Investigation launched into CHP MP Tanrıkulu over remarks on Turkish military

A Turkish prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into main opposition CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu who said that the Turkish military once “threw 15 villagers out of a helicopter” and the incident was confirmed by the ECHR. Tanrıkulu’s remarks drew criticism with CHP Spokesperson Öztrak deeming it “unacceptable.”

Duvar English

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on Sept. 9 launched an investigation into main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu over his remarks regarding the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on the alleged charges of “Degrading the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the Institutions and Organs of the State” and “inciting the people to hatred and enmity.”

The move came one day after Tanrıkulu told TV100 during a live broadcast that the Turkish military “is not free from criticism.”

“Isn't this the Turkish Armed Forces that carried out the fascist coup on September 12 (1980)? Isn't this the army that attempted a coup on July 15 (2015), burned villages. (there are) dozens of unsolved murders. There are cases that I follow. Isn't it the TSK that throws 15 villagers out of the helicopter? Confirmed by the decision of the ECHR,” the 60-year-old lawmaker stated.

Tanrıkulu’s remarks drew huge attention as his party criticized him. 

In a statement, CHP Spokesperson Faik Öztrak said, “Diyarbakır Deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu's statements incriminating the Turkish Armed Forces, the apple of our nation's eye, are unacceptable. This issue will be discussed in our authorized bodies.”

The National Defense Ministry also issued a statement, deeming Tanrıkulu's remarks “slander,” and said, “Those who make these slanders, to say the least, in heedlessness and heresy.”

After the criticisms, Tanrıkulu said on Sept. 9 that he referred to the incidents that happened prior to the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“The fact that AKP deputies and administrators launched an institutional lynching campaign against these grave violations ‘against the Kurds,’ which are proven to be crimes against humanity by the decisions of the ECHR, and that they (AKP figures) embrace this on the principle that ‘continuity in the State is essential,’ is once again showing that the AKP is the new owner of the deep state,” Tanrıkulu said and referred to the ECHR decisions. 

“In the first incident, there is a decision about how 11 villagers were made to disappear in a village in Diyarbakır’s Kulp district in October 1993. The state denied that these villagers were made to disappear after being taken away by helicopter. However, the relatives of the 11 missing people witnessed their relatives being put on the helicopter. Villagers were forcibly disappeared. The second case is the ECHR decision regarding the bombing of the Kuşkonar and Koçağıllı villages of Şırnak with warplanes and the killing of 33 villagers. These are not my judgments, but ECHR decisions,” he said.

“The mentality that is trying to lynch me now will also lynch those who say there was a massacre in Roboski ten years later. But the truth does not disappear when you lynch them,” Tanrıkulu added.

A total of 34 civilians, including 19 children, were killed in the airstrikes carried out by the TSK in the Roboski village of the Kurdish majority southeastern province of Şırnak on Dec. 28, 2011. The bombs left bodies dismembered, with families unable to identify their loved ones.

On the other hand, Diyarbakır Bar Association criticized the attacks against Tanrıkulu and said "We condemn the attacks that exceed the limits of criticism and target our former chair and Diyarbakır Deputy Lawyer Sezgin Tanrıkulu. As an institution that has experienced the consequences of this and similar lynching campaigns, we invite the authorities to take the necessary precautions and act responsibly."

Previously, a summary of proceedings was launched against Tanrıkulu over his remark on the allegations that the TSK used chemical weapons in their operations against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

“I watched the footage of the alleged use of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are a crime against humanity. As of tomorrow, I will submit my parliamentary question on the accuracy of the images that support the allegations,” Tanrıkulu said in 2022.