. Altug stated further that the record made in the National Judiciary Network Database by Arif Bingol was erased by their Department Chief, Bestami Çolak.
The statement of Mehtap Altuğ reads as follows:
“Most recently, some four months ago, there were cartridge bullets, swabs and camera devices in the evidence bags relating to the murder of Tahir Elçi, the President of the Diyarbakir Bar. This case was being investigated by the forensic expert, Arif Bingöl. Other partners in the case were me and Turgay KANDEMİR. It was concluded, in the examination by the Police, that a DNA sample was not found on a certain swab. However, Arif Bingöl discovered a DNA sample, belonging to a male, on that swab. It was registered with the UYAP (National Judiciary Network Database) as a report. Arif Bingöl sent the report to me with an e-signature. I signed it in order to report it through the system. All three partners signed it. The report was sent through the system to be signed by the Chief of the Department of Biology, Bestami Çolak. The Chief of the Department, Bestami Çolak said, in my presence, to Arif Bingöl, that the President of the Institution, Yalçın BÜYÜK, and the Deputy President, Ömer MÜSLÜMANOĞLU, had instructed that that certain item be removed from the file. Bestami Çolak refused (to sign) the report through the UYAP (National Judiciary Network Database) … As I explained, above, the expert on the file, Arif Bingöl, prepared a new file by removing the DNA sample from the file, and this new file, having been signed, went to Diyarbakir.”
TRIO WHO GAVE THE INSTRUCTION FOR THE SPOLIATION OF EVIDENCE ARE BLUE BOYS OF THE AKP ERA
Yalçın Büyük, President of the IFM, his deputy, Ömer Müslümanoğlu, and Bestami Çolak, the Chief of the Biology Department, are key figures in the allegation of the spoliation of evidence that was given in Mehtap Altuğ’s witness statement. All three were promoted by the AKP Government after it carried out a purge within the IFM in 2013. Yalçın Büyük has been President of the IFM since 4th June, 2013. Ömer Müslümanoğlu and Bestami Çolak are still Deputy Presidents of the IFM and Chief of the Biology Department, respectively.
DNA SAMPLE COULD HELP TO DISCOVER THE PERPETRATOR
Since the bullet which hit Elci exited his body, DNA samples on the cartridge bullets collected from the crime scene were the most crucial and decisive evidence. Having found the cartridge bullets that killed Mr Elci, the gun which fired that particular cartridge bullet could be found with the help of a ballistic examination. This might consequently lead the investigators to the perpetrator. The destroyed swab thus had crucial importance in relation to the discovery of the gun which shot the cartridge bullet which killed Mr Elci.
WAS THE DNA REPORT REMOVED FROM THE INF’S DATABASE?
Although the DNA sample and the report on it were removed from the investigation file and from the National Judicial Network Database, according to Mehtap Altug’s statement, it may still be in the INF’s database, which is called ALIS. Altug provided her statement during an investigation that is irrelevant to the murder of Tahir Elci. Under Turkish Criminal Procedural Law, the Istanbul / Bakirkoy Prosecution Office, which received a tip on a crime that suggested that there was spoliation of evidence, shall initiate an ex-officio investigation. However, despite the three-years since Altug’s statement, the Istanbul / Bakirkoy Prosecution Office has neither launched an investigation on the spoliation of evidence, nor has it notified this incident to the Diyarbakir Prosecution Office which is investigating the murder of Tahir Elci.
What is a swab?
Swabs used for forensic purposes are designed for comparative sampling or for securing traces at the crime scene, typical. traces and comparative specimens being blood, saliva, sperm, epithelian cells, etc. From the samples recovered, the DNA is purified and the DNA profile determined. This is also known as the genetic fingerprint.
Torture and violance are everywhere: Eastern Report from Human Rights Foundation
The Human Rights Violations Report of the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia Regions prepared by the IHD (Human Rights Foundation) Diyarbakır Branch was released. The report of the first 6 months of 2019 is full of torture, ill-treatment, and violations of rights that is on spike in the region.
BOLD – Report accounts violations including right to life, torture, and ill-treatment, violations in prisons, intervention, and prohibition on the rights of assembly and demonstration, freedom of speech and thoughts, freedom of press, violence towards women and children
TORTURE IN URFA IN REPORT
Rahsan Bataray, vice president of the Human rights Association made the report public criticized the impunity policies, underlined the torture against people that during the home raid in Halfeti and Suruc district, 51 citizens, 3 children were forced to lay face to the ground in the garden of the police station.
