A suspect on trial for the extrajudicial murders of 19 people in the 1990s was gunned down at a restaurant in Istanbul's Kadıköy, Demirören News Agency reported on Dec. 21.
Former special operations police officer Ziya Bandırmalıoğlu was killed when a gunfight erupted at the restaurant between two groups. In addition to Bandırmalıoğlu, former police officer Şahin Aslan was killed and three others were wounded, the agency said.
Seven people were detained after the incident and police were searching for two people.
Bandırmalıoğlu was among the 19 suspects being tried in the case alongside former interior minister and police chief Mehmet Ağar and former intelligence official Korkut Eken.
The victims in the case are listed as Namık Erdoğan, Metin Vural, Recep Kuzucu, Behçet Cantürk, Savaş Buldan, Hacı Karay, Adnan Yıldırım, İsmail Karaalioğlu, Yusuf Ekinci, Ömer Lütfi Topal, Hikmet Babataş, Medet Serhat, Feyzi Aslan, Lazem Esmaeılı, Asker Smıtko. Tarık Ümit, Salih Aslan and Faik Candan.
The 1990s was a decade marred by extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and various other human rights abuses at the hands of the state. Ağar and Eken, two shady figures, were at the center of these practices.
In addition to the extrajudicial killings case, Bandırmalıoğlu is known for being convicted in the Susurluk case of 1996.
The Susurluk Scandal erupted with a car crash on Nov. 3, 1996 in the northwestern province of Balıkesir. It revealed the close relationship between the government, security forces and organized crime centered around Ağar.
Those who died in the accident included Abdullah Çatlı, a far-right deep state agent who was responsible for countless crimes and murders of leftists and who was supposedly sought by authorities. A deputy and a police chief were also in the car.
The documents in the car showed Çatlı was protected by then-Interior Minister Ağar, who provided the criminal with a fake ID and a gun. There were also weapons to be used in assassinations belonging to police in the car that were recorded as "missing" in the state inventory, adding to the scandal.
The trial into the Susurluk scandal began in 1997. Bandırmalıoğlu, who was dismissed from the police force, was convicted of "deliberate murder" and "forming an armed organization" alongside other crimes.