Businessman Ahmet Hamoğlu, whose statements were published on Friday in both Taraf and Radikal, partially confirmed earlier testimony from mafia leader Sedat Peker, who also has shady ties with illegitimate groups inside the state, that some Kurdish businessmen paid former military and MİT officer Korkut Eken. He claimed he had paid $20,000 to take his name off a list of businessmen allegedly aiding the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), many of whom were allegedly killed in the '90s by ultranationalist interest groups inside security forces acting outside the law.
His statements come one day after Peker, who is currently in Silivri Prison after being sentenced to 14 years in jail in 2004 on charges of forming an armed gang, testified to an Ankara prosecutor conducting an investigation into the killings and disappearances of some Kurdish businessmen in the 1990s.
Peker, who was taken to Ankara on Wednesday to testify, claims individuals using the state's authority were behind the murders. Excerpts from his testimony were published in some Turkish newspapers on Thursday. He said it was common knowledge at the time there was a death list of businessmen who helped the PKK and that some of the people killed were on the list.
In his testimony, Peker said that Eken, a former military and MİT officer convicted in the Susurluk affair, at the time worked for Mehmet Ağar, a former police chief and later politician. He claimed that people could pay Eken to be taken off the list.
Hamoğlu's statement confirms that he paid around “$15,000 or $20,000” to Eken. He said during a talk with Eken in those years, although the exact year was not clear, Eken complained that “the state is not doing enough to support us.” Hamoğlu, however, said Eken had personally requested money and made no mention of any death lists. “I gave this money to a person who I knew was struggling financially.” Hamoğlu said he was from Çorum, a Central Anatolian province, saying he did not have even remote ties to the PKK.
In response to a question on whether he had been intimidated by the fate of Ömer Lütfi Topal, a casino owner who was killed in 1996, he said: “In those days, there was talk of an attempt to eliminate casino managers and start a new system in these places. But I never felt any fear about that. I have no information about who these people were.”