Şemdin Sakık

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Şemdin Sakık
Nickname(s)Parmaksiz Zeki
Born1959[1]
Turkey
Allegiance Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Years of service1980-1998
RankMilitary Commander
Battles/warsKurdish–Turkish conflict

Şemdin Sakık (born 1959), nicknamed Parmaksiz Zeki (fingerless Zeki) for having lost a finger while firing a rocket,[1] is a former commander of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)'s military forces. He is best known for ordering the May 24, 1993 PKK ambush. He has been imprisoned since his capture by Turkish forces in 1998, and was a key witness in the Ergenekon trials.

Background[edit]

In statements to the Ergenekon trials in 2012, he said that he became a PKK sympathizer in 1979, and joined after the 1980 Turkish coup d'état as a way of leaving the country[2] after a dispute with his father in which he shot and wounded him.[3]

His brother Sırrı Sakık is a member of Parliament for the BDP.

1993 ambush[edit]

Sakık later claimed that military commanders were aware of his planned May 24, 1993 PKK ambush, and deliberately left the soldiers unarmed and unguarded.[2] He identified a group within the military called the East Study Group (Doğu Çalışma Grubu), saying it had used the ambush as part of its coup plans.[4] Abdullah Öcalan claims Sakık ordered the 1993 ambush as part of an Ergenekon attempt to sabotage the peace process then ongoing between the PKK and the Turkish government,[5] saying that Sakık had been used by Ergenekon.[6]

Defection and capture[edit]

Falling in love with a woman may have figured in Sakık's fallout with Abdullah Öcalan.[7]

He was captured by Turkish forces in northern Iraq in 1998, shortly after defecting from the PKK to the Kurdistan Democratic Party.[8] Some sources said that the 1998 Operation Murat, launched shortly after Sakık's capture, was based in part on information obtained from Sakık.[9] He was sentenced to death for the killing of 125 members of the security forces and 121 civilians, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after Turkey abolished the death penalty.[10]

Ergenekon testimony[edit]

He was first a secret witness in the Ergenekon Trials until giving up on his anonymity voluntarily. The military leaders prosecuted in the trials were opposed to the fact that a former PKK leader would testify against them.[10] Sakık says that Iran took back weapons it had provided to the PKK after the PKK declared a ceasefire in 1993.[11] He said that Veli Küçük gave training to PKK militants. He also claimed that the PKK had prior notice of the 1980 coup.[2]

Sakık has written a book about supposed PKK's executions of internal dissidents - people who challenged the leadership or later renounced violence - which he says amounts to about 2000 people.[12]

Former Secretary-General of the National Security Council Tuncer Kılınç has been reported as saying that Sakık's word could be trusted.[13]

Books[edit]

  • Apo, Şark Yayınları, 2005.
  • Şemdin Sakık anlatıyor : Kobralar üzerimize gelince aklımızı kaçırıyorduk / Tuncer Günay, Doğan Kitap 2007.
  • Eski Bir Militanın Kaleminden Şiddetin Sefaleti, Lagin Yayınları / Araştırma-İnceleme Dizisi 2010
  • İhanetin Tarihi, Yakın Plan Yayınları / Türkiye Siyaseti Dizisi 2010
  • İmralı'da Bir Tiran: Abdullah Öcalan, Togan Yayıncılık 2012

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Michael M. Gunter (2010), Historical Dictionary of the Kurds, Scarecrow Press, 4 Nov 2009. p266
  2. ^ a b c Today's Zaman, 6 November 2012, Secret witness reveals identity, shady ties between PKK and Ergenekon
  3. ^ Hurriyet, 17 April 1998, Sakık, babasını bile vurmuş
  4. ^ Today's Zaman, 1 June 2012, Ex-PKK commander Sakık blames military junta for deaths of 33 soldiers
  5. ^ Today's Zaman, 25 December 2009, Sakık questioned over killings of 33 soldiers
  6. ^ Today's Zaman, 6 December 2008, ‘Sakık plotted killings of 33 soldiers upon Ergenekon order'
  7. ^ Mehmet Ali Birand, Hurriyet Daily News, 21 January 2010, When Şemdin Sakık falls in love
  8. ^ New York Times, 15 April 1998, Turkish Commandos Capture a Kurdish Leader in Raid Into Iraq
  9. ^ Hurriyet Daily News, 2 May 1998, Semdin Sakik interrogated by Jitem
  10. ^ a b "Turkish generals angered as Kurd militant testifies against them". Reuters. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  11. ^ Today's Zaman, 11 June 2012, Sakık: Iran took weapons back after PKK declared cease-fire
  12. ^ Today's Zaman, 22 February 2012, Diyarbakır prosecutor hears testimony from PKK’s Şemdin Sakık
  13. ^ Orhan Miroğlu, Today's Zaman, 8 November 2012, Unsettling witness in Ergenekon case