Yeldana Kaharman, a 21-year-old Kazakh female journalist and student in the communications department at Fırat University in Turkey's Elazığ province was found dead in her apartment in that city on March 28, 2019, reportedly a day after she interviewed Tolga Ağar, an MP representing Elazığ for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling AKP. Media were reporting the death as a suicide the same day. Sedat Peker, a Turkish organized crime boss living abroad, recently uploaded to YouTube two long videos saying that Tolga Ağar and Mehmet Ağar, a former police chief and minister and Tolga Ağar's father, were involved in her death. One of Peker's videos received over two million views in four days while the other received over two million views in a single day. They have been the subject of much discussion in Turkey.
Yeldana Kaharman was found dead in 2019 after reportedly telling authorities an AKP MP had raped her.
Sedat Peker: The Day Before She Died, Yeldana Kaharman Filed A Complaint To The Gendarmerie Saying That AKP MP Tolga Ağar Had Raped Her
On May 6, 2021, Sedat Peker, who is reportedly living in North Macedonia and whose criminal organization was raided by Turkish police in multiple locations on April 9, 2021, uploaded to YouTube a 46-minute video in which he discussed a range of topics, among them Kaharman's death. Peker said: "There is a girl, Kyrgyz or Kazakh... A day later the girl goes to the gendarmerie and says 'Tolga [Ağar] molested-' raped, there is no reason to sugarcoat it. He raped the girl... The girl complains, then Tolga's father [Mehmet Ağar] sends a helicopter to get the brother [Tolga]. The girl is found dead the next day. How interesting and how sad, isn't it?... A poor girl died, and everyone knows... and no one opens their mouth... He's [Mehmet Ağar] the head of the deep state. Whatever he says, goes." At one point in the video Peker holds up his index finger and says: "If anything I have said is a lie, I will cut off this finger, I give you my word." He says that the presence of everyone involved can be confirmed by tracking the positions of their cellphones at the relevant times.
Sedet Peker said in a video that Kaharman had filed a complaint with the gendarmerie that Tolga Ağar had raped her.
On May 9, he uploaded another video in which he says: "I have spent my life in the [service of the] state. My intention is never to denigrate the state. If the world were to come to an end, I would never be involved in something like this... The state is eternal, the state is sacred, but there is no rule saying that we are going to accept as sacred text the words of every person performing a duty for the state. Let us play out that day or two with a story... The girl, may she rest in peace, goes to the gendarmerie. [she says:] 'I went to interview Tolga Ağar, he molested me and raped me.' [They say:] 'Miss, we have received your complaint. Go to the doctor tomorrow and get a report about this matter'... The next day, however it happened, the 18-year-old girl is dead, by her own hand. A lively girl, full of life: How could she die?! She complains one day and she's dead a day later... The gendarmerie commander calls the commander above him. [he says:] 'Sir, that girl is dead.' [The higher commander says:] 'Come here.' He goes to him... [The higher commander says:] 'You are a very successful commander. InshAllah in the future you will be a good pasha, a general.' [The lower commander says:] 'At your command, sir!' [at this point in the video Peker tears up a piece of paper] 'What complaint?' It's gone... You made the first journalist to report this news abandon Elazığ out of fear... After all this, I cannot come [to Turkey] anymore. I can't... Send two inspectors. Let them bring a lie detector [i.e., a polygraph machine], we will turn on the camera, we will have the inspectors here, and my hand here [he puts his hand on the table]. If the lie detector says I am lying I will cut off my finger. I am prepared to be remembered as Fingerless Sedat: Do me the favor of considering sending inspectors."
Former Minster Mehmet Ağar, Father Of Tolga Ağar, Spent Time In Prison For Connections To Susurluk Scandal
Tolga Ağar has since 2018 been an MP representing a district in the province of Elazığ for President Erdoğan's ruling AKP. Mehmet Ağar, father of Tolga Ağar, was founder and leader of the Democrat Party, and Turkey's justice minister from March through June 1996, and interior minister from June to November of the same year. Mehmet Ağar was sentenced in May 2011 to five years in prison over his connections to the Susurluk scandal, which is famous in Turkey for its revelations of connections between the country's political leadership, military, and organized crime circles. This network is generally referred to in Turkish as the "deep state." The connections were revealed after a car crash on November 3, 1996, in Susurluk, a town in Balıkesir province. Three men were riding in the same car: Huseyin Kocadağ, a senior police official; Abdullah Çatlı, a wanted right-wing militant; and Sedat Bucak, a Kurdish politician. Kocadağ and Çatlı were killed in the crash, while Bucak had a broken leg and a fractured skull. Of Peker's recent statements about the death of Kaharman, Cevat Öneş, who is a former deputy of the Milli İstibahrat Teşkilatı (MİT), the main Turkish intelligence service, said: "I think a situation that surpasses the structure of the Susurluk period has come to light."
MP Tolga Ağar, left, and his father, former minister Mehmet Ağar
Government Statements In Response To Peker's Statements, Efforts To Block Access To News Coverage Of Kaharman's Death
Turkish journalist Baransel Ağca tweeted on May 9 a document that he said was Kaharman's autopsy report, which he said was full of contradictions. He then tweeted on May 10 that he had been informed that a criminal case had been opened against him. On February 22, 2020, Turkish daily BirGün reported that web access to a thread about Kaharman on the popular forum EkşiSözlük had been blocked, and that thereafter web access to a news report saying access to the forum had been blocked, had also been blocked. Other reports have indicated that access to other reports on the incident have also been blocked. Since Peker released his videos, Tolga Ağar has denied the claims and said that he would take legal action against Peker. The Gendarmerie General Command responded to the video by issuing a statement denying that Kaharman had made any appeal to the gendarmerie. The Attorney General's Office of Elazığ issued a statement on May 8 saying that the case had been closed on October 16, 2019, and had been ruled a suicide.
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