A life changing Epoch
In 2003, (aged 20) I was living in Miami Florida when a false rape allegation was made by a Kurdish-Turkish family living in Maimi/FL, originally from the City of Kars, Turkey. It is a region that often makes the headlines with violence towards women and honor killings.
The woman's big brother was a mechanic who used to service our cars, and therefore my mother and I were both acquaintances with him. Once he had discovered that I was a member of a wealthy Turkish family, he decided to trap me into marrying one of his sisters. Later on, I discovered that he brought one of his sisters from Turkey, signing her up to a language school for the very purpose of matching her with me.
A week after the false accusation, the young woman, Nermin Karga was found dead while I was still being detained during the investigation. It went on records as a suicide. At first, I thought it was a suicide triggered by the woman feeling guilty for making a false claim, thinking that she has perhaps ruined my life. However, almost a year after, in 2004, my family was approached by her big brother Ismet Karga (Johne Kars) demanding 'blood money'. My mother was told by him that ''they needed to sacrifice their sister because of the shame I caused to their family''. Once I heard that familiar phrase, now I was convinced that this was no suicide, it was indeed an honour-killing.
The police in Miami dropped the case against me, due to lack of admissible evidence. A few key evidences in my favor were;
CCTV footage of the elevator and the lobby of my apartment building showing the woman was extremely affectionate in the elevator and the lobby area as we were leaving the building after the alleged assault.
The doctor's report showed there were no signs of physical force. DNA test results were also Negative.
Her statement to the police and to the doctor given within the same day -four days after the alleged incident- did not match in terms of the main details of what has supposedly happened.
,The case was dismissed in the USA.
Traditionally, in some areas of Turkey, if a man has intercourse with a virgin woman, he is expected to marry her. I believe this was why she was forced to make this false accusation. One year later, in 2004, the woman's brother Ismet Karga (Johne Kars) called my mother demanding to be paid $400,000 “blood money” or rather he would reopen the case again in Turkey. A special law code gives Turkey jurisdiction over the matters that happen between two Turkish citizens if the case was not tried in the jurisdiction in which it took place.
Since the initial charges were dismissed in 2003, I was technically never tried in USA. Although legal scientific opinions from distinguished Professors of Law argued the opposite, the court ignored it.
In 2005, Turkey requested my extradition from USA, and I was extradited to Turkey. I was detained in custody in the USA for 7 months during the extradition period. I was detained for another year in Turkey while the case awaited trial.
In 2008, in light of all the material evidence, the Turkish court found me Not Guilty of rape.
Turkish law requires that all cases be reviewed by the Court of Appeals. In almost every case, the verdict is upheld. The timeline between the original case and the review is many years; in this case, the Court of Appeals reviewed my case in 2014 (6 years after the original acquittal).
It's Getting Fishy:
Due to an error made by a Turkish police officer who narrated the elevator video footage for the review of the court back in 2005, the Court of Appeals overturned the videotape footage which held the evidence that strongly refuted the woman's claim. However, without this solid evidence, the original Not Guilty ruling was overturned. During retrial, I demanded the video to be reviewed so the obvious mistake could be corrected. My requests were declined without a reason.
Naturally, I appealed again and the case was sent to the Court of Appeals for the second time in 2015. I left it at this point thinking that the obvious factual mistake would be corrected during the appeal. Although, as required by law, my lawyer was sent a notice of the outcome of the appeal, he had died in the intervening years. I found out about the approval of the conviction in late 2017. The case I fought, and was long acquitted for, was now a conviction.
I immediately sought to appeal the decision both in the Court of Appeals and also in the Constitutional Supreme Court of Turkey. My appeals were declined. I also applied for a retrial to the local court in 2017 showing the obvious factual error made by the court officer in 2005 when he was narrating the CCTV footage, yet it was denied.
There is an official police note from Aventura PD showing the time codes of the CCTV footage of me and the woman being identified (while we were in the elevator to leave the building), and then, there is the time codes where we were identified by the Turkish police officer in the narration of the same CCTV footage. The time codes do not match. The mistake is obvious. There is a Scientific Legal Opinion, that explains it in Turkish and in English. The 'Not Guilty' verdict was reversed based on that simple mistake. Once this detail is investigated it will be clear whether the trial was fair and whether justice will be served by returning me to Turkey where I will face additional religious and political charges brought by the Pro-Islamic Turkish government.
This incident happened in 2003. The case was dismissed in the USA in 2003. Later I was also acquitted in Turkey, and cleared my name for the second time in 2008. I had a clean criminal record until late 2016. However, in 2017 when I was in Canada, thinking that I have proven my innocence not once but twice on this very same case, I learned that things have changed. I was told that I now have a 10+ years of conviction on this case while there was no new evidence.