Military rules soldier's death as suicide, family questions bruises and scars on body

The family of a Turkish soldier said to have committed suicide has challenged the official report, saying bruises and scars on their son's body were a sign that “he has been murdered.”

Duvar English

The Turkish military has ruled the death of a 23-year-old soldier as suicide but the family says they do not believe this explanation as their son's body was covered in severe bruises and scars. They have therefore filed a lawsuit at the prosecutor's office for the incident to be uncovered.

“Our son had no problem whatsoever....His wrists had signs of having been tied. He had bruises all over his body; he had been battered. That is also what the prosecutor's office wrote [in report]. He had signs of having been battered in his hips. He had a cleft in his jaw. His back also had severe bruises. I believe that my son has been battered to death,” Hasan Araz, the father of deceased Mustafa Araz, was quoted as saying by Mezopotamya news agency on June 8.

Mustafa Araz was found dead on May 12 near an abandoned building in the northwestern province of Kırklareli's Babaeski district. Araz was doing his compulsory military service at an air military base in the district.

Following his death, the soldier's family was told that their son had committed suicide by jumping from an abandoned building. The family however challenges the authorities' statement saying that their son had no reason to commit suicide.

Father Hasan Araz said that he saw his son's body following the autopsy procedure and severe bruises covering the whole body were a sign that “he has been murdered.”

The family demanded a through investigation into the incident as they suspect that their son's dead body was placed near the abandoned building to give the impression that the death was a suicide.

The Araz family's lawyer Cesim Parlak said that the death was suspicious as it “is against the physical laws for someone to be found fully adjacent due to the [building] wall who is said have jumped from a height of 15 meters.

“Mustafa was found lying on his back. It is impossible for someone to be found in this way who is said to have jumped from a height,” Parlak said.

Parlak said that when he visited the Babaeski district to submit the family's petition for a lawsuit and to talk with the eye witnesses, his actions were closely monitored by the military personnel.

He said that the general of the air force base in question is very closely involved in the incident and conducted meetings with officials, including the prosecutors. “This raises the worry that an investigation cannot be conducted in a health way in such a small district. Also security camera footages from the surrounding crime scene have not been still acquired,” he said.