Ugur Mumcu
Uğur Mumcu was an intrepid Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 investigative journalist for the leading Kemalist broadsheet
Broadsheet is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages . The term derives from types of popular prints usually just of a single sheet, sold on the streets and containing various types of material, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet...

, Cumhuriyet
Cumhuriyet is a centre-left Turkish daily newspaper, founded on May 7, 1924 by journalist Yunus Nadi Abalıoğlu. Based in Istanbul, it has been situated since October 17, 2005 in Mecidiyeköy. Cumhuriyet was the last newspaper to leave the old press district Cağaloğlu...

. He was assassinated with a bomb placed in his car, outside his home.


Uğur Mumcu was born as the third of four siblings in Kırşehir
Kırşehir, formerly Macissus and Justinianopolis, is a city in Turkey. It is the capital district of the Kırşehir Province. According to 2000 census, population of the district is 121,947 of which 105,826 live in the city of Kırşehir.-History:The history of Kırşehir dates back to the Hittites...

, where his father was working. He went to school in Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

 and in 1961 attended School of Law at Ankara University
Ankara University, Law School
The Ankara University, Law School is a faculty for law of the Ankara University in Turkey.- History :Ankara University, Law School, was founded as a part of legal revolution in Turkey by endeavours of Mahmut Esat Bozkurt. The school was opened by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish...

. After graduation in 1965, he practiced law for a while. He then visited England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to learn English and upon his return to Turkey worked as a teaching assistant at Ankara University from 1969 to 1972.

He started to write during university, first in the magazine Yön and then in several other leftist periodicals. Between 1968 and 1970, he wrote articles on politics for the newspapers Akşam, Cumhuriyet and Milliyet
Milliyet is a major Turkish daily newspaper founded in 1950.-History:Milliyet came to publishing life at the Nuri Akça press in Babıali, Istanbul as a daily private newspaper on 3 May 1950...


Arrested shortly after the 1971 military coup, he was tortured. Later, Mumcu wrote that his torturers had told him: "We are the Counter-Guerrilla
Counter-Guerrilla is the Turkish branch of Operation Gladio, a clandestine stay-behind anti-communist initiative backed by the United States as an expression of the Truman Doctrine. The founding goal of the operation was to erect a guerrilla force capable of countering a possible Soviet invasion...

. Even the President of the Republic cannot touch us."

In 1974, Uğur Mumcu started a career as a columnist, with the periodical Yeni Ortam and from 1975 on, in the broadsheet newspaper Cumhuriyet, which he continued until his death (apart from a few months in 1991 when he was in dispute with the management).


Uğur Mumcu also published books on current and historical political issues of Turkey. He was investigating the Kurdistan Workers' Party
Kurdistan Workers' Party
The Kurdistan Workers' Party , commonly known as PKK, also known as KGK and formerly known as KADEK or KONGRA-GEL , is a Kurdish organization which has since 1984 been fighting an armed struggle against the Turkish state for an autonomous Kurdistan and greater cultural and political rights...

's ties with the National Intelligence Organization
National Intelligence Organization
The National Intelligence Organization is the governmental intelligence organization of Turkey. It was established in 1965 to replace the National Security Service....

 (MİT) at the time of his assassination.

Shortly before his death, Mumcu was investigating how 100,000 firearms owned by the Turkish Armed Forces
Turkish Armed Forces
The Turkish Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of Turkey. They consist of the Army, the Navy , and the Air Force...

 ended up in the hands of Jalal Talabani
Jalal Talabani
Jalal Talabani is the sixth and current President of Iraq, a leading Kurdish politician. He is the first non-Arab president of Iraq, although Abdul Kareem Qasim was half Kurdish....

, one of the Kurdish leaders of northern Iraq and, as of 2008, president of Iraq. Twenty-five days after Mumcu, General Eşref Bitlis
Esref Bitlis
Eşref Bitlis was a general in the Turkish Gendarmerie, who died in a mysterious plane crash.-Early life and career:He was born 1933 in the eastern Anatolian city of Malatya, Turkey. He attended the Turkish Military Academy, finishing it in 1952 in the rank of a Lieutenant...

