A Turkish court has ordered the state to pay 595,000 liras ($84,000) in compensation to a 13-year-old child who lost his right hand and left leg in an explosion caused by an explosive device in the southeastern province of Şırnak's Cizre district.
The court also ordered the state to pay the child's mother, father and siblings 60,000 liras in total in non-pecuniary damages, online news portal T24 reported on Feb. 9.
The decision sets a precedent for all people who lost their lives or were wounded during the 2015-2016 curfews in southeastern Turkey which came into effect for military operations targeting Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members.
Yusuf Şık went outside a couple of hours after the end of a week-long curfew which lasted from Sept. 4 to 12, 2015 in Cizre He wanted to sit on a car tire on the roadside, but an explosion hit him, hurling him several meters away.
The explosive completely destroyed Yusuf’s right hand and severely damaged his left leg. This resulted in his leg having to be amputated from below the knee.
The Mardin 1st Administrative Court said that authorities have “a responsibility of preventing terror incidents,” as per the “social state” principle. It said that “terror incidents” target the state and do not stem from animosity against citizens.
“As per the social risk principle, compensation is a necessity of justice [to be paid] by the administration, which could not prevent terror incidents although it has such a responsibility,” the court said.
Court finds family 50 percent at fault
However, in a bizarre ruling, the court also found the family 50 percent at fault for letting Yusuf leave the house without the existence of a “mandatory reason” -- despite the end of the curfew. It said that because of this, Yusuf, who has a 75 percent disability, should receive half of the compensation (i.e. 595,000 liras instead of 1.1 million liras).
The family's lawyer Neşet Girasun appealed the decision, saying that Yusuf left the house after the curfew was lifted and that authorities had not warned locals in advance.
The petition filed by Girasun further indicated that it is the state's responsibility to clear explosives and that the state itself allowed citizens to leave their premises despite knowing about the dangers of this situation.
The situation of Yusuf brings to minds several others who similarly were wounded or killed during that time period. Some 22 people lost their lives and nine others were killed during the first curfew imposed in Cizre.
It is unclear what kind of judicial processes have been so far conducted for these people and why their demands for compensation have been left unanswered.
With the mid-2015 collapse of peace talks between the Turkish state and the PKK, more curfews than any other time in modern Turkish state’s history were announced, leading to civilian killings and destruction of thousands of homes.