Former police chief Ağar defines torture as 'harsh method of interrogation'
Former police chief and politician Mehmet Ağar, who is currently in prison on charges of establishing a criminal organization, has testified to a parliamentary coup-probing commission and reportedly said torture was used as a "harsh method of interrogation" for suspects under police custody during his tenure.

Members of the commission paid a visit to Ağar in his cell at Aydın Prison on Saturday. Ağar was sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison on charges of establishing a criminal organization, in a trial concerning a car accident in 1996 that exposed links between the Turkish state, the criminal underworld and Turkish security forces.

Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Ahmet Topbaş, who is also a member of the parliamentary Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission, spoke to the press after Ağar's testimony and said Ağar did not say anything "unknown" to the commission. "We asked him about weapons purchased from Israel which later went missing. He said the state needed the weapons in its fight against terror. I said the weapons were not recorded in the state inventory, and he said such weapons are not recorded. Then I asked him what the deep state means, and he said it means not to lose any territory other than Mosul and Kirkuk. I asked another question about the torturing of individuals under police custody. He said torture was a harsh method of interrogation," Topbaş stated.

Ağar, who served as governor of Erzurum in 1992, was appointed by then-Prime Minister Tansu Çiller as head of the National Police in 1993. He was interior minister of the Çiller-led coalition government in 1996. The 1990s were times when the state adopted harsh methods in fighting terror. Hundreds of people were reported missing in those years, particularly in the Kurdish-populated eastern and southeastern regions.

The former police chief provided a four-hour testimony to the coup investigation commission.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Manisa deputy Selçuk Özdağ, also a member of the commission, told reporters that the commission asked Ağar about his recollections about the past military coups and said Ağar stated that coups are "unfortunate incidents" for Turkey. "He said political stability is very important for Turkey and that politics should always be very strong. He also said people seeking to stage coups will not get the chance to overthrow governments if politics is strong," Özdağ stated.

So far, more than 100 people have testified to the commission. Among them were journalists, former and current deputies and other politicians, union leaders, civil society representatives and media bosses as well as victims of the coups. Besides probes and legal cases already initiated against various coups and coup attempts, the commission is investigating the four past coups d'état -- staged on May 27, 1960; March 12, 1971; Sept. 12, 1980; and Feb. 28, 1997 -- and the military memorandum of April 27, 2007. It does not have judicial power to prosecute individuals who testify to the commission. (Cihan/Todays Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-11 20:00:01
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