Özgür Dengiz (born 1980) is a Turkish serial killer and cannibal. Captured on September 14, 2007 in Ankara, he admitted killing two men, attempting to murder another man and cannibalising one of his victims. He is nicknamed the "Cannibal of Ankara".
Özgür Dengiz was born to Satılmış, a non-commissioned officer and veteran of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and Sultan, a seamstress. He fought with his parents constantly, and often ran away from home. He did not continue his education after finishing middle school.
When he was 17, he killed one of his friends during an argument, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He served three years of the sentence before being released on parole.
He then joined the army at his father's insistence. During his military service, he was hospitalized several times for psychological problems.
After completing his service, he returned to Ankara. His mother opened a tailor shop for him; however, he did not stop by even briefly.
On June 5, 2007 Dengiz killed Sedat Erzurumlu, a computer engineer, who angered him by saying they could not afford to buy the laptop they had been looking at. Dengiz stole two laptops from the store, and took also his victim's mobile phone with him. Later on, Dengiz tried to sell one of the laptops, but was cheated out of the money. He kept the other one at home.
On August 9, 2007, he met Abbas İnan at the public garbage dump in Mamak, Ankara, and shot him eight times in the head and stomach. İnan survived, however.
On September 12, 2007, Dengiz shot a garbage collecter at the Mamak Dump. A few hours later, he met Cafer Er, a 55-year-old municipal worker, and killed him after a brief conversation by shooting him in the head twice from behind. He dragged his victim's body off and put it in his car. Then, he skinned the corpse with a cleaver; he ate some of it raw and put the rest in his bag. He wrapped the body in a cloth and put it in the trunk. He abandoned the corpse at the Mamak Dump and returned to the apartment he shared with his parents. He gave a piece of flesh to stray dogs outside his apartment. He put the remaining flesh in the refrigerator.
Cafer Er had been missing for days when his corpse was discovered in the Mamak Dump. On closer examination, it became apparent that he had been murdered, his body mutilated and large chunks of flesh cut from the soft parts of his body. Further investigation revealed that Er had last been seen arguing with a young man in the park he was responsible for keeping clean.
The police soon traced Dengiz with the help of recording of calls Dengiz made with the mobile phone he had stolen from his second victim Erzurumlu, but lost at the last murder scene. They conducted a search of his apartment for evidence, and discovered fresh meat in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They took samples for analysis, which proved the positive identification of a human arm, buttock and thigh.
Questioning and arrest
Dengiz showed no remorse for his crimes, saying he was irresistibly drawn to eating human flesh. The only emotion he is said to have exhibited as he explained his behavior was to break into fits of laughter. He said he would have kept killing had he not been caught.
After making his statement, Dengiz was arrested by the court, pending trial.
Cannibalism in Islam
Dengiz's crimes caused public outcry in Turkey, where cannibalism is rarely acknowledged (or, indeed, mentioned) because of strong cultural taboos.
According to Fazile Zahir, a Turkish Cypriot journalist:
"Cannibalism has occurred in serial-killing cases in Christian countries, but Islam's taboos against meat that has not been killed in a halal manner and the insistence that man is sacred (as he is God's image) seem to have stopped it occurring here. Dengiz appears to be Turkey's first man-eater and perhaps one of its few psychopaths."