World Bulletin/News Desk
Former police chief and politician Mehmet Ağar was released on one-year monitored probation on Monday after serving a year in prison on charges of establishing a criminal organization in a trial concerning a car accident in 1996 that exposed links between the state, the criminal underworld and the security forces.
Ağar, who served as a national police chief shortly before the incident, was standing trial for his role in an unlikely arrangement the crash exposed between a famous mafia boss, a member of the security forces and a politician. The prosecutor who charged him argued that Ağar had established an organization for the purpose of committing crimes.
The Ankara 11th High Criminal Court handed the former police chief a five-year sentence in September 2011, which was later reduced to three years, nine months. Ağar was sent to Aydın Prison in late April 2012. On Monday, Ağar was released on probation. Now, the Aydın Public Prosecutor's Office will determine whether Ağar will complete community service during his probation period or will be obligated to appear at police stations and sign in at regular intervals.
Regarding the release of Ağar, the Ministry of Justice released a written statement on Monday, stating that Ağar was not completely released, but he will serve the last one year of his sentence in an open prison.
The Susurluk case is one of the major turning points in the history of Turkey. In 1996, Hüseyin Kocadağ, a former police chief; Sedat Bucak, a southeastern clan leader whose men were armed by the state to fight separatist violence; and Abdullah Çatlı, an internationally wanted mafia boss, were involved in an accident near the small township of Susurluk while riding in the same car. Kocadağ, Çatlı and his girlfriend, a former model, were all killed in the accident. No significant arrests followed from the ensuing investigation, which for the first time in modern Turkish history exposed a gang with links to the state.
In February 2008, charges were filed against Ağar for “establishing an armed organization for the purpose of committing crimes, failing to inform authorities of the whereabouts of a suspect, aiding and abetting, granting firearms licenses to Çatlı and Yaşar Öz in violation of the law, ensuring the granting of senior public servant passports to Çatlı and Öz in contravention of the law and dereliction of gubernatorial duty.”
Ağar, who served as governor of Erzurum from 1992-1993, was appointed by then-Prime Minister Tansu Çiller as head of the National Police Department in 1993. He was the interior minister of the Çiller-led coalition government in 1996 until he was forced to resign after the Susurluk scandal. Ağar was elected to Parliament in 2002, which granted him parliamentary immunity until July 22, 2007, when the party he led, the Democrat Party (DP), failed to make it over the election threshold.
Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2013, 09:45