Turkish police chief and his team were prosecuted for investigating threats against Jews by Iranian operative

Levent Kenez

 

Turkish prosecutors on May 12, 2010 accused senior police officers of unjustly investigating a pro-Iranian figure who threatened Jews living anywhere in the world with death unless Israel released an employee of a Turkish jihadist charity organization, documents obtained by Nordic Monitor have revealed.

Nureddin Şirin, who had served eight years in prison for being one of the leaders of the illegal Tawhid-Salam organization, an affiliate of the Iranian-based Quds Force that killed prominent, pro-secular journalists and academics in Turkey in the 1990s, addressed a solidarity gathering organized by the Gaza Volunteers Platform to protest the imprisonment of İzzet Şahin, the West Bank representative of the jihadist Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı, or IHH) on May 8, 2010.

 

Nureddin Şirin addressing the audience at a solidarity gathering for Gaza on May 8, 2010

 

The IHH, backed by the Turkish government, works closely with Turkish spy agency the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), confidential documents obtained by Nordic Monitor previously showed. The leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and current finance and treasury minister, provided clues as to how the IHH was considered a strong reference in the resumes of applicants for positions in the government. The IHH has also been identified as an arms smuggler to jihadist groups in Libya and Syria and was previously reported by Russia to the United Nations Security Council for links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2016.

Describing Jews as the worst calamity of mankind, Şirin told the audience that “Jews will witness the cost of capturing [İHH’s] İzzet Şahin so much so that they will regret what they have done a thousand times, but it will be too late. In response to capturing our brother, Jews in the world and in this country [Turkey] are from now on our targets.”

The pro-Iranian Turkish website Velfecr quoted Şirin in a story titled “The world will be a grave for Zionists,” claiming that “Jews in Turkey including their rabbis and leaders have always supported the Zionist regime [Israel] and they no longer deserve to feel safe in Turkey.”

Şirin in Tehran.

The İstanbul police immediately sought permission from the prosecutor to launch a formal investigation into Şirin and his inner circle due to the possibility of an assassination or terrorist attack targeting Jewish citizens in Turkey. In the course of the investigation, the then-head of the İstanbul counterterrorism police, Yurt Atayün, and his team discovered that Tawhid-Salam and Quds Force operatives, some of whom had served time in prison, had been reactivated. The investigation also uncovered an espionage network run by Turkish and Iranian operatives, some under the cover of a diplomatic assignments at the Iranian Embassy or its consulates.

The turning point of the investigation came following corruption operations in December 2013 in which Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, several ministers and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan’s family were implicated. It was understood that the suspects had accepted lucrative bribes for facilitating transactions benefiting Iran.

Erdoğan managed to present the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, and several prosecutors were removed from the case, while police chiefs and officers were reassigned and the investigation into Zarrab and the ministers was dropped. 

Police chief Yurt Atayün, who ordered the investigation after the pro-Iranian Şirin threatened to kill jews in Turkey. He was later arrested in 2014 for allegedly plotting against the government.

After police officers from the counterterrorism department were transferred to different posts and cities, almost all them were later arrested for allegedly plotting against the government in 2014. The intelligence notes were sent to Erdoğan’s favorite prosecutor, Irfan Fidan, who discovered that the ongoing investigation exposed Erdoğan’s secret ties to Iranian Quds Force operatives in Turkey. The investigation also revealed that the chief of Turkey’s spy agency MIT, Hakan Fidan, had close and suspicious connections to the Iranian regime.

 

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Report indicating the questions all police officers were asked during interrogation.

 

Prosecutor Fidan immediately stifled the investigation and decided on non-prosecution. Moreover, he urged suspects in the case to file complaints against the police officers, prosecutors and judges who allowed the investigation and legal wiretapping as if they had laid a plot. Fidan later drafted a 10,529 page indictment for 122 defendants who are still being tried in Istanbul.

All the detained police chiefs were asked why they had investigated Şirin, who ordered them to do so and what the offense was in his speech delivered in 2010. Atayün, who led the investigation, testified that only a prosecutor could allow or order an official investigation so they abided by the law. Atayün and his team have been behind bars since July 2014.

Şirin is now the editor-in-chief of the pro-Iranian Kudüs TV. He recently claimed that Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force who was killed in a US strike on January 3, 2020, was instrumental in defeating an attempted coup against Erdoğan on July 15, 2016.

“Soleimani did more than anyone else to disrupt the coup attempt. President Erdoğan knows what Soleimani did for Turkey on July 15,” Şirin said on a TV program a few days after Soleimani’s assassination.

Below is the document dated May 12, 2010 that was sent by the Istanbul police to the public prosecutor’s office for permission to start the investigation into Şirin and his inner circle.

Nurettin_Sirin Soruşturma başlama

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