Evidence in Tahir Elçi murder case was covered up: Forensics worker

Four years have passed since the murder of Diyarbakır Bar Head Tahir Elçi, with no suspects being named in the investigation. Forensic Medicine Institute employee Mehtap Altuğ reiterated her remarks from 2016 regarding evidence being covered up in the unsolved murder of Elçi, which was followed by her remarks being included in the investigation file.

Duvar English

A Forensic Medicine Institute worker has said that the evidence in the case into the murder of a prominent bar head in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır was covered up.

The employee, Mehtap Altuğ, reiterated her remarks from 2016 regarding evidence being covered up in the unsolved murder of Diyarbakır Bar Head and human rights activist Tahir Elçi on Nov. 28, 2015.

While there are no suspects in the case into the murder, Altuğ's statement entered the investigation file of the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office as a witness testimony, T24 reported.

Following Altuğ's statement on Aug. 3, 2016, which was branded as a lie and a slander by the institute, her testimony was taken once again on Oct. 11 of this year in Istanbul police headquarters.

"My testimony from 2016 is correct. It belongs to me," Altuğ told the police, which was followed by her remarks being included in the investigation file.

Lawyers from the Diyarbakır Bar have said that there may be other evidence that could have been covered up.

Elçi's murder remains unsolved despite four years have passed since the killing that took place in broad daylight.

A number of prosecutors and inspectors were assigned to the case in the past four years, but to no avail.

Elçi was making a press statement condemning special forces for damaging the base of the famous Four-Legged Minaret in Diyarbakır's Sur during the security operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) when gunshots rang out, killing him on the scene.

The Sur district suffered deeply during the security operations, with its population getting drastically decreased. Turkish authorities almost immediately pointed to the PKK for Elçi's murder.

Before his killing, Elçi had received a number of death threats after saying on private broadcaster CNN Türk that he did not view the PKK as a terrorist organization. He was also facing jail time over his remarks.

While the surrounding security cameras reportedly failed to show the killing, crime scene examinations on the day of the murder were left uncompleted.

The examinations resumed 110 days after the killing.

An expert report was then released on May 4, 2016, which said that it was impossible to determine medically and physically how Elçi was shot and killed with the existing data.

Meanwhile, some footage obtained from the security cameras was determined to have been lost, prompting lawyers to file complaints, but again, to no avail.

The Diyarbakır Bar and lawyers then sent the footage to Forensic Architecture, a research agency based in the University of London, which prepared a report saying that two PKK militants at the scene don't appear to have shot Elçi, but three police officers had a direct line of fire.

The Forensic Medicine Institute, however, refrained from changing its report and ignored the British institution's report.

Elçi was commemorated on the fourth anniversary of his killing on Nov. 28 in Diyarbakır's Sur with the participation of lawyers from a number of bars, as well as main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu and pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers and local administrators.

Speaking during the commemoration, Diyarbakır Bar Head Cihan Aydın said that evidence pointing to the perpetrators were destroyed by forensics workers.