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Erdoğan’s personal lawyer vouched for al-Qaeda leader killed in Syria by US

Abdullah Bozkurt/Stockholm

Mustafa Doğan İnal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s personal lawyer, criticized the police crackdown on a murderous al-Qaeda group in 2007 in an opinion piece he wrote for a jihadist publication, learned NordicMonitor.

İnal’s attempt to discredit the operation came after police, acting under the orders of a prosecutor, arrested 50 suspects and executed search and seizure warrants at their offices and residences amid the crackdown Al-Qaeda cells in five provinces. He claimed there was no evidence of terrorism and the case was bogus.

The January 29, 2007 detentions came after a year and a half of monitoring the suspects, some of whom were known jihadists with ties to the leadership of al-Qaeda, and others who had traveled to Afghanistan to train.

One of the main targets of the operation was a man named Haydar Kırkan, also known as Abu-Basher al-Turki or Abu Hani, a senior member of a Turkish al-Qaeda group who rose to prominence after the 2003 Istanbul bombings of two synagogues. , a branch of HSBC Bank and the British Consulate General, and a 2008 attack on the US Consulate General in Istanbul. The attacks, carried out jointly by al-Qaeda and the Turkish jihadist group The Islamic Great East Raiders/Front (İslami Büyükdoğu Akıncılar Cephesi in Turkish, IBDA/C), left dozens dead.

According to police records, Kırkan’s al-Qaeda commander, Erkem Kozakoğlu, also a Turk, had traveled abroad several times to speak with al-Qaeda leaders, particularly Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, and had received instructions on how to coordinate the cells in Turkey. His contact with the al-Qaeda leadership continued after al-Zarqawi was killed in a targeted attack by US forces.

Mustafa Doğan İnal’s article in the jihadist publication HakSöz:

Hakyol_Mustafa_Inal_article_al_Qaeda

Kozakoğlu’s deputy and right-hand man is also a Turk identified as İhsan Dedemoğlu, who was in charge of indoctrination and training. A document retrieved from his computer revealed al-Qaeda instructions on how to avoid surveillance, while another explained how to use firearms, carry concealed weapons and conduct counter-intelligence operations . The documents also contained details of secret communications such as the use of cell phones that would have to be obtained with fake IDs. None of the suspects had actually registered their phone in their name.

Police also discovered that Dedemoğlu, also known as Yusuf under an assumed name, had received 3,000 euros from a man in Tunisia for financing terrorist operations. Another associate, Muharrem Gökgöz, owned an unlicensed police scanner/transmitter, an electronic device banned in Turkey. A review of the device indicated that it could be used to detonate a bomb remotely or to access bandwidths used exclusively by Konya Provincial Police and the Prime Minister’s Protective Service. Gökgöz also traveled abroad for jihadist fights.

Advancing to various positions within the al-Qaeda network as a trusted member, Kırkan was eventually promoted to external operations planner for the terrorist group, covering Turkey, Europe and Syria. The Pentagon has confirmed that Kırkan, 36, was killed in a US drone strike in Syria’s Idlib province on October 17, 2016.

Cover of the issue of HakSöz which featured the article by the Turkish President’s lawyer who defended members of Al-Qaeda.

However, according to İnal, the president’s lawyer, who wrote for HakSöz, a monthly magazine published by Islamists in Turkey, in the November 2007 issue, the prosecutor had no case against Kırkan or any of his associates. . He claimed that police placed evidence on a computer belonging to suspect Gökgöz that told how to make a bomb. He also incorrectly alleged that no weapons were seized when in fact police found handguns, rifles and ammunition in multiple locations.

Police intelligence against Kırkan and his associates, however, showed that they were at the planning stage of two bombings in Istanbul and Konya provinces. The plot in Konya targeted a hotel where US citizens were staying and was given the green light by al-Qaeda leaders. Fearing a repeat of the deadly 2003 attack, the police wanted to suppress the group before it managed to carry out the terrorist attacks.

Another plot uncovered during an examination of the seized material was a bomb attack targeting the Eczacıbaşı Monrol factory, a facility that manufactures nuclear medical products in the Gebze industrial zone, which houses some 5,000 workers. The plan was to set fire to the factory and leak radioactive material into a nearby area to increase the death toll.

One of the raids took place in an al-Qaeda-run madrasa in the basement of a villa for around 30 children aged 7 to 14. During a search of the madrasa, the police found handguns and rifles used in the training of children. The villa belonged to Memiş Varlı, a suspect in the 2003 Al-Qaeda attacks.

