Incident

Claims that Orhan Arslan (16), Muhammet Aydemir (15) and İsmail Kaya, an HPG militant a.k.a. Destan Serhat, were victims of extrajudicial execution by the Special Operation Forces on 13th of August 2015, in Ağrı, Diyadin district.

Formation and Objective of the Committee

A committee has been formed to investigate the claims of extrajudicial execution in Ağrı Diyadin district.

The committee was composed of;

– HRA Vice chairman and Diyarbakır branch chairman Raci Bilici

– HRA Central Board member and Eastern-Southeastern Anatolia regional manager Abdusselam İnceören

– HRA Central Board member and Malatya branch Chairperson Servet Akbudak

– HRA Central Board member and Erzurum branch Chairperson Medeni Aygül

– HRA Doğubeyazıt representative Mehmet Nuri Taşdemir

– HRA Representation of Ağrı;

The committee has, following its formation, gone to Diyadin on August 14, 2015 and started the investigation. The mission has observed the general status of the district and has conducted interviews with the families of the victim children, witness citizens, the district governor of Diyadin (Mekan Çeviren) and the governor of Ağrı, Musa Işın.

As the mission entered the district at 13.00, they observed that all stores were closed and that citizens were not going out to the streets.

Nuri Taşdemir, HRA Doğubeyazıt Representative and committee member, stated that they have formed a committee of 3 people which went to the district and started investigations right after the incident. Taşdemir told; “After hearing the news about an armed conflict followed by the execution of civilians we formed a committee with HRA Doğubeyazıt representatives, Ruken Ulaş and Recep Altındağ and me (Mehmet Nuri Taşdemir). This committee went to the district, where the incident was claimed to take place. According to our observations and interviews with the witnesses, we have found out that the conflict started at around 21:00 and did not last long, but that hours before the conflict there were exceptional conditions in the district. Armored vehicles have been deployed in many parts of the district, while some were patrolling. These conditions have startled the citizens. During the conflict, one unidentified person died. According to the interviews made with the witnesses, that one person was captured wounded but then executed. Approximately one hour after the incident, in the wood yard of a local bakery which is located in the opposite direction of the conflict, Muhammed Aydemir (15) and Orhan Arslan (16) were found dead as unarmed civilians.”

Victims of the Incident

*Muhammed Aydemir (15 years of age) – (Student / Baker)

*Orhan Arslan (16 yaşında) – (Baker)

*HPG militant İsmail Kaya, with a code name of Destan Serhat (A citizen registered in Van, Erciş)

 

Interviews with the families of the victims

Our committee has had interviews with the families of the victims of extrajudicial execution; the mother of Muhammet Aydemir, a student of Diyadin Anatolian Religious High School and the mother of Orhan Arslan as well.

– Sevgi Aydemir – (Muhammed Aydemir’s Mother)

“My son started working a week ago. My husband has a herniated disk and he can’t work. One of my children just came from military service and the other is getting ready to go. He used to work and look after all of us, including my other 8 children. My son was innocent and sinless. He used to be a night worker. He would say “Mom, we have a bed there, we’re OK” He was working for 25 liras a day. And then there was this conflict. He came home at 19.00 and gave me 15 liras and gave 5 liras to his little brother. He said “Mom, this 5 lira remaining, that’s my allowance”. He went out to the bakery to carry carry some woods at around 19.30. When the conflict started, I called my son. He said “Mom, I’m hiding in the woodshed with one of my friends.” I couldn’t go there because of the conflict. After it all ended, my son was still talking to me. A panzer came in, and the officers knew my son was working at the bakery. But still, they killed both of them and dressed them up in guerilla outfits. I do know that my son had nothing to do with these kind of things. I’m Kurdish, and I would tell you if he did; but no, he did not. We are proud people. Even when we have no bread to ear, we still wouldn’t ask anyone for some. We only ask from our God. He would save up 10 liras and buy a few pairs of socks for his brother, telling me to put those in his baggage when he was going to military service. He was the only one that was working in our family. His father can’t work, he used to look after us. They killed my son on purpose, and I will be in search for justice.”

