‘Deep state’ costs former Turkish minister 5 years in jail

ISTANBUL – The former Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs, Mehmet Agar, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment by a Turkish court for involvement in the ‘Susurluk scandal’. In this scandal of the mid-nineties, the connections between the government, armed forces and organized crime, also known as the ‘deep state’, first became evident.

Agar was convicted for ‘establishing an armed organisation to commit crimes’. The scandal is named after ‘Susurluk’, a town in WestTurkey, where in November 1996 a car accident took place, in which a high-ranking police officer, an ultra-nationalist murderer and a MP were involved. The conspiracy was aimed at eliminating the Kurdish separatist movement PKK and killing its leader Öcalan. Mehmet Agar was, as Minister of Internal Affairs, in charge of the secret operation.

Agar resigned after the scandal, but later returned to parliament as the leader of a political party. It protected him against prosecution: Turkish MP’s can’t be prosecuted. Since 2007 he is not in parliament anymore and a court case could be opened. He is the first highly placed official to be charged for involvement in  the Susurluk Scandal.

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