News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
According a new report from ANF, testimony revealed in the course of the ongoing trial over human rights abuses committed by members of JİTEM – Jandarma Intelligence and Anti-Terror -states that the organization still has around 10,000 individuals working under its command. JİTEM is a formerly secret organization whose existence was only admitted in the late 1990’s, and is suspected of disappearances, assassinations, narcotics smuggling and weapons trafficking – among other things – related to its involvement in ongoing conflict between the PKK and the Turkish State.
The source of the testimony, retired colonel Arif Doğan, told a different court in Istanbul that “there are no soldiers and informants in JİTEM. But there are both soldiers and informants within Jandarma Intelligence Group Command and Jandarma Intelligence and Anti-Terror Group Command. There were no benefits obtained from informants practically, but rather theoretically. After the 1990’s JİTEM was left to languish. However even now JİTEM has a staff of 10,000, and 5 archival officers.” Doğan’s testimony was read by the presiding judge, Bekir Söykürt of Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court, where the JİTEM trial is currently taking place.
Arif Doğan, who had originally given his testimony to the Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court in a different trial, is reported to have told the judges that he was generally responsible for selecting JİTEM staff, saying “I selected JİTEM staff from thorıugh Turkey. There were 10,000 males, 650 women, 20 doctors and 30 nurses. Their assigned directive covered the whole of Turkey. I knew things about these people that no one else knew. For example there was someone named Ibrahim Babat but with the codename Hacı Hasan in the Syrian city of Qamişlo. He was a well known commissioner in the primary mobile union. He fled from the PKK’s AGİT unit and become an informant. there are no soldiers and informants in JİTEM. But there are both soldiers and informants within Jandarma Intelligence Group Command and Jandarma Intelligence and Anti-Terror Group Command. There were no benefits obtained from informants practically, but rather theoretically. After the 1990’s JİTEM was left to languish. However even now JİTEM has a staff of 10,000, and 5 archival officers. There are 10 thousand peoples’ codenames in the archive. I know information concerning the commission of predicate offenses by people named in the indictment. It is possible that among them are people that have come across me before. Fethi Çetin, whose name is included in the indictment, is a hero of intelligence. In one event he eliminated a PKK militant at the cost of his own life. Another of the accused, Ali Ozansoy, became a primary-school teacher and familiarized us with the PKK. He was a very intelligent individual and now as far as I know he works with the security services. He got my permission and left JİTEM. In the event that I am asked by the court concerning someone I know I can give that information. What I know consists of this.”
Tahir Elçi, one of the trial lawyers and the President of Diyarbakir Bar Association, has requested that the murder trial of the notable Kurdish activist Musa Anter – currently taking place in Diyarbakir 7th High Criminal Court- be joined with the JİTEM Trial.
The trail currently includes 16 defendants, including Abdülkadir Aygan – the famous former PKK member turned JİTEM informant – on charges of, among other things, murder, sabotage and bombing attacks in Amed (Diyarbakir), Mardin, Batman and Şırnak. Aygan himself is accused of forming an organization with the intention of taking part in criminal activities and murder. The crimes carry a sentence of between 15 years and life.