THERE ARE 458 EXTREMELY SICK PRISONS OUT OF 1. 334
According to the report, prisons are one of places where torture is widespread and systematic. In prisons, violations include such as deportations, the right to health, torture and ill-treatment, disciplinary investigations, isolation, violations of right of communication, communication, restriction on family visits, restrictions on the use of mother tongue are prevalent. According to the report, a total of 334 sick prisoners, including 458 in prison, have been left to die under grave conditions.
VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
The report stated that violence against women and children continued in the first 6 months of 2019. Tens of women were killed as a result of male violence was also expressed. Violence against children, sexual abuse, child labor and deaths, child marriage, lack of mother-tongue education were pointed out. In the previous week in the district of Bilecik village in Ovacık district of Dersim, two brothers named Ayaz Güloğlu and Nupelda Güloğlu, were died as a result of the stepping on the explosions in the area in which they were playing.
VIOLATIONS TO RITHT OF LIFE
* Two persons were killed arbitrarily by the police force on the grounds of violation of the authority to use weapons or not obeying stop warning; 7 people were injured. 1 person was wounded by village guards.
* Six prisoners lost their lives in prisons, 4 of them committed suicide and 2 of them had heart attacks.
* As a result of official damage and negligence, 1 person lost his life and 1 person was injured.
* 4 soldiers and police, suspected of committing suicide died in a suspicious way.
* In the first 6 months of 2019; 1 political party administrator and 2 lawyers died as a result of the attack. 1 political party manager, 1 journalist, 1 local administrator, 2 lawyers, and 1 hospital employee were injured in the attacks.
* In armed clashes in the cities of the region; 29 security guards lost their lives and 46 were injured. 124 militants lost their lives. 7 civilians who were stuck between fires lost their lives and 5 civilians were injured.
* 27 persons including 1 child, 8 female, and 18 males, were found suspiciously dead
ILL-TREATMENT AND TORTURE TO THE DEAD BODY
* In total, 9 private security zone announcements were made to cover hundreds of districts within the borders of 5 city centers and 20 districts surrounding these cities. Advertisements in some regions were extended periodically.
*A total of 8 curfews were announced, including of 3 city centers and 147 villages/neighborhoods in 6 districts and dozens of hamlets including nearby these villages/neighborhoods.
* At least 2 militants’ corpse who lost their lives were tortured and mistreated.
* The tombs/graveyards of militants were destroyed at least 3 times.
SIX WOMEN COMMITTED SUICIDE, 22 EXPERIENCED VIOLENCE
* Six women committed suicide and 1 woman attempted suicide.
* 22 women were killed as a result of domestic violence and 17 women were injured as a result of violence.
* 8 women were massacred as a result of the attack, and 8 women were injured as a result of violence. 7 women were sexually assaulted and 1 woman was forced to prostitution.
SEXUAL ABUSE FOR CHILDREN INCREASED
* 1 child committed suicide while 2 children attempted suicide
* 2 children were killed as a result of domestic violence; 4 children were injured and 1 child was subject to sexual abuse.
* Two children were injured in the social life they were exposed to. 17 children were sexually abused, 1 child was abducted and detained and 1 child was forced to prostitution.
TORTURE CASES UNDER CUSTODY INCREASED
*At least 65 people were tortured and faced ill-treatment in custody.
* 30 people were subjected to torture and ill-treatment outside of the detention places (street-house raids).
* 64 prisoners were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prison.
* 9 people were interrogated of spying and 3 people were threatened by forces
* 122 people were injured in the interventions against social demonstrations.
1044 HOME WERE RAIDED
* including 41.000 children, 567 persons were detained
* Including 2 toddlers, 222 were arrested
*About 15 people were given house arrest.
* Thousand 44 houses/businesses were raided.
* Violations of freedom of thought, expression, and association
10 PARTY OFFICES and 3 ELECTION OFFICES WERE ATTACKED
* An investigation was launched against 81 people in 7 court files.
* In 10 court files, 79 people have been sued.
* In 20 files, including politicians, journalists, and public laborers, 85 people were sentenced or fined.
* 10 political party buildings and 3 election offices were attacked or raided. 4 parties faced closure.
