Urfa Antiterror Police: SADAT’s 40-person unit targeted HDP
A police officer in the Urfa Antiterror Unit stated that a 40-person SADAT unit, including 4 prosecutors, has been stationed in the city and this unit under the Presidency and the Interior Ministry has tortured countless people and targeted HDP members.
As human rights violations increase throughout Turkey after the State of Emergency declared on the excuse of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, detained and arrested individuals have been subjected to torture in several provinces. Urfa is one of the cities with the most cases of torture, and hundreds out of the thousands of people who have been detained have voiced such allegations.
Defense attorneys said they can’t see any advance in the charges they pressed regarding the torture allegations and added that there is a structure above the law in the region. Police sources said a secret investigation had been launched on the Interior Ministry’s orders when it came to light that the explosive laden vehicles used in attacks in Istanbul, Besiktas and Kayseri which TAK assumed responsibility for on December 10 and 17, 2016 had come from Urfa, and alleged that there had been several changes in the police structure as a result of this investigation.
SPECIALLY TRAINED UNIT OF 40 PEOPLE STATIONED IN URFA
According to a police officer stationed in the Urfa Antiterror Unit at the time, a unit of 40 people including 4 prosecutors were stationed in Urfa because the vehicles used in attacks in Besiktas and Kayseri took off from Urfa and that the Antiterror Unit and police intelligence did not work well enough in this sense.
This unit was kept secret and used aliases instead of their real names, according to the officer, who said: “A parallel structure was formed within the Urfa police force. None of the 40 people in this unit were from law enforcement. They are not police, or soldiers. This is a unit trained only for special operations.”
“STATIONED IN CITY CENTERS”
The police officer said this structure is made up of persons who were stationed in Kurdistan’s provinces and had participated in counter activity in the past, and that the unit is currently under the International Defense Consultancy Corp. (SADAT) led by Erdogan’s Chief Security Advisor Adnan Tanriverdi.
The officer said the unit uses city and district centers as their base instead of rural areas or villages, and added that members of the unit stay in special houses under the police force, in the villas along the TOKI road in the Mashuk neighborhood, the TOKI housing near the Evren Industrial Zone in the Eyubiye district and police lodgings.
“NOBODY HAS AUTHORITY OVER THIS UNIT”
The officer said the structure acts under the Presidency and the Interior Ministry and added: “This structure is directly under the Presidency and the Interior Ministry. They act in predetermined groups. Their activity areas are separated as against Gulenists and PKK members. They have no responsibility in their task area. They have full authority to act arbitrarily and use any and all means of torture and similar interrogation tactics. The police directorate has no authority over this unit. They act above all members of the police. This structure is a variant of JITEM, but it is not clear whether they have a name.”
JUDICIAL ARM OF THE UNIT
The police officer named specially authorized prosecutors Rusen Gunes, Selman Eskiler and Fatih Cakir as part of the 40-person unit: “These prosecutors don’t take on routine investigations in Urfa. They only intervene with critical names in organized cases and deal with the judicial aspects of this unit’s efforts.”
The officer said there are 15 people in the unit who are tasked with interrogations that include torture within the police force in the last two years, and added that this unit, proficient in all torture methods, have tortured dozens of people to get them to testify against HDP administrators and members.
“They caused the arrest of hundreds of people during the State of Emergency,” said the officer and continued: “Dozens of young people detained in Urfa’s Viransehir, Suruc, Halfeti, Bozova, Siverek and Hilvan districts were tortured for days to testify against HDP members and administrators. These testimonies taken under torture were taken in by the prosecutors and dozens of HDP members were detained. Most of these people are still under arrest.”