| Turkishpedia  |Apr. 21, 2017|

A man, suspect of HSBC Bank bombing attack, and Al-Qaida member, was arrested while serving as a substitute-imam in Turkey

Z.Ç. who was allegedly an Al-Qaida member and one of the suspects of Istanbul HSBC Bank bombing in 2003, was arrested while serving as a substitute-imam in Alic village of Ilgaz in Cankiri province of Turkey. Z.C. was arrested after his pre-trial in Ilgaz Court where he pleaded guilty.

The Ilgaz Gendermarie team detained Z.C. upon receiving intelligence about Z. C.’s location. Z.C. was released 14 years ago, after his arrest for being involved in the Istanbul HSBC Bank bombing. Then Z.C., an Al-Qaida member went to Afghanistan. After being deported from Afghanistan, a lawsuit was filled against Z.C. for being an Al-Qaida member. The lawsuit was ended with a verdict imprisoning Z.C. for 6 years and 3 months.  Z.C. was arrested after the Gendarmeria detected that Z.C. was serving as an imam in Alic village. Z.C. was sent to prison, after he pleaded guilty for being involved in the HSBC Bank bombing which caused 28 death and more than 300 injured.


It was emphasized in the news in recent days that Z.C. one of the suspects of 15-20 November 2003 terrorist attacks in Istanbul and who has 6 years 3 months of definitive prison sentence, was detained in Cankiri while he is working as a deputy imam in a village of Cankiri located in the center of Turkey.

According to the statement of the local governor of the village: “He has been working in our village for a year. He told us that he had worked in some courses in Istanbul before. Then he took the examinations and was appointed to here for a 3-year tour. His family and children were in Istanbul. He told us that he had left them there because of the education of his children. He is from Kastamonu. We haven’t seen any suspicious behavior of him. He has an excellent Arabic. He prayed always on time. After he leaves the mosque, he didn’t use to speak to anyone and he used to go directly to his house. Before the referendum, he asked permission to take a leave. He went to Istanbul. He was supposed to come back on the referendum day but he called and told us that his grandmother was sick and he wouldn’t be able to come. He came right after the referendum. Then Gendarmerie apprehended him in the village. (1)

Z.C. was arrested on November 27, 2003, in the operations which took place after the terrorist attacks of 15-20 November 2003 in Istanbul. Z.C. was arrested because he was a member of Beyyitel İmam Organization (2) and he said in his testimony that he knew Feridun Ugurlu, the terrorist who committed the terrorist attacks. He was evicted after the trial which took place on June 30, 2004. We don’t know whether he is re-arrested or not but there is news that he attended some of the trials without arrest.


Z.C. was acquitted by 10th High Criminal Court on February 16, 2007. But, Supreme Court of Appeal 9th Criminal Department ruled on to renew the trial due to the fact that there are mistakes in evaluation of the evidences on June 2009 (3).

We don’t know whether he was penalized or not after the re-trial which was completed in 2013. There is news that after his release Z.C. went to Afghanistan to be a member of Al-Qaida then he was deported from Afghanistan and he was penalized for 6 years 3 months because of being a member of Al-Qaida (4).

It is not known how Z.C. became and appointed as a deputy Imam to the village he was arrested. It is known that sometimes Religious Affairs Administration recruits deputy Imams on contract basis for the needed places. But, in order to be a deputy Imam, one must have the requirement for being a civil servant. Moreover, criminal record is also asked for application (5). It is evaluated that under these circumstances, recruitment of Z.C. , who has a criminal record, as a deputy Imam is not overlooked but he was recruited deliberately.

(1) http://www.milliyet.com.tr/koy-muhtari-arapcasi-superdi–gundem-2435933/

(2) http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/4-terorist-de-paramparca-oldu-186236

(3) https://tr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_İstanbul_saldırıları

(4) http://www.diken.com.tr/hsbc-saldirisina-karisan-el-kaide-uyesi-14-yil-sonra-imamlik-yaparken-yakalandi/

(5) https://www.mumsema.org/misafir-sorulari/169177-vekil-imamlik-nedir-sartlari-nelerdir.html


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