Despite severe oppression, censorship, detentions, arrests and threats, the Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) recently marked its third anniversary, continuing to report on the assaults by the state and the racists against the Kurds from the field. In fact, a recent story MA has been following for days has left the country appalled. The agency’s story has activated the opposition while the parliament was asked to convene in an extraordinary session. It was demanded that a parliamentary investigation committee be formed to investigate the incident.
Following the agency’s story, nongovernmental organizations and human rights activists sent delegations to the region where the incident took place. The MA story also caused national and international media to send more than 100 reporters to the region. The allegations have also drawn attention from Europe. A delegation from the European Commission was sent to the region, it was reported, to write a report concerning the allegations.
After the negative reactions of hundreds of thousands of social media users and their inquiries as to whether or not this incident occurred, the government has held one press conference after another. The person in the highest position of power in the country said these claims would be urgently investigated. He said those who deemed this kind of treatment proper to the villagers would be punished in the most severe manner. Cabinet ministers in charge of security and law enforcement said that legal and administrative investigations have been launched. They spoke at the airport just before they were leaving for the location.
According to the allegations, which had a deep impact on the people of the country and the government, troops detained two villagers who were later thrown from a helicopter. MA reported that one of the hospitalized villagers lost consciousness while the other is in critical condition.
Well, of course, if we enter the real world, nothing resembling the aforementioned reaction took place. There was no social impact on anyone. The local authorities have not even felt the need to post a tweet about this horrible claim, let alone the government or those in the top positions of power. So far, no investigation has been launched; there has not even been a refutation.
Forget about the opposition standing up for the villagers, none of them, not even the leader of the main opposition party has uttered a word. To say nothing of the mainstream media’s response, even the alternative media considered this incident a common occurrence. They approached the claims with suspicion.
In other words, the news stories about two villagers thrown out of a helicopter by troops, the statements by the villagers, nor the medical report from the hospital had even the slightest effect.
Let us take a look at what happened through the story written by MA reporter Cemil Uğur:
VAN – Two villagers from Van, Osman Şiban and Servet Turgut, have been tortured after being detained, while medical reports proved that they were thrown out of a helicopter. The villagers were detained on September 11 by troops in the Çatak district of the eastern province of Van during a military operation. They were found in the intensive care unit, two days later, at the Van State Hospital. Osman Şiban (50), a father of eight children, and Servet Turgut (55), a father of seven children, were thrown out of a helicopter as documented by medical reports.
Osman Şiban was discharged from hospital on Sept. 20 after being moved to a normal hospital room on Sept. 17. Photographs of Osman Şiban show marks of torture on his face. His discharge report said he was brought to the hospital with a complaint of “traumatization after falling from a helicopter.” In the “complaint” section of the report, under ICU, “falling down from a height” was written. The report also said that “the security units informed the health units after the fall from a height occurred and the patient was brought to the emergency unit by emergency ambulance services.”
In the “story” section of the report, signed by Brain and Nerve Surgeon E.B., the patient was taken to the emergency department due to “falling down from a height.” Several medical interventions were done to Şiban, as listed on the report. “The patient was brought to the emergency department with injuries that occurred after falling from a helicopter. The emergency medicine specialist wanted to make an on-site diagnosis. The patient was attended to in the E.R.”
Through this medical report, the claim that “they were thrown from a helicopter” was verified. The medical report said that Şiban was recovering from the damages and he was taken to a normal room from the intensive care unit. There was less blood congestion in his elbow and a decrease in the bruising around his eye.
Osman Şiban was taken to a private hospital on September 11 before he was admitted to the Van State Hospital. In that report from the private hospital, there was no reference to falling from a helicopter, but his general condition was marked as “moderately bad condition.” The report said Şiban had bruises in both eyes, and trauma-related swelling in the head, neck and face areas. He was also vomiting blood. When the private hospital stated that the patient needed to be in an intensive care unit, Şiban was transferred to Van State Hospital.
Servet Turgut (55), father of seven, who was also detained in the same operation, is still being treated at the hospital. Turgut is in critical condition. In the trauma report for Turgut, it was stated that troops first took him to a private hospital, then to Van State Hospital. It was noted that “the unnamed patient was brought in due to fall from a height. Intubated patient.”
The information that the person “fell from a high place” was provided by the troops who brought the unconscious people to the hospital.
There is actually no need to make a cliché comparison such as, “Just think what would have happened if such an incident took place in a European country.” I will also not attempt to ask the question, “Imagine what would have happened if this incident took place in any province west of Van, for instance in Trabzon, Çanakkale, Kayseri, Çorum, Ankara, Kocaeli or Istanbul.”
Would an allegation that such behavior was inflicted on villagers in any of the provinces mentioned above have been adequate to upset the government, the opposition and society? By all means, yes.
However, such an “allegation” comes from afar, from the most eastern province of Van. The hospital report confirms that the villagers were pushed from a height. This matches exactly with HDP Van deputy Murat Sarısaç’s statement based on witness testimony.
But the government does not feel the need to launch an investigation, let alone make a denial. Nothing is going to happen — in this course of events, anyway. Nobody actually cares. The topics the opposition is focusing on are all Europe-related, in any case. Society has been transformed into a non-existing society.
Thus, what do the blood-blistered eyes of Osman Şiban and the non-existent recollection of what happened to him even represent? To whom and what do they even mean?