, who was investigating the same issue, died in a plane crash, believed to be due to sabotage. In his 8 January Cumhuriyet article, titled Ültimatom, Mumcu emphatically stated that he would soon reveal in a new book the ties between Kurdish nationalists and some intelligence organizations (i.e., Abdullah Öcalan
Abdullah Öcalan
Abdullah Öcalan , Kurdish founder of the terrorist organization called Kurdistan Workers' Party in 1978.Öcalan was captured in Nairobi and extradited to the Turkish security force, and sentenced to death under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, which concerns the formation of armed gangs...

 and the National Intelligence Organization).

According to his son, Özgür, Mumcu had an appointment with retired prosecutor Baki Tuğ on 27 January to learn more about Abdullah Öcalan's suspected ties with the MİT (the state was officially fighting his militant organization, the PKK). Öcalan was detained on 31 March 1972 while studying political sciences at the University of Ankara. Per clause 16/1 of the Martial Law (№ 1402), he was sentenced to three months in jail for participating in a boycott. He was released on 24 October 1972 after the National Intelligence Organization forwarded a message to the prosecutor handling the case, Tuğ, that one of the suspects was one of their agents. Tuğ later said that he could not remember whether the agent was Öcalan, or one of the other suspects.


On the morning of 24 January 1993, he left his home and was killed by a C-4 plastic bomb
C-4 (explosive)
C4 or Composition C4 is a common variety of the plastic explosive known as Composition C.-Composition and manufacture:C4 is made up of explosives, plastic binder, plasticizer and usually marker or odorizing taggant chemicals such as 2,3-dimethyl-2,3-dinitrobutane to help detect the explosive and...

 as he started his car; a Renault 12
Renault 12
The Renault 12 is a family car produced by French automaker Renault between 1969 and 1980. Available as a saloon and estate , it was also produced under licence in many countries across the globe into the early 21st century....

, license numbered 06 YR 245.

There are numerous hypotheses over who was responsible for his murder.

Deep state hypothesis

One hypothesis is that he was killed in order to protect state secrets, regarding the PKK.
PKK supreme council member Mustafa Karasu alleged that Mumcu was killed by the state in order to prevent his publicizing the fact that the PKK was aware it had been infiltrated by the MİT. The mole was Öcalan's pilot, Necati. Karasu alleges that they became aware of his MİT identity in May 1997, and misinformed him.

The deep state
Deep state
The Deep state is alleged to be a group of influential anti-democratic coalitions within the Turkish political system, composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services , Turkish military, security, judiciary, and mafia. The notion of deep state is similar to that of a "state within...

 might have contracted the killing out to JITEM (see below).

Iran hypothesis

His assassination was initially pinned on Iran.
According to this hypothesis, Iran's SAVAMA employed the virtually unknown Islamic Movement Organisation  to carry out the assassination. Mehmet Ali Şeker, Mehmet Zeki Yıldırım, and Ayhan Usta were taken into custody. However, it was revealed that the police had falsified the date of their capture.
The İstanbul police had been conducting an operation targeting Islamists organizations, just before the attack. Its intelligence chief, Hanefi Avcı, said that the attackers left no trace of their affiliation. Rather, they seemed to have been well trained—by a state.

During the course of the investigation, voluminous documents relating SAVAMA to the Kurdish Hezbollah
Kurdish Hezbollah
Hizbullah , often referred to as the Turkish Hezbollah or Kurdish Hezbollah , to avoid confusion with the completely unrelated Lebanese Shi'a group called Hezbollah, is a Kurdish Sunni Islamist militant organization, active against the Government of Turkey...

 were found. In addition, the Ankara police detained three suspects who were found to have stayed at a hotel in Ankara before the attack: Yusuf Karakuş, Abdülhamit Çelik, and Mehmet Şahin. Karakuş said that two Iranian spies were involved in the bombing: Muhammed Reza and Muhsin Karger Azad.
Çelik, a.k.a. "Abdullah Gürgen", said he reported to Muhsin Karger Azad.
Azad was ostensibly a consulate employee, but secretly an alleged Gladio member.
Azad left Turkey after he was "named and shamed
Name and Shame
To name and shame is to "publicly say that a person, group or business has done something wrong". It is used to discourage some kinds of activity by publishing the names of those involved.-Anti-social and criminal:...

" in the newspapers along with other diplomats alleged to be spies.

Former Interior Minister Hasan Fehmi Güneş said that there was no doubt in his mind as to SAVAMA's involvement.

