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A total of 40 skulls believed to be belonging to the victims of unsolved murders were found in a cave in the Dargeçit district of the southeastern province of Mardin.

İrfan Yakut, whose father went missing after being detained in 1993, saw a number of bones in the Gülbiş Cave and applied to the Dargeçit Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for further examinations.

The authorities then carried out examinations in the area and determined that skulls and bones belong to 40 people, while sealing the area off to everyone except Yakut.

Human Rights Association (İHD) Mardin branch officials were blocked from entering the scene.

Commenting on the incident, Yakut said that he asked for further examinations due to the possibility of some of the bones belonging to his father.

“They’ll carry out DNA examinations. We hope that they belong to those seeking them if they’re not ours. The revelation would be good for everyone,” Yakut told Mesopotamia News Agency.

İHD Mardin chair Fevzi Adsız said they believe the skulls belong to victims of unsolved murders in the 1990s, mainly those went missing in the case of Dargeçit JİTEM, a clandestine gendarmerie intelligence unit responsible for dozens of unsolved murders.

Adsız also noted that they will follow the DNA test results.

Mardin Governor’s Office, meanwhile, released a statement on the issue, saying that the provincial tourism authorities were notified “due to the possibility of the skulls belonging to historical periods.”