List of assassinated people from Turkey

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The following is an incomplete, chronological list of people from Turkey murdered by assassins mainly on political and religious grounds. Many were critical public servants and intellectuals assassinated by far-right proponents of an army-controlled Turkish Republic.[1] Many of the victims have historically been intellectual proponents of laicism and the strict separation of religion and state in Turkey, as defined in the constitution, and diplomats who were victims of militant attacks outside of Turkey.[2]

Mustafa Suphi[edit]

  • 28 January 1921: Mustafa Suphi was the founder of the Communist Party of Turkey. Suphi and his 14 comrades were assassinated while they were being sent to Erzurum for trial.[3]

Sabahattin Ali[edit]

  • 2 April 1948: Sabahattin Ali was a writer and critical intellectual who was assassinated at the Bulgarian border while fleeing from Turkey. He had been imprisoned by Republic of Turkey.


Mehmet Baydar and Bahadır Demir[edit]

  • 27 January 1973: Mehmet Baydar was Turkey's consul general in Los Angeles, and Bahadır Demir his deputy, in 1973. Shot down by Kourken Yanigian in a Santa Barbara hotel who had invited them there on the pretext of a donating a painting to the Turkish government. Yanigian, sentenced to life imprisonment, was amnestied in 1984 and died shortly afterwards.

The event is considered to be the first in a decade-long chain of organized attacks against Turkish diplomats by Armenian militant groups.[4]

Daniş Tunalıgil[edit]

  • 22 October 1975: Turkey’s Vienna Ambassador Daniş Tunalıgil was murdered by three Armenian gunmen raiding the Embassy.[5]

Ismail Erez[edit]

  • 24 October 1975: Turkey’s Paris Ambassador İsmail Erez and his driver Talip Yener were murdered by Armenian militants in the vicinity of the Embassy by car bomb.[6][7][8]

Taha Carim[edit]

Bedrettin Cömert[edit]

  • 11 March 1978: Art historian, scholar, literary critic and translator. He was serving on a committee investigating right-wing terror squads at his university.[9] Shot dead in his car with his wife severely wounded by Rıfat Yıldırım, Üzeyir Bayraklı and by another man nicknamed "Ahmet" who were ultra-nationalists and directly funded by the Turkish state. Ankara 5. Tribunal Correctionnel decided that Abdullah Çatlı was the responsible. But nobody was punished as a result.

Doğan Öz[edit]

  • 24 March 1978: Public prosecutor who wrote a report for Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit accusing clandestine groups (later named as Ergenekon) of creating chaos in order to lay the ground for a military takeover.[10] Haluk Kırcı, a Grey Wolves activist, was implicated in his assassination.

Abdi İpekçi[edit]

  • 1 February 1979: Editor of the major national newspaper Milliyet.[11] Killed in his car in the street, where he lived, by Mehmet Ali Ağca, a member of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves, who would later try to assassinate the Pope, John Paul II in 1981.

Metin Yüksel[edit]

  • 23 March 1979: Turkish Islamist political and social activist. Shot to death outside of Istanbul's Fatih Mosque by nationalist gunmen while leaving Friday prayers.

Cevat Yurdakul[edit]

28 September 1979: Turkish prosecutor.

Cavit Orhan Tütengil[edit]


Ümit Kaftancıoğlu[edit]

  • 11 April 1980: TV producer, writer and columnist of the newspaper Cumhuriyet. Gunned down in front of his home in Istanbul as he was about to get in his car.[13]

Gün Sazak[edit]

  • 27 May 1980: customs and tobacco minister of Turkey for a short time, right wing politician. Murdered in front of his car while putting out baggage. Radical leftist Turkish militant group Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Nihat Erim[edit]

  • 19 July 1980: Prime Minister of Turkey in 1971-1972, for almost 14 months. Shot to death by two gunmen in İstanbul. Radical leftist Turkish militant group Dev Sol (Revolutionary Left) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kemal Türkler[edit]

  • 22 July 1980: Socialist trade union leader and left-wing politician. Murdered in front of his home by ultra-right militants.

Şarık Arıyak[edit]

Kemal Arıkan[edit]

  • 28 January 1982:Turkish diplomat Kemal Arıkan shot dur death by two Armenian origin gun men in Los Angeles, United States.

