The Turkish president’s close confidant and long-time ally Metin Külünk, a man who runs clandestine operations in Europe and helps set up front organizations abroad from his base in Istanbul, was a gunrunner in the Iran-linked Raiders (Akıncılar) group, court documents obtained by Nordic Monitor have shown.
According to the case file concerning the murder of Uğur Mumcu, a leftist journalist who was killed in 1993 by Turks who were trained by Iran’s secret service, Külünk was profiled as a radical Islamist militant who was also a member of the Islamic Liberation Army (İslam Kurtuluş Ordusu), an illegal organization that adopted the Iranian Khomeini regime as a role model.
The information about Külünk was obtained from convicted felon Ihsan Naz, Külünk’s comrade-in-arms in the Raiders group, who gave a statement to the police on October 19, 1982. Naz escaped Turkey with the help of Iranian consular officer Habibullah Imami on December 14, 1981, when the court released him pending trial on felony charges after five months in jail. The court returned a guilty verdict and sentenced him to three years in prison.
Suspect’s statement that reveals how Metin Külünk was in charge of guns in a militant organization:Metin_Kulunk_Raiders_cell1
Naz did not want to serve more time and fled to Iran by illegally crossing the border from Van province. He obtained a confidential letter from an Iranian consular officer certifying that he was a man who could be trusted. The letter helped him clear road checks when he was stopped by Iranian revolutionary guards in Iranian territory. He was provided with military training during his stay in Iran and received lectures on the Iranian revolution.
He was detained and interrogated when he returned to Turkey. In his statement he said the Raiders group had set up teams for bombings, murders and drive-by shootings and that Külünk was in charge of guns in the third team, of which Naz was a part. The team was led by a man named Ali Naci, and Külünk was his deputy. “The number of weapons [we have} would sometimes increase, sometimes they would decrease. Külünk knows about this [arms] and the [terror] incidents the team was involved in better,” Naz told the police.
Metin Külünk provided arms training to other militants in Istanbul:Metin_Kulunk_Raiders_cell2
Külünk also trained others in arms in the basement of a student dormitory in the Fatih district. He was among those Raiders who participated in pro-Khomeini demonstrations in front of the Iranian Consulate General in Istanbul in 1981. His elder brother Necdet was also a member.
The group’s links to Iran were managed by Imdat Kaya, a Turkish national who had been in contact with intelligence agents posted as consular officers at the Iranian Consulate General in Istanbul. Kaya was head of the sixth team in the organization and worked closely with Külünk.
Many militants in the terrorist cell were provided with military training in Iran during their stay. When they ran into trouble with the law in Turkey, they were sheltered in Iran, with some receiving employment in anti-Turkey propaganda units run by the mullah regime. The Raiders run their own illegal Sharia courts to punish people.
The group had international links with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Germany’s Islamic Youth, Afghanistan’s Hezb-ul Islam and Iran’s Hizbu Jumhuri Iran. According to Naz, representatives from these foreign organizations used to come to Turkey to meet and talk to the Raiders. In Turkey, the group was supportive of the Nationalist Salvation Party (Milli Selamet Partisi, or MSP), the former party of today’s Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The MSP was established by Necmettin Erbakan, the founder of political Islam in Turkey and a mentor to Erdoğan. The MSP was shut down but continued to operate under different names as a political party, aligned with Iran’s mullah regime.
An arms cache was kept by Metin Külünk:Metin_Kulunk_Raiders_cell3
The Raiders were subject to a ban in Turkey based on several judicial investigations before 1980. It faced a further crackdown in the aftermath of a military coup on September 12, 1980. It was given new life when Erdoğan came to power in the November 2002 elections. Külünk had worked in the Istanbul branch of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for years until he was elected as member of parliament on the AKP ticket in the 2011 elections.
He was tasked by Erdoğan with running the AKP’s overseas operations and helped set up front organizations such as the Union of International Democrats (UID), the long arm of Turkey’s AKP, which has some 300 branches across Europe. Külünk was one of the key operatives who provided money to a right-wing gang called Osmanen Germania in Germany to purchase weapons, organize protests and target critics of the Turkish leader.
In Turkey his name came up as a suspect in several police investigations, from a pro-Iran organized crime syndicate to al-Qaeda and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) between 2008 and 2013. However, his legal troubles disappeared when Erdoğan intervened in the cases and whitewashed his crimes. Külünk, now 60 years old, continues to run his operations from Istanbul, mainly focusing on youth groups in Turkey and abroad with support from Erdoğan.
The full 11-page statement of Ihsan Naz:Ihsan_Naz_statement