Excerpts from the court ruling that convicted the al-Qaeda suspects defended in an article by the Turkish President’s lawyer, Mustafa Doğan İnal:

court_ruling_convictions_Kirkan_associates

Police found CDs and video tapes showing public buildings identified as possible targets by al-Qaeda as well as training videos showing how to use weapons and explosives. A separate document contained a list of names including businessmen, authors, journalists, politicians and police and military officers who were marked for assassination.

Of 55 people detained during a police sweep, 45 suspects were formally arrested by the court on arraignment. In a follow-up operation, police also arrested another suspect identified only by the initials AB, who had received training in explosives and bomb-making in Syria.

The suspects were charged on June 15, 2007 by a prosecutor in Adana, home of Incirlik Air Base, where US and NATO allied troops were deployed. The case was assigned to the 8th High Criminal Court in Adana.

Kırkan, who faced two outstanding arrest warrants in Adana and Konya provinces, remained at large for almost a year. When he finally appeared for the second hearing of the case on January 2, 2018, the court surprisingly did not order his arrest and let him go after hearing his defense statement. His release gave rise to speculation that Kırkan and his associates were protected by Erdoğan’s Islamist government, sympathetic to al-Qaeda ideology.

After his release, Kırkan traveled to Afghanistan to join his brothers there, skipping follow-up hearings in the case against him, and traveled to Syria in 2011 after the civil war began. He took the name Abu Kutayba all-Turki in Syria and fought for al-Qaeda until his death in a US drone strike.

Two synagogues were targeted in what is widely believed to be Al-Qaeda-backed suicide bombings on November 15, 2003 in Istanbul.

Despite the suspects’ claims, the court in Adana convicted Kırkan’s associates Dedemoğlu and Gökgöz, and sentenced them to six years and three months for membership in the terrorist group al-Qaeda. The convictions were also upheld on regional appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal (Yargıtay).

İnal’s article that exonerates Kırkan and other al-Qaeda members is not the only indication that the Turkish president’s personal lawyer sympathizes with al-Qaeda. Besides representing Erdoğan and his family members as a lawyer, İnal also represented controversial Saudi businessman Yasin Al-Qadi, a close friend of Erdoğan who for years was listed as a financier. al-Qaeda by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee and the US Treasury.

İnal also orchestrated the acquittal of the 52 suspects in the Tahşiyeciler case, a radical Turkish al-Qaeda-linked group led by radical cleric Mehmet Doğan (aka Mullah Muhammed), who openly declared his admiration for Osama bin Laden and called for armed jihad. in Turkey.

Erdoğan vigorously defended this indicted cleric, helping him to be acquitted by his loyalist judges and prosecutors when he was arrested and tried; imprisoned journalists who criticized his radical group; and even launched a civil action in the United States against Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen for defaming the fanatic. The legal regime of all this was handled by İnal and his team.

İnal has appeared on pro-government television networks attempting to portray Tahşiyeciler members as victims of defamation, although the military, intelligence services and law enforcement reported the group in early 2000 as dangerous and favorable to al-Qaeda.

Mustafa Dogan Inal

Turkey first heard of Doğan and Tahşiyeciler on January 22, 2010, when police raided the homes and offices of dozens of people across Turkey as part of an anti-al- Qaeda. Police discovered three hand grenades, one smoke grenade, seven handguns, 18 shotguns, electronic explosives, knives and a large ammunition cache at the suspects’ home.

The investigation revealed that the terrorist group had sent nearly 100 people to Afghanistan for weapons training. In the seized recordings, Doğan was heard calling for violent jihad: “I tell you to take your weapons and kill them. He also asked his followers to build bombs and mortars in their homes, urged the beheading of Americans, saying religion allows such practices. “If the sword is not used, then it is not Islam,” he said. According to Doğan, all Muslims were obliged to respond to the armed struggle of Osama bin Laden, then leader of al-Qaeda.

Turkey’s crackdown on al-Qaeda groups was hit hard when corruption cases in December 2013 involving plans to circumvent sanctions against Iran incriminated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his business and political associates. Erdoğan launched a major overhaul of the police and judiciary, reassigning investigators who were investigating corruption as well as al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups.

Newly appointed prosecutors and police chiefs terminated corruption investigations and suspended all ongoing investigations into al-Qaeda groups from February 2014 at the request of the Erdoğan government. Many police chiefs, prosecutors and judges who have been implicated in Al-Qaeda cases have been purged and/or imprisoned on bogus charges.