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News > World

Turkish Prime Minister Says Dragging of Kurdish Man's Corpse 'Unacceptable'

  • Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 October 2015

The corpse of a Kurdish man, who was allegedly shot 28 times, was dragged by the neck in the street by an armed vehicle.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday condemned the mistreatment of the body of a dead Kurdish man a day after photos and a video showed a corpse of a man being dragged by the neck in the streets of the southern Turkish city of Sirnak.

“It is unacceptable to treat any corpse this way, even if it is a dead terrorist,” Ahmet Davutoglu said in a live interview with HaberTurk TV about the video. “Our interior ministry … will conduct a comprehensive investigation, not into the incident itself, but into the way in which this incident was reflected to the world.”

On Sunday, a photo and later a video of the incident were shared widely through social media networks. Demirtas shared the photo through his accounts on Twitter and Facebook with the caption: “Take a good look at this photo. It was taken the day before yesterday [Friday] in Sirnak. No one should forget, because we will not forget.”

The photo showed a body in a red shirt and dark trousers, a rope around the neck, being dragged through darkened streets. Meanwhile, the video appeared to have been filmed from inside the vehicle.

RELATED: A History of the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, or HDP, speaking to reporters on Oct. 5, said Davutoglu’s statement about the incident was not “satisfactory.”

“Let me say that this is only one case that was exposed on camera. Very similar incidents are taking place there each day. Imagine what might have been done to the living by those who did this to the dead. That is not meant to say that ‘All security forces are like this and doing this,’ but these are pretty much the practices. It’s been like this for years,” Demirtaş said, urging the resignation of Interior Minister Selami Altınok over the incident.

He also said the Interior Ministry sent two inspectors to the region solely to “cover up” the matter. Later on Sunday, HDP spokesman Cem Bico said the dead man had been identified as Hacı Lokman Birlik, the brother-in-law of a party lawmaker.

Meanwhile, Davutoglu did not confirm or deny the veracity of the photos or the video. Such tactics were allegedly used by Turkish army in the 1980s and 1990s at the height of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds.

The incident comes Davutoglu's Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is bracing for tough elections on Nov. 1, as it looks to regain majority in the country's parliament after losing it in June.

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Less than a month after the elections, the AKP government launched an operation in July against the Kurdish resistance group Kurdistan's Workers' Party, or PKK, in what critics see as a way to discredit the HDP and attract nationalist votes. Davutoglu and the government allege that Birlik was fighting in clashes between security forces and PKK.

The union of Turkish bar associations, the TBB, meanwhile, tasked its human rights center to investigate the “dire” incident.

“No reason should prevent the penalizing of those responsible for these crimes that have trampled on human rights,” the TBB said in a written statement. Calling for the urgent launch of judicial and administrative investigations, the TBB added, “Obstruction of these investigations with unlawful reasoning should definitely be prevented.”

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