Atilla Altıkat[edit]


Muammer Aksoy[edit]

Çetin Emeç[edit]

  • 7 March 1990: Journalist, editor-in-chief and chief columnist of the liberal rightist daily Hürriyet. Shot to death in front of his house. Case remains unresolved.

Turan Dursun[edit]

  • 4 September 1990: Former member of clergy, descended from Islam and wrote to criticize Islam and promote atheism. Shot to death in front of his house. Case remains unresolved.

Bahriye Üçok[edit]

Memduh Ünlütürk[edit]

  • 7 April 1991: Retired General. Shot dead at his house.

Kemal Kayacan[edit]

  • 29 July 1992: Admiral (retired), former commander of the Turkish Navy. Shot dead in his house.

Musa Anter[edit]

Zübeyir Akkoç[edit]

Uğur Mumcu[edit]

  • 24 January 1993: Research journalist, columnist of the major newspaper Cumhuriyet. Killed in front of his home in Ankara by a bomb installed in his car.[18]

Cem Ersever[edit]

  • 4 November 1993: ex-JITEM commander who had begun speaking to the press.

Onat Kutlar[edit]

Metin Göktepe[edit]

  • 8 January 1996: Metin Goktepe Nuvola-inspired File Icons for MediaWiki-fileicon-doc.pngDOC, a left wing journalist of Evrensel was beaten to death by Turkish police while covering civil unrest in the Gazi district of Istanbul. The first case in Turkey where the police were convicted of murder.

Özdemir Sabancı[edit]

  • 9 January 1996: Businessman and a member of the Sabancı family in the second generation. Gunned down in his office in Sabancı Towers, Levent, İstanbul, by assassins hired by the leftist armed group DHKP-C. The general manager of ToyotaSA and a secretary was also killed. They had been given access to the building by Fehriye Erdal, a female member of DHKP-C, who was an employee at that time.

Ahmet Taner Kışlalı[edit]

  • 21 October 1999: Academic, writer. politician, former Minister of Culture and columnist of the newspaper Cumhuriyet. Killed in Ankara by a bomb placed on the windshield of his car.[20][21]


Gaffar Okkan[edit]

  • 24 January 2001: Diyarbakır Police Chief, his driver and four policemen escorting him were shot dead in an attack after they left Diyarbakır Police Department building. Radical Islamic group known as Turkish Hezbollah was suspected.[22]

Üzeyir Garih[edit]

  • 25 August 2001: A prominent Turkish Jewish businessman and a founding partner of the Alarko group of companies. He was stabbed to death in the cemetery of the historic İstanbul quarter of Eyüp.

Necip Hablemitoğlu[edit]

  • 18 December 2002: A Kemalist historian from Ankara University who was killed in an armed attack near his home in Ankara.

Andrea Santoro[edit]

  • 5 February 2006: Father Andrea Santoro was a Roman Catholic priest in Trabzon, murdered in the Santa Maria Church in Trabzon where he served as a member of the Catholic Church's Fidei donum missionary program.

On 5 September 2006 he was shot dead from behind while kneeling in prayer in the church. A witness heard the perpetrator shouting "Allahu Akbar".[1][2] A 16-year-old high school student was arrested two days after the shooting carrying a 9mm pistol. An investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations on stolen weaponry in Iraq revealed that the gun was of the same type used in the supposedly Islamist attack on the Turkish Council of State in 2006.

Mustafa Yücel Özbilgin[edit]

  • 17 May 2006: Council of State member judge. Murdered during a session in the high court in Ankara.[23]

Hrant Dink[edit]

  • 19 January 2007: Armenian-Turkish journalist and editor-in-chief of the weekly Armenian and Turkish language newspaper Agos in Istanbul. Shot dead in front of his newspaper's office.[24]

Necati Aydın, Uğur Yüksel and Tilman Geske[edit]

  • 18 April 2007. Three Christian leaders assassinated, two Turkish Pastors and a German missionary.

İhya Balak[edit]

  • 16 November 2007. Director of Milli Piyango, the Turkish National Lottery, was assassinated in his office by an ex-inspector of his directorate.

