Turkey punished police chief for tightening security around US embassy after US envoy to Libya was murdered
Abdullah Bozkurt / Stockholm
The Turkish government has called a wrongdoing a police chief who, in 2012, ordered his subordinates to strengthen the security measures around the building of the American embassy, the residence of the ambassador and other places frequented by American citizens in the Turkish capital.
The bizarre and twisted revelations were uncovered in a 2015 disciplinary investigation report prepared by the General Security Directorate (Emniyet), which is part of the Home Office that oversees the police department and gendarmerie, the main law enforcement agencies in Turkey. To justify the disciplinary action taken against Police Chief Hamza Bayındır, then head of the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Ankara Police Department, Interior Ministry inspectors presented the 2012 order signed by Bayındır as evidence. of his dismissal.
Bayındır’s Order was issued on September 13, 2012 in the context of the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his colleagues in Libya the day before when a crowd of protesters and gunmen grew angry. against a film that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad attacked the consulate in Benghazi.
The police chief was not acting on his own and was in fact complying with a circular issued on September 12 by the Emniyet, which issued a national alert after the incident in Libya. Bayındır’s order referred to this circular and asked police units to be on the lookout for indications of a possible attack on the United States embassy, consulates or American nationals. He called for additional security measures and a review of existing ones and stressed the need to remain vigilant.
The order was on a need-to-know basis, and Bayındır told his team to brief the police units in person due to the sensitivity and urgency of the case.
The police chief’s signature on the order calling for additional security around the U.S. Embassy landed him in jail on fabricated charges:
What was a routine order for Bayındır, who did his job as head of counterterrorism in Ankara in accordance with Turkish laws and regulations, turned out to be a headache for him as a result of the investigations. of corruption in 2013 which blamed then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and members of his family. Motivated by a vendetta and the desire to punish the police for exposing his dirty laundry, Erdoğan launched a major purge of the country’s main law enforcement agency.
Baseless administrative investigations were carried out against veteran police chiefs to create a pretext for their dismissal, and criminal investigations were subsequently launched. Bayındır was among those targeted by the government. In a 2015 administrative investigation, his order to tighten security around the US Embassy, Ambassador’s residence, consulate buildings and other locations against possible attacks was presented as evidence. against him.
The inspection report, dated May 4, 2015 and signed by Interior Ministry inspectors Kemal Fidan and Ertuğrul Namal, was then sent to the Ankara Attorney General’s office for inclusion in Bayındır’s criminal proceedings. Other documents he signed to obtain wiretapping and court surveillance authorizations as part of a confidential investigation into the known Turkish network of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) under the name of Tevhid Selam, were also presented in court as if he had committed a criminal offense by doing what he was supposed to do.
The police chief was removed from his post in January 2014 and later purged from the police force. He was arrested in February 2016 along with other police chiefs for their role in the investigation into the Quds Force cells in Ankara. The Quds Force investigation exposed Iranian intelligence underground activities in Turkey and blamed senior pro-Iranian Turkish government officials, including two key aides of President Erdoğan, who later killed the investigation.
Bayındır was a highly respected and distinguished police chief who served in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) police unit in the past. His team investigated a deadly attack on the US Embassy by a DHKP / C activist on February 1, 2013 and worked with the visiting FBI team to identify the terrorist cell. The explosion occurred inside the security checkpoint at the side entrance to the embassy, where a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device. A guard standing outside the checkpoint was killed.
The cover and the last page of the disciplinary investigation report of Home Office inspectors who listed Bayındır’s order for additional security measures around the US Embassy as if it were of a criminal act:
The 51-year-old police chief has been in prison since December 2017 and was sentenced to seven years and six months in October 2020 for membership in the government critic Gülen movement. He also faces other charges, ranging from attempting to overthrow the government to obtaining state secrets, in separate cases.
President Erdoğan appointed Süleyman Soylu as Home Secretary in August 2016, a fiercely anti-American figure responsible for the police and gendarmerie. Soylu was named under sanctions by the US government in 2018 for his department’s role in the illegal prosecution of US nationals. The sanction was later lifted after the release from prison of American pastor Andrew Brunson.