Sadık Güleç/ DUVAR
A person with the initials İÖ initially became known among the public for filing criminal complaints against people appearing on television debate programs. Those initials kept appearing on complaint petitions. When we started to follow the story of this volunteer complainant, we discovered that during the 1990s, İÖ worked as a police informant from within the banned leftist militant Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).
We also saw that İÖ had appeared as a witness in many trials involving the DHKP-C and what the government calls the “Fethuallist Terror Organization” (FETÖ), the followers of the exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who the government blames for the July 2016 coup attempt. İÖ wasn’t just acting as an informant by watching television programs. He has been an informant since he was a child, and he has even filed complaints against his own father and uncle, among others. He claims to have provided testimony in the trials of 150 DHKP-C suspects.
Earlier this month, Ayça Söylemez from the news outlet Bianet published a detailed report involving the complaints made by İÖ solely against people he watched on television. These include the famous singers Sezen Aksu, Tarkan and Gülben Ergen, as well as former pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Hasip Kaplan. He even filed a criminal complaint against a book that he had not even read after seeing the writer appear on a television program. He not only files complaints to prosecutors, he petitions Turkey’s broadcast watchdog the Supreme Radio and Television Council (RTÜK) regarding programs he finds inappropriate. He has sent petitions to every prison warden regarding the opposition Halk TV channel, requesting that it not be allowed in prisons on the basis that it is in conflict with the interests of the state.
Who is this informant İÖ? Why does he do this kind of work? According to a criminal petition that he filed with the Ministry of Justice, he said that he has been a state informant since he was 12 years old. When we look at İÖ’s past, we see that he was not lying.
İÖ was born in the poor Istanbul neighborhood of Gültepe in 1983. Prior to the 1980 military coup, Dev-Sol, the precursor to the DHKP-C, was very active in Gültepe and the neighboring Nurtepe quarter. Apart from leftist organizations, there was drug use, child thieves, and neighborhood gangs. In this sort of atmosphere, he began his activities even as the child of a leftist family. According to another petition, he began his duties for the Istanbul police intelligence department in 1995, and was given a fixed telephone number at which he could be contacted. The number was used at telephone booths to connect to intelligence officials.
Among the most surprising of the statements he has given and the petitions he has written is the one about his own father. According to his own explanation, because of his family, he grew up in a leftist environment. While still a child, he joined demonstrations and press conferences in the mid-1990s. He claimed that his father was a member of the DHKP-C around that time, and was successful in having his father and uncle taken into custody. In 2011, he requested to have his father’s name removed from the relevant section of his identity card.
He claims to have worked for the police between 1995 and 2005, but was also involved involved in small-scale crimes including theft and physical injury. While testifying in a trial regarding claims that ‘FETÖ’ police had infiltrated the DHKP-C with a ‘chaos team’, İÖ said the following:
“I’ve been in jail since 2007. In 1995 I was taken from the street by three police officers and put on duty as the DHKP-C informant in the Seyrantepe area. During my duties I presented reports on Seyrantepe.”
However, after being caught for stealing a car, it turned out that he was tagged as having attended certain political demonstrations. According to lawyers following the trials, the police department’s theft bureau informed the anti-terrorism bureau about this, and it was at this point that İÖ began to work for the intelligence department. In his statement, İÖ said that he used to be a part of the ‘militia’ unit of the DHKP-C neighborhood organization.
In İÖ’s petitions and statements from this period, it is impossible to determine what is real, what is an exaggeration, and what is a lie. We do know that there were numerous incidents of bodily harm, robbery and theft. As an outcome of these trials, he has been in prison since 2007. But it is known that he had been arrested many times previous to that.
“He was a witness in 141 DHKP-C cases, as well as in a number of FETÖ trials. İÖ has declared that he worked as an intelligence informant in the organization between 1995 and 2005. But the criminal date in this file pertains to 2013 and later. Furthermore, this person was involved in robberies at gunpoint, kidnappings, and knife attacks and during this ten-year period, there were only 2-3 months where he was not either in prison or in the military. How was he able to work at a high level in an organization for this long?” said lawyer Several Ballıkaya.
Some of the police officers that İÖ was connected with are fugitives, while others have been arrested and are being tried on FETÖ-related charges. According to Ballıkaya, İÖ was a witness at so many trials, he began to forget which one was which. In his petitions and defense statements, İÖ said that his mental health was not good, and it is known that for this reason he was sent from jail to hospitals on several occasions.
İÖ was among the most important witnesses in a trial that followed a 2013 operation against the DHKP-C in which he provided several names. He claimed that there were “chaos teams” that were formed by the police within the organization for the purpose of creating chaos in the country by sparking skirmishes based on Sunni-Alevi, Turkish-Kurdish, left-right, and religious-secular divides.
A number of former police officers including former Istanbul police chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer, believed to be a follower of Gülen, are currently being tried on the basis that FETÖ and DHKP-C collaborated to create these chaos teams. According to certain claims, Yılmazer was aware of the fact that police provided DHKP-C members with a map and outline sketch of then-PM and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s home in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district. After the militants were caught with this information in hand, Erdoğan reportedly changed his entire bodyguard squad.
However, by the time that İÖ had provided his statements in 2013, he had been in prison for seven years. According to Ballıkaya, solely based on İÖ’s testimony regarding DHKP-C suspects, hundreds of people are currently in prison. Furthermore, İÖ himself was just given another prison sentence in a case two months ago based on charges of membership in the DHKP-C, but Ballıkaya added that the Supreme Court will not hand prison sentences to people working as informants.
“He worked as an informant. He prepared documents and received money. Also, there is a document indicating that his position as an informant was terminated. The reason for this was based on his unstable behavior,” Ballıkaya said.
Lawyer Efkan Bolaç was astonished to find out that the person who filed a criminal complaint against him based on his appearance on a television program did so from behind bars. Bolaç ended up receiving a three-year prison sentence on terror propaganda charges. İÖ’s testimony also resulted in former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) youth-wing member Nazim Şafak Korkmaz receiving a 23-year prison sentence on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.
As for İÖ, he remains in prison, continuing to file complaints to the Presidential Directorate of Communications (CİMER) based on the television programs he watches.