ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The secret Ergenekon network assassinated a pro-Kurdish police chief in southeast Turkey in 2001, a former member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party testified.
Gunmen killed Ali Gaffar Okkan, the police chief in the southeast city of Diyarbakir, and five other officers in January 2001. Initial investigations suggested the Turkish Hezbollah network had carried out the assassination.
Abdulkadir Aygan, described as a former member of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, claimed gunmen with the "deep state" anti-democratic Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terror network, or JITEM, carried out the assassination, not Hezbollah, Today's Zaman reported Wednesday.
JITEM allegedly is affiliated with another clandestine outfit, the Ergenekon network, believed to be part of the anti-democratic movement composed of high-ranking state officials in Turkey. Aygan is said to be a JITEM member.
"JITEM killed Okkan, not Hezbollah," Aygan told Turkish daily Sabah. Though Okkan had been investigating the Turkish Hezbollah, it would have been the first time the group assassinated a state official.
The Turkish Hezbollah formed in response to Kurdish rebels in the region in the late 1980s. It is unaffiliated with the Lebanese Hezbollah.