ISTANBUL - Daily News with Wires
A court in Istanbul denied Hanefi Avcı’s request to be released late Friday, following searches of his office that revealed wiretap recordings reportedly to be of journalists.
Mehmet Ali Birand, a columnist for the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review and daily Posta, happened to be the first to be called to testify on Thursday. Avcı was arrested Sept. 28 for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization,” namely the outlawed leftist Revolutionary Headquarters group.
Birand gave his testimony at the Istanbul Courthouse in Beşiktaş as a “victim,” and answered media questions on his way out. Birand said he testified about some of his wiretapped phone conversations. When asked who was he speaking to, Birand said, “whoever a journalist would talk to,” adding the person or people he was talking to are not the subjects of any investigations.
When Birand stated he had not filed a complaint, he was asked why. “Why should I? It was a normal thing what I did there. It is clear the police listened in on me [and the tapes] remained with him,” he said.
Birand said the Avcı he knew was a different person to how he was sometimes being portrayed in the media. “Avcı is a man who has always been benign to me. He did me no evil. I see him differently.”
Meanwhile, the Mersin ’78ers Association gathered Friday at the Mersin grave of Ali Uygur, who was killed in detention in 1980 where they protested Avcı’s reported affiliation with revolutionaries they say he tortured.
Ethem Dinçer, honorary president of the association, claimed Avcı tortured all the revolutionaries during his assignment in Mersin. The association also accuses Avcı of the death of Uygur under torture.
Fatma Meral, sister of an alleged terrorist who died with everybody else at a house Avcı’s team raided in 1993 in Istanbul, sent a letter to members of a group who read a press statement in front of Silivri Prison on Monday in support of Avcı. “I know Avcı, he is the murderer of my sister,” daily Radikal reported her as saying on Thursday.