Duvar English

The family of a 20-year-old soldier who was recently found dead while doing his military service in a prison in the Aegean province of İzmir has filed a lawsuit following authorities’ contradictory statements on their son’s death.

Osman Özçalımlı, from the eastern province of Kars’ Digor district, was found dead last week while on duty in the Aliağa high security prison in İzmir. Shortly before his death, Özçalımlı had called his father telling him that he was “threatened with death.”  

“Before Osman died, he called his father telling him, ‘Father, they are threatening me with death, they are setting up a trap for me.’ As his death occurred shortly after this, there is the impression that his death did not happen through natural means, but instead he was killed,” the family’s lawyer Fettah Çapkurt told Gazetekars newspaper.

The Özçalımlı family went to the Kars courthouse on Aug. 5 and filed a lawsuit demanding that the incident be enlightened with all of its details.

“Hopefully justice will prevail and suspects will be brought to justice,” father Ahmet Özçalımlı said, while mother Naciye Özçalımlı said, “I do not want other Osmans to die; I do not want other mothers to suffer.”

Following the soldier’s death, Kars Digor district governor, district chief of police and district gendarmerie commander visited the Özçamlı’s family, telling them that their son had suffered a fatal heart attack.

However, the İzmir Forensic Department later told the family that Özçamlı had “fallen from the third floor of the prison ward.”

In the face of these two contradictory statements, coupled with their son’s statement of having been threatened the day before, the family are now demanding to know what really happened.

Meanwhile, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu held a conversation with the father Ahmet Özçalımlı regarding the young soldier’s death.

“When I talked with the father, he told me this: ‘I have spoken several times with my son in Kurdish. He told me that he was exposed to harassment of people calling him a ‘terrorist’ just because he is Kurdish. It is obvious that there is something going on here,” Gergerlioğlu told Gazete Duvar.

Gergerlioğlu also took the case to the agenda of parliament, submitting a parliamentary question demanding to know the circumstances that led to the soldier’s death.

“Who are the people that threatened Osman Özçalımlı with death? Have the camera recordings been analyzed regarding the death of Osman Özçalımlı?” Gegerlioğlu asked in his parliamentary question addressing Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

The HDP deputy also demanded to know the number of soldiers who lost their lives while on duty within the last five years. “What is the reason of their death?” Gergerlioğlu asked.