– Behice Arslan (Orhan Arslan’s mother)

“My son was working for 7 months. I called him at the they of the incident. He didn’t answer. I understood that something was going wrong. We couldn’t go out to the streets because of the conflicts. At around 06.00 in the morning I went out and saw that my son’s dead body was next to his friend’s, Muhammed’s. My son used to hand out breads everywhere, even to the police. They knew my son. He was 16, and he was innocent.

Interviews with the Witness Citizens

Our committee has had an interview with the family living in the top floor of the bakery. Feyzi Kahraman, Aytekin Kahraman, Harun Kahraman, Rıdvan Kahraman and Muhammed Kahraman have all witnessed the incident and they all have been taken into custody for their attestation. We have made an interview with the father of the mentioned citizens, İsmet Kahraman.

İsmet Kahraman – (Witness)

“Two of my sons have witnessed the incident. That’s the reason for them being taken into custody. At the time of the incident they were bringing the animals from the pasture. The Special Operation Forces entered the street. At that time, they were in the garden. I hear some sound and the children get murdered when my sons were in the garden. It was around 22.30. The conflict occurred at 21.30. After the conflict ended, Special Operation Forces entered the streets. Of course, these are our implication based on what we have heard and our impressions. They are the ones that truly know how things happened, because they saw what happened. One of my brothers, who has also witnessed the incident is here as well. They battered and took five of us into custody. Even a 12 year old kid is in custody right now. After the incident, they started seeing everywhere as the target. Our house happened to be the first to be intervened. We think they chose this street on purpose because before the police station was seized and so before the conflict started, armored vehicles have patrolled the streets for many times. We are concerned. They can arrest any of us, in spite of our innocence. We know, because we experienced these before. Everyone knew these children and their families are extremely poor. They were not supporters of PKK, not even HDP! These children had nothing to do with politics. It can also be seen on television, the kids were sitting in front of the bakery and when they heard the gun sounds they tried to walk away.”

According to a news agency, the witnesses have had these statements on 13th of August.

Recep Birgül – (Owner of the Bakery)

“The police, without doubt, slaughtered them on purpose. We heard gunshots in the evening. I was with one of my other baker friends so I was not in the bakery but as soon as I heard the incident I quickly ran to see what happened. And that was when I saw the dead bodies of the children. I have 7 employees. These two victims were my employees as well. Both of them, they lived a life in poverty and they were in need. They were obedient and Muhammet was a student as well. He used to work in the bakery in summers.

Nihal Kahraman

“At the time of the conflict we were next to the Murat River as our animals just came back from the uplands. After the conflict, my husband, my brother in law and my son went home to tie the animals. That was when the panzer came next to our house. My husband closed the lights because of fear. There, they took him and beat him up with the butt end of their rifles. As this was happening, I tried to stop my son from involving this insane incident as they were firing around, randomly. They would have killed my son as well. As they took my husband, we attempted to get out a little but then we heard the gunshots. Both of the children were carrying wood from the basement of the bakery. They killed them both and then raided our house. They pointed the gun at my head and said, “If you move, we will shoot you too.” They arrested every man in the house. Those kids were working in the bakery. We used the chat everytime I bought some bread. I even talked with Orhan yesterday. They both were working hard for bread and butter.

Filiz Kahraman

“They tried to dress up our arrested relatives in guerilla suits. My brother in law, Feyzi resisted wearing them, and so he was beaten up. They did this to those two kids as well. They first killed them, and then dressed them in guerilla outfit.”

Interviews with Official Authorities

Head Official of Diyadin – Mekan Çeviren

Our committee has had an interview with Head Official of Diyadin, Mekan Çeviren at around 14:30. The District Police Chief has accompanied Çeviren in the interview.

Çeviren told our committee that PKK militants have been attacking several state buildings which caused the armed forces to respond resulting in a conflict that killed 3 people. He also told us that his own apartment was assaulted with a rocket launcher. He claimed that the casualties were “terrorists.”

