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Academic shot dead in political killing 12/20/2002
President Sezer says the murder is an act of terror and hopes the attack is not 'the beginning of dark days' An academic was shot dead Wednesday night outside his home in Ankara in an attack reminiscent of political killings that plagued Turkey in the 1990s.
Necip Hablemitoglu, an associate professor in Ankara University, was ambushed and shot in the left eye by one or more attackers as he returned home from work, Anatolia news agency said, citing police sources.
Some of his publications had focused on Islamist groups but there was no immediate word on the motive for the killing.
"I hope the attackers will be captured and brought to justice. I hope this is not the beginning of dark days," President Ahmet Necdet Sezer commented, describing the killing as an act of political terror.
A series of secular intellectuals in the country, which hope to join the European Union, were killed in the 1990s in a similar hitman-style. Most of those cases remain unsolved.
"Ankara University is a staunch defender of Kemal Ataturk and his principles. For this reason, it has lost many of its members in attacks by forces working against the modern Turkish Republic," said Ankara University in a statement and added: "We hope this loathsome attack on Hablemitoglu is not the beginning of a new dark era in our country."
In addition to Islamist groups, most notably Fethullah Gulen's "Nur community," Hablemitoglu also dealt with German foundations in Turkey and their activities in his more recent works.
His book on these foundations was taken as a basis by former State Security Court (DGM) Prosecutor Nuh Mete Yuksel, who launched a case against German foundations in Turkey on the grounds of plotting against the Turkish state and spying.
Hablemitoglu accused, in his works, the German foundations of hampering Turkey's efforts to explore its mine resources by sponsoring a villager protest against plans to explore gold in the Aegean town of Bergama.
The villagers from Bergama have protested for several years at a multinational company's plans to extract gold, saying the use of cyanide in the extraction phase would cause irreversible environmental damage.
German foundations representatives have denied charges and said Yuksel's move would harm Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.
Government has recently prepared reform laws to lift restrictions on foreign foundations operating in Turkey as part of efforts to meet EU's entry criteria.
Police surrounded the murder scene on a city centre street and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu cut short a meeting to oversee the case.
"I strongly condemn the murder," Aksu told reporters after paying a condolence visit to Hablemitoglu's family. He pledged utmost effort to resolve the murder.
Police had scarce information on the attacker or attackers and Hablemitoglu's wife was cooperating with police to help draw a sketch.
A prosecutor from Ankara State Security Court (DGM) will oversee the investigation.
Ankara- Turkish Daily News
dec 20, 2002
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