Observation Report On The Attacks To The Peace Tents İn Suruç-Alizera (Çengelli) And Birecik-Ziyaret Villages Of Urfa Province On July 19-21, 2014 And The Visit Report On The Peace Tents İn The Border Line in Birecik-Ziyaret Village On July,23 2014.
On 9th July 2014, Ziyaret village of Birecik district of Urfa and on 14th July 2014 Alizera village of Suruç district of Urfa, Democratic solution tents were set up by BDP-HDP. As İHD Urfa branch, we visited and saw the tents in their place. We observed that there were 5 tents, it was totally a civil and musical event with doing sound devices and also existence of these tents’ aim was reacting to the ISIS attacks democratically and peacefully.
Aim and Formation of Committee
Our Urfa branch was phoned by citizens and after they had expressed infringement, they demanded help. To investigate and examine assertions in place, present the facts abouth events in correct and objective manner to public opinion, support to protect the most essential human right which is right of life and meeting and protest rights and provide necessary investigations about individuals who did violation of human rights: Our crime scene investigation committee including IHD Urfa branch president Atilla Yazar, branch secretary Nalan Durdu and board member Ronahi Paydaş moved to Suruç on 20th July at 8:30 and went to Birecik district boundary point on 21th July.
Attempts of Committee
The committee took photos of damages and observed crime scene and met the witnesses.
Interviews with the Witnesses
Müslüm Kaplan:The citizens were having good time. Peace messages were being given for anniversary of “Kobani kanton”, to prevent transition of ISIS gangs and to warn government not to support these gangs. Moreover, Kobane people are our relatives. Everybody in Suruç has relatives in Kobane. Therefore, we are uncomfortable to ISIS assaults to Kobane and we are these assaults ourselves. Also, Turkish army attacked in midnight. A terrible gas bomb attack happened and some people were injured. Soldiers set fire our tents on purpose and threw gas shells with aim to people like an enemy.
Mehmet Şahin:We went to the peace tents. When we were going to the border, citizens were firing fireworks and having fun joyfully with music. At that time police and soldier started to open fire through air with real bullets and later they started to shoot around by aiming. My brother Hamit was injured during the attack from his shoulder. After the mass were distrupted, police and soldier set the tents fire and they cut out the tires of municipal vehicle and tractors. The attacks were hostile.
Hamdullah Şengel:In the evening event, we realized that when we close to the border, soldiers switched to attack position. Parliamentarian Ertuğrul Kürkçü’s efforts to negotiations with a high-level supervisor who I thought a colonel in fact it wasn’t clear in darkness, were inconclusive. They determine to attack and in fact, they attacked savagely inhospitably. They attacked by targeting. My friend in front of me was bruised with a plastic bullet. There were extremely heavy pepper gas attacks and it was hard to take breath. The truck, which has 44 KY 438 license plate and belongs to Mardin city hall, was damaged in front of my eyes.
İsmail Kaplan:(Suruç BDP district president) At around 21:30, soldiers began to attack upon masses. The district governor Abdullah Çiftçi never answered our phone calls in spite of repeatedly phone calls. Excessive gas bomb were throw upon masses. Our efforts to dialog with major Ali didn’t resulted. They vandalized everywhere.
Damage Assessment of Committee
As a result of the attack of security forces, 5 tents, sound system, 3 car, 1 water sprinklers truck, 1 tractor, 1 water reservoir and 5 portable toilets became unusable.
Due to thrown gas shells hit different places of bodies 8 people were bruised and women journalist Şehriban Arslan, who is one of the 8 people, was seriously injured and her treatment is continuing.
Opinion and Observation of Committee
When we arrived the place of tents in Alizera village of Suruç district of Urfa, there was an after war scene. Everywhere was ruined and burnt. A very important sign of accepting crime of soldiers is picking up crime tools, gas capsules, which are extremely used last night in early morning to destroy evidences.
