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Former Turkish military officer involved in explosives shipments to ISIL at large

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Nuri Gökhan Bozkır, a former Turkish military officer implicated in the assassination of academic Necip Hablemitoğlu and convicted of shipping explosives to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is reportedly at large.

Bozkır was renditioned from Ukraine by Turkish intelligence agency MİT in late January 2022 and arrested by a court the next month on accusations of involvement in the unsolved murder of academic Hablemitoğlu, who was killed on Jan. 18, 2002 in front of his house in Ankara. He has also been identified as the team leader responsible for an operation to deliver explosives to ISIL.

Bozkır, who previously served in the Turkish Special Forces, was expelled from the military in 2006 after his connection to a mafia group known as the “Sauna Gang” was revealed.

After his arrest, he was released from pretrial detention on May 19 in the Hablemitoğlu murder trial. On May 27, an arrest warrant was issued for Bozkır in connection with the ISIL explosives shipment case; however, authorities have not been able to locate him.

According to a report by the Gazete Duvar news website, Bozkır’s lawyer, Hacer Ural, did not confirm whether Bozkır was in prison, stating they had appealed his sentence and planned to take the case to the appeals court. Ural said she did not know whether Bozkır had been jailed following his arrest warrant.

While in Ukraine, Bozkır confessed to involvement in the Hablemitoğlu assassination, alleging that a team from the Special Forces Command executed the assassination on the orders of Col. Levent Göktaş, then Combat Search and Rescue (MAK) commander of the Special Forces Command. Bozkır claimed that he acted as a lookout during the assassination, with then-Capt. Tarkan Mumcuoğlu of the Special Forces pulling the trigger. Investigations and arrest warrants were issued for several individuals following Bozkır’s confession. Bozkır later retracted his statements, denying any involvement in the murder.

Bozkır claimed he faced torture at the hands of MİT operatives for 24 days following his rendition from Ukraine.

He also stood trial in a case concerning trucks carrying explosives to ISIL under the cover of onions on Sept. 8, 2015. The Şanlıurfa 2nd High Criminal Court heard the case against nine suspects on charges of “supplying weapons to and, membership in a terrorist organization, and unauthorized possession or transfer of dangerous materials.”

Necip Hablemitoğlu’s wife, Şengül Hablemitoğlu, expressed outrage at Bozkır’s disappearance on Twitter, criticizing the Turkish justice system.

“God damn you! You requested a red notice and carried out an operation. Whatever you did, you let us watch during the trials, but we did not understand. We respectfully participated in the trials, but our power is no match for yours,” Şengül tweeted.

“Our loss cannot be reversed. But there will be no justice in this country, either. If someone believes, let him believe. I have neither faith nor belief,” she added.

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