Photos reveal suspicious links between Turkish envoy, alleged hit team members

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Photos have emerged showing a member of an alleged Turkish hit team posing for a photo with the Turkish ambassador to France at the embassy building in Paris and in front of the presidential palace in Turkey, strengthening suspicions about the involvement of Turkish state officials in black operations abroad, the ANF news website reported.

The members of the hit team were exposed as they were allegedly preparing for attacks on Remzi Kartal, co-chair of the People’s Congress of Kurdistan (Kongra-Gel), and Zübeyir Aydar, a member of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), in an operation by the Belgian police in Brussels in 2017. ANF said the investigation into the alleged hit team members was being carried out by Belgian authorities in strict confidence and that the investigation file included more than 1,000 pages.

The suspects who were identified by the French Le Journal du Dimanche weekly newspaper in a report published on March 14 are Zekeriya Çelikbilek, a former Turkish military officer and a French citizen, and Yakup Koç, who had a Turkish police ID on him when he was stopped by Belgian police in a car with Çelikbilek, and Hacı Akkulak, a Kurdish man living in Belgium. The automobile carrying the three men was stopped by the Belgian police after it had driven several times around the Kurdish National Congress building in Brussels, raising suspicions among Kurdish officials in the building about their motivation. The Belgian police carried out an operation against the alleged gang members several months after they stopped their car; however, Çelikbilek and Koç had already left Belgium by then.

Zekeriya Çelikbilek

One of the photos obtained by ANF shows Çelikbilek posing for a photo with Turkish Ambassador to France İsmail Hakkı Musa at the embassy building in Paris. In another photo, Çelikbilek is seen posing in the courtyard of the Turkish presidential palace in Ankara, wearing a blue suit.

Photos of Koç are from the years 2008 and 2011. One of the photos was taken on the road to Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, while the other one shows him on the famous French island of Mont Saint-Michel. In his photos, Koç is seen pretending to be a “tourist,” according to ANF.

Yakup Koç

The ANF report supports claims made by the French weekly newspaper about Musa’s involvement in black operations in Europe on behalf of the Turkish state.

In its report Le Journal du Dimanche reported about an investigation conducted by Belgian authorities into Musa related to his alleged role in the assassination of three female Kurdish politicians and activists in Paris in 2013.

Outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) founding member Sakine Cansız, Kurdistan Information Bureau (KNK) Paris representative Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez, who was a member of the Kurdish youth movement, were murdered in their Paris bureau on Jan. 9, 2013. Suspect Ömer Güney died in prison on Dec. 17, 2016, a few weeks before his trial at the Paris Criminal Court. However, the case was closed due to Güney’s death under suspicious circumstances.

Claims regarding Turkish spy cells and their mobilization in Europe were also covered in the piece.

The newspaper based its report on a confidential document possessed by Belgian authorities. At the same time the newspaper published the news, Musa left Paris and returned to Turkey.

“His assignment has ended in Paris,” said the Turkish authorities regarding his abrupt departure from France. Yet, Musa is still referred to as the Turkish ambassador to France on the embassy’s website.

According to Kartal, who spoke to the medyanews website about the role of Musa in the illegal operations of Turkish intelligence abroad, Musa was warned by the French authorities of the pending serious accusations about his involvement in the assassination plot and after that, he fled the country.

Noting that Musa’s role in the murder of three Kurdish women in Paris was obvious, Kartal said, “We can clearly say that Hakkı Musa, who was in charge in Belgium at the time, coordinated the killings.”

“When all the preparations were ready for the massacre, Hakkı Musa was called to Turkey for security reasons. He was in Turkey when the massacre took place. However, he became National Intelligence Organization (MIT) deputy undersecretary after he returned to Turkey. All the murders that took place outside Turkey were organized by MIT’s foreign office. After some time had passed following the massacre, İsmail Hakkı Musa was assigned to the Turkish Embassy in France,” Kartal further stated.

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