There were so many gas capsules were throw that there still hundreds of capsules left in the area. Among these gas capsules there were some whose expiration date were over despite the warning stickers on capsule which says using expiration date over capsules may cause death. We took one of the capsules. Same attacks happened in Ziyaret village in Birecik district by soldiers and polices. This time our route was Birecik. Our committee was stopped when they were close to the Ziyaret village in 21th July. We introduced ourselves to responsible commander and expressed that we wanted to go setting. The commander told us that we had to wait because there was a crime scene investigation. After 3 hours waiting, we were allowed to pass. When we were going through second search point fast and we were stopped at second search point. They stopped us here and they told that they never let us to go beyond this point strictly. Our committee returned to the first search point and we went to next of BDP parliamentarian Sebahat Tuncel, Ayla Akad and BDP Urfa province co-president Celalettin Erkmen. They had been waiting there. The result of our persistence, when we reach crime scene in Ziyaret village, it was like battlefield. Approximately 3 – 4 thousand soldiers and special team surrounded the place. In another places we visited, tents and sound systems were burnt, eleven cars were damaged. Among these 1 water tank and 1 automobile throw off a cliff. In here, our committee made observations and took photos nearly 3 hours.
Another important property of area is that there were some people who might be a jihadist and member of IŞİD/El-Qaeda with high probability in tent city next of the Karkamış dam by observing with binoculars. This area is a transition place for IŞİD/El- Qaeda members.
After our committee transferred its examination to the İHD head quarter, to see the crime scene and talk with victims and witnesses İHD president Öztürk Türkdoğan, deputy chairman Serdar Çelebi, representative of region Şevket Akdemir, İHD MYK member and branch president Raci Bilici went to the crime scene with 2 cars on 23th July. Tent area was removed temporarily so, our committee couldn’t go there but they went to the area in Ziyaret village Birecik district.
With accompaniment of İHD president Öztürk Türkdoğan in the area, these are the investigations, observations and interviews:
In 23th July, when our committee was going to the peace tent in borderline in Ziyaret village in Birecik district, we moved on their journey after id control by gendarme by stopped at 2 control points. When we arrived crime scene, there were burnt tents, damaged cars and people sitting on blankets and people waiting under the awning around clearly. In here an interview was made with Batman parliamentarian Leyla Akad and retinue. Result of this interview it is told us that the reason of harsh intervention to the peace tents tried to placed had been hiding border transition and inputs and outputs of Karkamış camp, which can be easily seen by naked eye, hadn’t wanted to be seen. In our committee’s observations, described things were close to reality. Points that had been telling were serious and they must investigate unconditionally according to us. Especially Karkamış defector camp near the Karkamış dam must be checked to expose activities of Jihadists and related claims. Our committee left the area after staying there a couple of hours.
It is essential that an effective prosecution and investigation about huge economic loses and harsh intervention to the tents made people injured in spite of the fact that democratic solution tents were set on by BDP and HDP in Suruç and Birecik districts border points with informed interior ministry.
By the resaerch of our committee, it is understood that some nation, namely Kurds, were divided into two countries administration physically but they are the same emotionally. The region in which Kurds living called Rojava and people in this region established 3 cantons of self management. 19 July is the establishment day of cantons, at this times Kurds living in Cantons exposed IŞİD attacks who crimes against humanity and they are cooperation with each other so Kurds set up these tents. In this situation blocking the solidarity between relatives is a considerable subject should be questionable. In this regard it is totally not acceptable to intervene these tents according to us.
By the research of our committee at borderline, all refugee camps –especially Karkamış Syrian refugee camp- must be open to check by non-governmental organizations and opposition parties and important claims about these camps must be investigated. Further, militants who are carrying out activities clearly and members of jihadist organizations must be identified and deport. By the 13. Article of Turkish Penal Code, it is necessary to refer investigation and prosecution methods.
Turks, Kurds, Arabs and other ethnic and faith groups living in Turkey have relatives in Syria. Therefore developments in Syria concern people and faiths closely. Therefore Turkey has to have good relationships with Rojava region is governed by self-management system called Cantons. To have good relationships Turkey must open board doors and transition points to contribute improving good relationships. Peace tents showed us that local people have good relationships actually. The government should regard people’s demands and sustain more peaceful path by changing its politics.
The government must provide moral and economic damage by the intervention to the peace tents in Suruç and Birecik districts in border points.