During the interview our committee gave information about the interviews made with the families of the murdered children, and stated that they have been convinced that the children had no part in terrorist activities.

The officer told us that the children may be YDG-H members and that they will further investigate the issue.

Governer of Ağrı; – Musa Işın

Our committee has made an interview with the Governer of Ağru, Musa Işın at around 17.00.

Governer Işın claimed that they had intelligence that PKK militants were going to attack the district and so that the armed forces responded causing a conflict of 3 killings. He said that the casualties were militants, and that they had assaulted the armed forces with “glock” handguns. He claims that these guns were found next to them. He also added that because of the blackouts armed forces had to fire where the gun shots were heard and that he has been suffering greatly from these incidents. He said that acts of violence should immediately stop. He further claimed that PKK was focused on Ağrı; as general elections are getting closer and that the state has to take necessary steps towards protecting its citizens.

During the interview our committee gave information about the interviews made with the families of the murdered children, and stated that they have been convinced that the children had no part in terrorist activities.

The governor stated that they also know that those two civilians have no contact with the PKK militants, but he added, we will be further investigating this issue.

Implications and Opinions

After the armed conflict which took place in the province of Ağrı;, Diyadin county, in 12th of August 2015 and at 21:30, following the claims about the extrajudicial execution of two civilian children, our committee have come up if these implications following its investigation on the issue.

– There has been an armed conflict in Ağrı; Diyadin on 12th of August 2015 at 21:30. The conflict lasted for a short time and an HPG militant was captures alive but then he was executed without trial. These incidents have created a reasonable concern in our committee.

– It has been confirmed that there was intelligence regarding the conflict and so armored vehicles have patrolled the district at noon time. These incidents caused uneasiness in the public.

– After the conflict, armed forces have entered streets located in the opposite direction of the conflict. Nearby shops were damaged.

– We have a considerable concern because of the claims of their families on the extrajudicial execution of Orhan Arslan (16) and Muhammed Aydemir (15) who were working in Umut Bakery. The children were scared of the conflict and so they hid in the basement of the bakery.

– Our committee has confirmed that the prosecutor did not do the required investigation and the bodies of the children stayed on the floor for 7 hours and they were taken away by the armed forces.

– We have further confirmed that the armed forces have raided the nearby households. The witnesses to the incident, including a 12 year old child were taken into custody and by doing so the incident was trying to be concealed. Also, we have confirmed that the armed forces tried to dress up these citizens with HPG militant outfits, but as they denied and resisted, this attempt was failed.

– Our committee has also confirmed that the victims of extrajudicial execution had nothing to do with politics and they were innocent citizens, struggling to help their families by bringing food on the table.

Questions to be answered

Our committee is looking forward to the answers of the following questions:

– What kind of a threat did the frightened children, hiding in a basement pose to the Special Operation Forces? Did the children hav the opportunity to express themselves before being executed?

– What is the justification for taking the witnesses into custody? Is it true that they were forced to put on HPG militant outfits? If so, what is the justification?

– Why didn’t the prosecutor run an investigation? Why were the children kept in the scene for 7 hours? Why were the bodies taken away before a prosecutor investigated the scene?

– By what means did the Governorship of Ağrı; published a statement saying that the victims, who happened to be civilian children, were ” 3 terrorist, who were captured dead with their weapons” in spite of the fact that there has been no investigation to clarify the incident.

Suggestions

– An investigation should be held to question the incidents of extrajudicial execution and heavy violation of human rights in Ağrı, Diyadin. Throughout the investigation, the responsible officers should be discharged.

– Governorship of Ağrı should remove the statement that claims that “3 terrorist were captured alive with their weapons.” They should also publish a press statement informing the removal and a new statement should be published after the investigation

– The Governorship of Ağrı; should take the necessary steps to avoid further incidents of extrajudicial execution and eliminate the possibility of such other human rights violations.

 

HRA Doğubeyazıt Represantation

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