* Security forces intervened in 32 public demonstrations or public meetings
* Meetings or demonstrations were banned in some cities indefinitely and in some cities every month. In the first 6 months of 2019, 20 prohibitions were announced.
ISOLATIONS, EXILE AND PUNISHMENT IN PRISON
* 40 prisoners were exiled/deported without justification.
* 51 prisoners subjected to a violation of the right to health.
* Meetings between 1 prisoner and his families were not allowed
* At least 30 prisoners were subjected to isolation and exile
* An investigation has been launched against at least 12 prisoners.
* At least 5 prisoners have been denied communication.
* At least 19 prisoners were sentenced to disciplinary penalty
Deadly torture in Mardin’s Police Department beating to death and attempt to rape
It is revealed that the container in the garden of city of Mardin Police Department was turned into a torture center. F.A. initial letters of his first and last name who is one of the victims of the container. He was detained protesting new trustee administration appointed to the municipality by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
BOLD – Having detained on the third day of the mass protesting against trustee appointment in Mardin, Diyarbakir and Van Metropolitian municipalities, F.A narrated the torture and inhuman treatment that he went through afterwards.
Reporters of the Mesopotamia Agency who were also detained witnessed the bruises, ,several cuts and had 6 stitches on F.A.s back from the assault he was subjected to during his detention
Having rejected to sign the report during his detention that they forced him to sign, he was taken back to a room without surveillance, he could not tell anybody about what he had lived and experienced in Mardin Police department. As soon as he was released from the detention, he filed a criminal complaint and narrated the brutality he had to go through.
THEY FORCED ME TO SIGN CRIMES THAT I HAD NOT COMMITTED
After being detained, F.A. noted that he had arrived at the hospital in a semi-unconscious state. “They had already taken me. I was half unconscious. There were injuries and cuts on many parts of my body. I was in the hospital for about 3 hours. I got 6 stitches on a wound on my back. Then I was again taken to the detention center with threats, cursing words and humiliations. There I was again mistreated. They said that we were detained because we had rejected to show them our identification documents. They mocked and cursed us, saying “we do whatever we want to” , then they put us in rooms. F.A said.
F.A. said that he was taken to a room to sign the arrest warrant report of the charges that he never committed. They had a paper with them written nonsense charges on it and forced me to sign it, I rejected it. They tried to get us to sign the documents in order to cover their injustice they did. I did not sign it, on this, the polices in charge of custody went on insulting me and my family.
A TORTURE CONTAINER IN THE GARDEN OF THE MARDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT
Thereupon, a police officer who was called Ahmet and another police officer in charge of custody took him to the containers in the yard of the security building. F.A. continued explaining the horror he lived in there. He said, they forced me to sign a document, they said if I reject signing it, they will rape me, go after my family and harm them. I told them that I was brought to here for nothing, not for a reason or for a crime that I committed. Claiming otherwise, they accused me of terrorism acts, when I told them that I would no way to sign the paper, the long-haired policeman, Ahmet said that if I did not he would rape me, take me to another place, torture and rape there, then he would write a warrant, arrest me and harm my family.”
I WILL KILL YOU AND DISPOSE YOU
F.A. noted that he did not sign the report and was beaten there. He said “I refused to sign again because I was afraid that I would be end up in jail as innocent man. I refused again because I was going to subject to harsh torture” over this, Ahmet started to kick and slap me heavily. No matter how much I begged, he said it is too late. Whether you sign it or not, anyway I am going to rape you here and beat the hell out of you, we have everything about you, and I’ll kill you here and throw you in the trash. He continued threating and insulting me again.
I STARTED CRYING
He added that he overheard a dialogue between Ahmet and the other police in charge of the custody saying that “We will rape and torture like we did to others.” Then he turned me and said you were a man, right? Now you will be no longer a male!. I know what I am going to do you and they started doing what they said. One of the police who came later, said to Ahmet , it is hospital time, let’s take him to the hospital and then you can carry our torture and rape. Ahmet, I do enjoy, I haven’t done it in a long time, so I want to do it now. Other friends said, “okay, start”. Then he gave me orders and told me to obey my orders. I could not say anything out of fear. I was so scared that I couldn’t do anything. When I started trembling, he battered me. After beating me, he asked for baton from his friend, he beat me with that baton and then asked for a soda bottle from his friend. He said “first, I am going to take it slowly, and then will do baton show” , his friend said, “ now it is dirty, his feces will make here dirty” the other said, okey then. Let me beat him now, then we will bring those stuff and rape him.
