Political, bureaucratic pressure might have led to Turkish police chief’s suicide

Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

A police chief for İstanbul’s Silivri district who committed suicide in July 2017 might have taken his own life because he was subjected to pressure from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and the İstanbul police chief over the unlawful release of a man from detention, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.

Silivri Police Chief Hakan Çalışkan was found dead in his office on the morning of July 31, 2017. He had a single gunshot wound to the head, and a police investigation concluded that Çalışkan had committed suicide.

The daily explained the background of events that it said led the police chief to take his own life. It reported that a friend of Soylu’s son had been detained by police in Silivri following a routine police check because there was a detention warrant outstanding for the man, whose name was withheld.

The younger Soylu’s friend was put into police custody in Silivri. A short time later, the national police department’s security unit director, Ekrem Gülen, called Çalışkan asking him to ensure the release of Soylu’s friend. Çalışkan reportedly denied Gülen’s request, saying that the detention procedure had already gone into the official records. In response, Gülen told Çalışkan that the detainee was an acquaintance of the minister and that he wanted him released.

The friend was subsequently released.

When İstanbul Police Chief Mustafa Çalışkan, who is claimed to have a poor relationship with Soylu, was informed of the incident, Mustafa Çalışkan reportedly called Silivri Police Chief Hakan Çalışkan, telling him to write an official document confirming that Minister Soylu and Gülen were responsible for the unlawful release of the detainee.

Cumhuriyet said Hakan Çalışkan committed suicide as he was unable to bear the pressure of his superiors in Ankara and İstanbul.

As part of an investigation into the police chief’s death, the police officers who were on the security detail of Interior Minister Soylu were interrogated, according to Cumhuriyet.

In the meantime, Interior Ministry Secretary General Türkay Öksüz said in a statement that neither Soylu nor his son had anything to do with the suicide of the Silivri police chief. Öksüz said the police’s chief suicide and the release of Soylu’s son’s friend from detention were two unrelated incidents.

Soylu has reportedly filed a criminal complaint against the Cumhuriyet daily for publishing the report. (turkishminute.com)

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