Concrete poured into Turkish schoolyard where human bones were unearthed

On March 30, many human bones were unearthed during excavations for a new building in the schoolyard in eastern Van province. The construction was halted on the same day, yet it started on April 11 again and concrete was poured in the area where bones are still seen.

The picture shows the area where the human bones remain unearthed.

Kadir Cesur / Gazete Duvar

A large number of human bones were unearthed during the excavation of the foundation for a new school building in the garden of Hüsrev Paşa Primary and Secondary School in the eastern Van province’s İpekyolu district. 

On March 30, the Van Bar Association Human Rights Center (İHM) and the Van Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD) took action and notified the Van Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. After about six hours, the prosecutor went to the scene and stopped the construction work. The prosecutor ordered the area to be taken under protection and the bones to be examined.

Nonetheless, construction operations resumed on April 11. Concrete was poured for the foundation of the building in the area where human bones can still be observed. 

Human bones are still in the area.

Van Bar Association İHM shared a statement on the issue on its social media account. The İHM stated that the investigation of the bones is not finished and that some of the bones have been sent to the Forensic Medicine Institution. The institution said that they have been informed that the area is an old Armenian cemetery according to preliminary findings.

"It is unacceptable to continue construction activities at the excavation site without waiting for the result of the investigations. It is clear that these activities are damaging and overshadowing the investigation. We are meticulously following the investigation process to ensure that the evidence is not destroyed and covered up in order to reveal the truth," the İHM added. 

Speaking to Gazete Duvar about the issue, Van Bar Association Board Member Deniz Yıldız said that they will make a request to Van Metropolitan Municipality and the Directorate of Cemeteries to have the bones collected and buried properly. 

While the construction of the new building continues, education is still going on in the old building. There is only a barrier between the area where human bones are found and the children who spend time in the school garden.

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)