Ahmet Yıldız[edit]

Cihan Hayırsevener[edit]

  • 19 December 2009: founder and editor of the daily Güney Marmara’da Yaşam, was shot in a street of Bandırma, Balıkesir Province and died later that day at a hospital in Bursa. He had reported on corruption charges involving the owners of İlkhaber, another daily in the town.[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bawer Çakir, Families of Murdered Intellectuals Follow up Dink Murder Case, Bia News, 8 February 2010
  2. ^ Armenian Terrorism against Turkish diplomatic and non-diplomatic institutions - A Chronological List, 1973 - 1986
  3. ^ Shaw, Stanford J., History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Vol. 2. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 354.
  4. ^ "Events". ASALA Online. 2001-10-06. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  5. ^ "Terrorist Organizations". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "News Summary and Index; The Major Events of the Day International National Metropolitan". New York Times. 1975-10-25. Retrieved 2008-08-27. Ismail Erez, Turkey's Ambassador to France, was fatally shot in Paris by assassins who also killed his chauffeur. 
  7. ^ "Adding Up to an Epidemic". TIME. 1975-11-03. Retrieved 2008-08-27. Two days after the Vienna murder, gunmen in Paris opened fire on a car belonging to the Turkish ambassador to France, Ismail Erez, 56, who died along with his chauffeur. 
  8. ^ "Turkey commemorates martyr diplomats". Turkish Daily News. 1998-05-28. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  9. ^ Ahmad, Feroz. The Making of Modern Turkey, (London: Routledge, 1993), 171.
  10. ^ Hüseyin Gülerce, Spirits of Doğan Öz and Uğur Mumcu ask about Baykal, Today's Zaman, 15 January 2010
  11. ^ Brief biography Archived 2007-02-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Başlarken...". Milliyet (in Turkish). 1999-01-24. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  13. ^ Aydemir, Kadir (2006-07-14). "Bir 'Garip' Kaftancıoğlu". Radikal (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-08-27. 11 Nisan 1980'de Mecidiyeköy'de, küçücük çocuğunu okula götürürken, gün ortasında, kızının gözleri önünde katledilen bu değerli aydınımız  |section= ignored (help)
  14. ^ Gokcer Tahincioglu, Ersan Atar (2000-05-22). "Suspects told the murders". Milliyet. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  15. ^ "Murdered journalist Aksoy commemorated". Turkish Daily News. 2005-02-01. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  16. ^ Zaman, Amberin (2000-05-17). "Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has accused Iran of failing to respond to evidence of Iranian involvement in the murders of Turkish pro-secular writers and academics". Voice of America. Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  17. ^ "Iran accused of aiding Islamist violence in Turkey: report". Agence France Presse. Iran Focus. 2005-12-18. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  18. ^ Public outrage over Mumcu's murder unabated four years later; Foundation carries on Ugur Mumcu's work Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "Yazar Onat KUTLAR, 11 Ocak 1995 de Yaşamını Yitirdi". BirGün (in Turkish). 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  20. ^ "A tragic loss for the nation". Turkish Daily News. 1999-09-22. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  21. ^ Hocaoglu, Selcan. Prominent secularist academic and writer slain in Ankara Archived 2006-02-08 at the Wayback Machine., Associated Press, 23 October 1999.
  22. ^ "BBC News - EUROPE - Crowds mourn slain Turkish officers". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "BBC NEWS - Europe - Judge dies in Turkey court attack". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  24. ^ Paul de Bendern and Thomas Grove (2007-01-19). "Turkish-Armenian editor shot dead in Istanbul". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  25. ^ Birch, Nicholas (19 July 2008). "Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of Turkey's first gay honour killing?". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  26. ^ Bilefsky, Dan (November 25, 2009). "Soul-Searching in Turkey After a Gay Man Is Killed". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  27. ^ Gençkal, Elif (September 9, 2009). "Ahmet Yıldız Murder Case Started. Fugitive Defendant: Yıldız's Father". Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  28. ^ "The killing of Ahmet Yıldız (2008)". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  29. ^ Cihan Hayırsevener, Committee to Protect Journalists
  30. ^ Editor killed by unknown gunmen in Turkey, Committee to Protect Journalists, December 21, 2009