HE ABUSED ME WITH HIS BATON
Further, F.A. said, Ahmet ordered him to pull down his pants and recalled the torture the faced. He said, Ahmet started touch my body with his baton. I started crying for embarrassment and fear. Then he got me sit on the chair. He hit my genitals. No matter how hard I tried to close my legs, he would order me to leave it wide open. I was trying to prevent him but unable to do so. Ahmet ordered me to stand on my toes stretching my hands wide on the wall. His friend told him “you mean old method” Ahmet said “yes, let his muscles got tired, I would beat him as I like, so there would be no bruises left.” While he was having conversation with his friends, he would hit my body with his baton at the same time. I already in burst of tears of embarrassment and fear. I almost stand on my toes cross the wall ten minutes. He said, “you are now tired now, right, should I start “ he would go on using such terrifying words. He beat me thoroughly then.
POLICEMEN WHO TORTURED ME COME TO HOSPITAL
F.A. said that the torture ended when the second police officer announced that it is over due to the treatment session. F.A. said he was threated not to tell anybody what happened to him. He said “ be relaxed now, no matter what you do , you won’t be free, if anybody knows about this. I will say he insulted state leaders, cursed Recep Tayyip Erdogan, or Mustafa Kemal Attaturk. I will arrange four officers who can testify against you, then you will stay here a lot more, I will extend your detention period. I will treat you very badly, do more torture. Then Ahmet came to hospital with us, he would not normally come to hospital. He came because he wanted to make sure I won’t talk to doctors. I couldn’t tell anything to the doctors out of fear nor got health report but I explained everything to my lawyer, now I will go ahead filing a criminal complaint.
Abducted political science graduate Tunç’s wife: “The police are asking me where my husband is”
Political science graduate Yusuf Bilge Tunc was abducted about 3 years after his discharge with the Decree-Law. His wife told about what her family had been through, the information she could reach and the latest news.
BOLD – It was learned that the “search warrant” was dismissed shortly before the abduction of discharged Yusuf Bilge Tunc who is the latest victim of mysterious abductions. Tunc’s wife reacted to the investigation process: “The police are asking us the questions that they need to answer.”
Yusuf Bilge Tunc is a successful graduate from one of Turkey’s most important faculties which is the Faculty of Political Sciences in Ankara University which is also known as “Mulkiye.” After completing his education in Mulkiye, he started to work as a Financial Services Specialist at the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries.
DISCHARGED BY THE DECREE LAW (KHK)
During the state of emergency, Tunc was first suspended on the grounds of “connection and liaison and then discharged with the Decree-Law. Tunc has three children, who are 10, 6 and 2.5 years old.
Tunc who was selling cardboard cups and plastic packaging to maintain his family was abducted on August 6, 2019. With Tunc, who is the last victim of the Black Transporter abductions, the number of people abducted has increased to 29 in the banishment process which is to be a most serious human rights violation.
IS THE SEARCH WARRANT DISMISSED?
A search warrant was issued for Tunç in April 2017 and his address was searched several times. However, after his abduction, his family’s applications showed that there was no search warrant for him in the police records. It is considered that Tunc’s search warrant was abolished before his abduction.
Tunc’s family tries to make their voices heard through social media and on the other hand, their legal struggle continues.
Yusuf Bilge Tunc’s abandoned vehicle.
“THE POLICE ARE ASKING ME WHERE MY ABDUCTED HUSBAND IS”
According to Yusuf Bilge Tunc’s wife, who says she has no idea why he was abducted, there is only one possibility the torture or a person’s statements in police inquiry about his husband to save himself. Describing that her husband struggled to maintain his family, Wife Tunc explained the process they had experienced starting from 15 July:
Last time I talked with my husband on the 6th of August morning. He would go to order delivery. I haven’t heard from him since then. The police tried to convince us he might have gone. But my husband never goes anywhere without telling us. Moreover, he would never do that without telling his sick parents. We found his car abandoned after his abduction. We’re sure he was kidnapped.
“A police called yesterday. He asked me where my husband was. A letter from the Prosecutor’s Office had come to the police, and they asked my husband to me. They asked if his car was found! Nonetheless, we wrote everything in the petition. I told him that we had found the car, that we had already reported it to the police, that the police had not investigated it, that they did not send crime scene investigation team, and that they were not interested at all by saying ‘wait for your husband at the car for his possible arrival’. They are asking us ridiculously about the things that we have already informed the prosecutor’s office and we have already made a complaint.”