The alleged motivation for the Iran hypothesis is that Iran's leaders saw secularism as inimical to Islam, and Mumcu had to be killed because he was an outspoken promoter of it. However, others dispute the Iran hypothesis as the assassination coincided with a state visit from Iran to negotiate the passage of a natural gas pipeline from Iran, which was then subject to an embargo by the United States. Tensions flared after the assassination, and the $25 billion pipeline deal fell through.

CIA hypothesis

In an earlier investigation, Mumcu had been on the CIA's trail. Working on the Mehmet Ali Ağca
Mehmet Ali Agca
Mehmet Ali Ağca is a Turkish assassin who murdered left-wing journalist Abdi İpekçi on February 1, 1979 and later shot and wounded Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, after escaping from a Turkish prison. After serving 19 years of imprisonment in Italy, he was deported to Turkey, where he served a...

 case, he was the first to discover the connection between the Turkish mafia and the Turkish extreme right. In his Cumhuriyet column, Mumcu named Ruzi Nazar as the CIA's liaison with the far-right Grey Wolves
Grey Wolves
The Idealist Youth , commonly known as Grey Wolves , is an ultra-nationalist neo-fascist youth organization. It is accused of terrorism. According to Turkish authorities, the organization carried out 694 murders between 1974–1980.-Name:...

. The CIA's Turkey station chief
Station Chief
Station Chief is a term for certain officials who are appointed as chief of a 'station', i.e. a stationary post, of various natures.-Colonial:...

, Paul Henze, and an American reporter accosted Mumcu to convince him to write that the Pope's assassin worked for Soviets or the Bulgarians, but Mumcu said he would simply follow the information trail. Henze left with an ominous "If you do that, you might find a nice surprise in store", according to his wife, Guldal.

JITEM hypothesis

PKK/JITEM informant Abdülkadir Aygan said that the assassination was carried out by JITEM operatives including Ahmet Cem Ersever at the behest of General Veli Küçük, who is currently being tried for allegedly being a high-ranking member of the Ergenekon network.
Aygan said that he and Aytekin Özen had a briefcase of about 20 kg of C-4 (explosive)
C-4 (explosive)
C4 or Composition C4 is a common variety of the plastic explosive known as Composition C.-Composition and manufacture:C4 is made up of explosives, plastic binder, plasticizer and usually marker or odorizing taggant chemicals such as 2,3-dimethyl-2,3-dinitrobutane to help detect the explosive and...

, obtained from a Vietnam veteran, and that they had used some of it to assassinate the President of the Diyarbakir Bar, Mustafa Özer. The unnamed American soldier had allegedly given the explosives to the Regional Emergency Governorate in 1991 or 1992.

A confidential forensic report, dated 29 January 1993, was prepared by the chief of the Criminal Police Laboratory, Muhittin Kaya. It wrote that the plastic explosive weighed approximately 2.5 kg and contained RDX
RDX, an initialism for Research Department Explosive, is an explosive nitroamine widely used in military and industrial applications. It was developed as an explosive which was more powerful than TNT, and it saw wide use in WWII. RDX is also known as cyclonite, hexogen , and T4...

, as used in C-4s. However, it contradicted itself in explaining its origin, saying Czechoslovakia in the body, and the United States in the appendix.

MOSSAD hypothesis

Uğur Mumcu's brother, Ceyhan Mumcu, finds the evidence for the JITEM/Ergenekon allegations weak. He suspects Israel's involvement since it supported Barzani and Talabani in the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. Israel's ambassador to Turkey had repeatedly requested to have lunch with Uğur, the only journalist to write about the dealings. Uğur agreed on condition that he be allowed to bring a witness. The ambassador rejected the offer, and Mumcu died shortly thereafter.

Ceyhan Mumcu said his suspicions were supported by evidence uncovered in the Ergenekon investigation. A report seized from retired General Veli Küçük, dated 2 February 1993 and purportedly emanating from the MİT, says that the CIA and Israel's OADNA were involved.


Uğur Mumcu is survived by his wife Güldal, and their children Özgür and Özge Mumcu. Güldal Mumcu and her children established the Uğur Mumcu Investigative Journalism Foundation (um:ag) in October 1994. Güldal Mumcu is currently a member and the deputy speaker of the Turkish parliament
Grand National Assembly of Turkey
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey , usually referred to simply as the Meclis , is the unicameral Turkish legislature. It is the sole body given the legislative prerogatives by the Turkish Constitution. It was founded in Ankara on 23 April 1920 in the midst of the Turkish War of Independence...


External links

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