(Sabah Newspaper, 20 January 2011)
Two Istanbul policemen, Nadir Y. and Hasan K., have been
arrested for having a role in letting drug baron Mahmut Çelik
arrange for someone else to serve his time in jail. In crime
terminology this is known as 'covering'.
Mahmut Çelik, who owned a number of jewelry stores in
various districts of Istanbul, was taken into custody in 1994
during a drug raid that also nabbed celebrities Fatih Ürek and
Kuşum Aydın. At the time, Çelik, who was not jailed during his
trial, was given a five-year sentence but he fled and disappeared
for nine years. At some point Çelik made an agreement with
someone to serve his sentence and somehow managed to
have an identity card issued with this man's photo and Çelik's
pertinent information on it.
Çelik's stand-in was then delivered to the public prosecutor
in Kumluca, Antalya, on 13 November 2003 by police
officers Nadir Y. and Hasan K. The impersonator was jailed but
then freed a year later when the Turkish government ordered a
pardon for scores of prisoners. The scandal was exposed, however,
by an informer in 2009. Çelik claimed that it was he who served
the jail time but a comparison between his own passport and
drivers license photos and those of the stand-in in the criminal
laboratory proved otherwise.
The Kumluca court tried Çelik on charges of having someone else
serve his jail time and he was sentenced to 10 months in prison
on 8 September 2009. Çelik is also being tried in Istanbul for
countefeitting an official document and if convicted will get
another five years in jail.
Police officers Nadir Y. and Hasan K. were put under surveil-
lance as of 2007 and their work locations were changed. They
were subsequently photographed by the police with Çelik at
luxury bars and saunas.