“MY HUSBAND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NEITHER THE 15 JULY NOR THE COUP”
Expressing that his husband had nothing to do with the coup or any crime, Tunc explained his experiences during and after the state of emergency starting from 15 July:
“I was pregnant during the 15th of July. My husband’s brother has illnesses, my husband went to visit his brother on July 15th. In the evening, he returned home. We were in fear, we were sitting in Balgat in Ankara, we heard the sounds of all the bombs and we spent that night in fear.
Then my husband was first suspended and then discharged with a decree-law. I had also had leave without pay because of the distressed pregnancy. My wife started to sell wholesale cardboard cups to support the house. Then it moved to the sale of packaging products. We were living that way.
“In April 2017, the police went to our address in Adana. We found out about the search warrant. He didn’t go and surrender. I was on leave without pay. He said: I have three children to be cared for. My husband felt compelled to maintain his family, so he did not want to go and surrender. In those days, there were also reports of torture and torture in custody and prison. And I didn’t want him to go through that atmosphere and face those treatments.”
“We had heard about the incidents of other abductions, but we never expected such a thing would happen to us”
Stating that she heard the news about the abduction of the people who were discharged with decree-law, Tunc states that there is no reason for her husband to be abducted and that they never expected such thing would happen to them:
“We had heard about the incidents of other abductions, but we never expected such a thing would happen to us. There was no reason to abduct my husband. After the search warrant, we did not think of going abroad. We didn’t take such a step because of the possibility of bad things that could happen to our children on the way and for many other different reasons.
My husband had nothing to do with the coup, the soldiers or anything about July 15. One hundred percent I believe it.
After July 15, some told things that were not real and some people described their close friend as a terrorist in police inquiries. Probably some people mentioned my husband’s name in their testimony by slandering or they were under torture to give a name. My husband’s name was probably in somewhere. I believe in the possibility that he might have been kidnapped for one of these reasons. I can’t think of another possibility.”
“I WILL SEARCH MY HUSBAND ALL THE WAY AND I AM GOING TO FIND HIM”
Tunc says that they will continue the legal struggle to find her husband and that they will never let go of the incident:
“We don’t do anything illegal. We do nothing to harm people. Such things neither go through our minds nor can we pour into action. After his point, we will do whatever we can under the law. I will search my husband all the way and I am going to find him.
We want my husband and the other abducted people to be found as soon as possible. I don’t know the abducted people before, but I think they’re not bad people, they’re innocent. These people are unlawfully kidnapped, forced to sign something. Under torture, they are forced to sign statements, crimes they do not commit. I do not understand the continuity of this evil in our country.”
ABDUCTED 29 PEOPLE AND THEIR NAMES
- Sunay Elmas (27 January 2016)
- Ayhan Oran (1 November 2016)
- Mustafa Ozgür Gultekin (21 December 2016)
- Durmuş Ali Cetin (17 May 2017)
- Hüseyin Kotuce (28 February 2017)
- Mesut Gecer (26 March 2017)
- Turgut Capan (31 March 2017)
- Onder Asan (April 1, 2017)
- Cengiz Usta (4 April 2017)
- Mustafa Ozben (9 May 2017)
- Fatih Kilic (14 May 2017)
- Cemil Kocak (5 June 2017)
- Murat Okumus (16 June 2017)
- Enver Kilic (30 September 2017)
- Zabit Kisi (30 September 2017)
- Hidır Celik (6 December 2017)
- Umit Horzum (6 December 2017)
- Ayten Ozturk (13 March 2018)
- Orcun Senyucel (21 April 2018)
- Hasan Kala (20 July 2018)
- Fahri Mert (12 August 2018)
- Ahmet Erturk (16 November 2018)
PERSONS ABDUCTED AFTER FEBRUARY 2019 AND DATES:
- Gokhan Turkmen (7 February 2019)
- Yasin Ugan (12 February 2019)
- Ozgur Kaya (12 February 2019)
- Erkan Irmak (16 February 2019)
- Mustafa Yilmaz (18 February 2019)
- Salim Zeybek (20 February 2019)
- Yusuf Bilge Tunc (6 August 2019)