Turkish authorities detain four high-ranked police officers in investigation of crime syndicate

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office announced that a police commissioner and three more civilians were detained in connection with the investigation of organized crime syndicate leader Ayhan Bora Kaplan. In total, eight new people, four of them high-level police officers, have been detained in recent days.

Duvar English

Turkish authorities on May 15 detained one police commissioner and three more civilians in the investigation launched against organized crime syndicate leader Ayhan Bora Kaplan.

The trial of 61 defendants has been continuing at an Ankara High Criminal Court within the scope of the investigation against Kaplan's criminal syndicate which reportedly was close to former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and various high-level police officers.

Interior Ministry last week suspended Ankara Deputy Police Chief Murat Çelik, Organized Branch Director Kerem Gökay Öner, Assistant Director Şevket Demircan, and Commissioner Ufuk Gültekin, who were in charge of the Ayhan Bora Kaplan operation, after allegations against them for meeting with Kaplan’s lawyer 

Çelik, Demircan and Gültekin were the three who detained Kaplan on Sept. 7, 2023.

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office initiated an ex officio investigation on the allegations of "conspiracy to commit a crime,” "attempt to influence fair trial and witnesses,” "abuse of office" and "favoring the guilty.” 

Within the scope of the investigation, the residences of three police chiefs and a police commissioner were searched and some digital materials were seized. After the initial detention of three police chiefs, commissioner Gültekin was also detained on May 15.

Thus, the number of recent detentions increased to eight.

What happened?

Journalists close to the government voiced allegations of a plot against the government through the investigation launched against the organized crime organization.

Serdar Sertçelik, who was accused of being the crime syndicate’s executive manager in the same investigation and fled abroad, told journalist Erk Acarer that he was a secret witness in the investigation. He was able to flee under house arrest. He also said that the people who helped him to flee were police officers from the Ankara Security Directorate.

Sertçelik later said he was forced to give statement when he was a secret witness about former Justice Ministers Bekir Bozdağ and Abdulhamit Gül, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, Süleyman Soylu, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's chief of staff Hasan Doğan, one of Erdoğan’s advisors Mücahit Aslan and former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's cousin Sadık Soylu.

He also claimed that the Ankara Security Directorate had carried out a “coup attempt against the Justice and Development Party.”

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya on Oct. 12, 2023 confirmed that nine police officers were suspended from their posts within the scope of the investigation against the mafia boss.

It is reported that the police officers held critical positions during former Minister Soylu’s ministerial tenure.