National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official Kaşif Kozinoğlu, who was arrested and sent to jail in March on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, seizing confidential state documents and sharing them with third parties, died of a heart attack in the prison at which he was jailed late on Saturday, Today's Zaman reported.
His death raised suspicions about whether he was killed, as he was scheduled to appear before the court on Nov. 22.
Kozinoğlu was under arrest as part of an investigation into the Odatv news portal, which is accused of aiding and abetting Ergenekon -- an organization that allegedly plotted to overthrow the elected government.
Kozinoğlu had a heart attack at the No. 1 F-type Prison in the Silivri Prison Complex, on the outskirts of İstanbul, on Saturday evening. Prison doctors and the prosecutor's office were immediately informed, but doctors were unable to save him. His body was sent to the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) for an autopsy.
The Ministry of Justice made a statement concerning Kozinoğlu's death on Sunday, saying the initial autopsy on his body showed no physical evidence of assault. The ministry noted he felt faint after doing heavy exercise, citing the account of his roommate.
Who was Kozinoğlu?
One of the most mysterious members of MİT, Kozinoğlu was photographed for the first time in many years by photojournalists when he arrived at İstanbul's Beşiktaş Courthouse in March. Newspapers earlier published a photo of the MİT member that was allegedly taken years ago.
He was tasked with training special police teams in 1986 when he was a member of the Special Warfare Department. In 1987 he contributed to the establishment of MİT's first foreign branch. A few years later, he retired from the Special Warfare Department as a major. He later started officially working for MİT. As a MİT official, he paid many visits to Afghanistan both before and after its occupation by US forces.
In addition, Kozinoğlu allegedly had close ties to Alaattin Çakıcı, arguably the most infamous mafia boss in Turkey. He was caught in several phone conversations with Çakıcı in the past while trying to help the mafia boss flee Turkey. In earlier testimony to prosecutors, Kozinoğlu said MİT had learned about the planned assassination of a high-level politician in Turkey and was trying to prevent it by being in close contact with Çakıcı.
The indictment into Odatv includes revelations about Kozinoğlu. The indictment includes notes from Soner Yalçın, the Odatv news site's owner, where Kozinoğlu is referred to as "the mole." Yalçın's notes say that Kozinoğlu had a direct line of communication with then-Chief of General Staff retired Gen. Doğan Güreş. Kozinoğlu is also mentioned in documents seized from Veli Küçük and Şener Eruygur, two retired generals who are currently key suspects in the main Ergenekon trial.