Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR
An armored vehicle hit 24-year-old Abdulgaffar Dayan when he was walking to a class in the Cizre district of Şırnak, in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southeastern region, on Jan. 24 He passed away in hospital. Now, police are saying that such murders “do not concern the public.”
Witnesses at the scene say that the vehicle that killed Dayan was a protection vehicle for the district governor. However, in the four days since the incident, an official statement has not been issued regarding Dayan’s injury and ultimate death.
After two days of medical treatment in Cizre State Hospital, Dayan passed away on Jan. 26.
When the Şırnak Provincial Police Department was asked how many people had been hit by armored vehicles in the past five years and whether investigations had been opened into the officers driving the vehicles that killed civilians, the department said it was beyond the scope of the right to information.
“Information or documents on the regulation of institutions and organizations, which do not concern the public and only relate to personnel and in-house practices, are excluded from the scope of the right to information,” the police said in their response.
Further, official parliamentary questioning posed to Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şırnak Deputy Nuran İmir regarding civilian deaths by armored vehicles has not been addressed.
In recent years, several people in Turkey's southeast have been hit and killed by armored vehicles, many of them young people and children. The majority-Kurdish region was the site of an intense military crackdown after the breakdown of peace talks between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the government. It has remained heavily militarized since.
After Dayan’s death, his family and local HDP representatives went to the hospital to retrieve his body. He was buried in Cizre cemetery on Jan. 26.
At least 18 killed by armored vehicles in four years: Report
Meanwhile, at least 18 people, including nine children, were killed by armored vehicles belonging to the security forces and public institutions between 2018 and 2021, according to the statistics published by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV). A total of 50 people, 14 of whom were children, were injured during the same period.
TİHV also released the statistics for the year 2021. Accordingly, at least six people, including four children, lost their lives as a result of being hit by armored vehicles last year. Also, 15 people, including six children, were injured in nine separate incidents in 2021.
(English version by Erin O'Brien)