Breaking the silence
- KurdishMedia.com - By Welat Lezgin
- 04/12/2004 00:00:00
Currently, the Turkish media is busy trying to come to terms with the execution of a 12-year old Kurdish boy and his father by Turkish security forces. Shocked columnists are asking how a little boy can be executed in front of his house and seem unable to come to terms with how such things can happen in their country on the eve of launching negotiations with the European Union for possible membership. In fact, some columnists seem more upset with the timing of the killing, coinciding with a vital period in Turkey’s EU bid, rather than the fact that such a horrendous event has taken place.
Generally speaking though, the execution of the 12-year old Kurdish boy Ugur Kaymaz and his father Ahmet Kaymaz (31) in Qoser (Kýzýltepe) near Mêrdîn (Mardin) in Northern (Turkish) Kurdistan on the 21st of November by Turkish security forces has received certain attention by the Turkish media. One should not complain, because as far as extra-judicial killings and ’disappearances’ of Kurds go in Turkey, the fact that such acts are even mentioned and criticised for that matter, must be a seen as a great leap indeed. And who says Turkey is not changing?
While the Turkish columnists are coming to terms with the “shock” of this event, which might suggest to them that “such things might have happened in the past as well”, let us look into what it meant for Ugur Kaymaz and Ahmet Kaymaz to be “first class Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin” in Turkey.
The news of the cold-blooded execution of Ugur and his father reached Turkish newspapers only a few weeks after the news that the remains of 11 executed Kurdish villagers had been found in a mass grave in Pasûr (Qulp/Kulp), near Amed (Diyarbakir). The mass grave contained the remains of 11 executed Kurdish villagers who had been detained by Turkish security forces in 1993 and never seen again. Unlike Ugur’s case, excluding a few exceptions, the news of the mass grave in the Turkish media disappeared before it even emerged. Similarly, the news that the 19-year old Kurdish shepherd, Fevzi Can in Shemzînan (Shemdinli), near Culemêrg (Hakkari), had been killed by security forces emerged at the same time as the news of Ugur’s execution, but received no attention either. But one should not complain I suppose. At least Ugur’s case is being heard to a certain extent and shatters the Turkish media’s consciously selective amnesia, unlike the cases of thousands of other Kurdish children who were executed, villagers who were buried in mass graves or shepherds who were slaughtered like the sheep they were herding, in Turkey’s attempt to carry out ethnic cleansing against Kurds under the banner of fighting “terrorists”.
At first, there was the announcement that “two terrorists had been killed in clashes and one wounded.” Later on, the Governor of Merdîn, through the Anatolia news agency, stated that “terrorists” had attacked the Qoser (Kýzýltepe) gendarmerie headquarters and the soldiers had responded by killing the two “terrorists” when they “did not heed the calls to stop.” The final official version was that the incident had taken place in a house, which “belonged to a man who had been convicted in the past for membership of a terrorist organisation.” The news wires quoted the governor saying that “the residents had alerted security forces that armed men were seen in the area” and when the security forces had arrived at the scene a “shoot-out” had erupted when “the two men who were spotted outside the house, opened fire”. According to the governor, the two men were “armed with two AK-47 assault rifles, two hand grenades and six cartridge clips.”
It soon emerged, however, that those the governor called "terrorists" were none other than Ugur Kaymaz, and his father Ahmet Kaymaz, who had been killed outside their house. Their bodies had been riddled with bullets from a close range; 13 bullets were found in Ugur’s tiny body while 8 were found in his father’s. Reports emerged that the police had prevented the emergency services from examining the bodies; as if to make sure they were dead. The ambulance crew was quoted as saying, “We were only able to check the pulse of the one in the front, and police did not let us go any further.”
The Mêrdîn branch of the Human Rights Association in a report after a fact-finding mission concluded that there had been no signs of a clash taking place as the authorities had argued and that the bodies had been fired upon from a close range. The report argued that no bullets could be found anywhere in the surroundings except in the bodies and that weapons that were found near the bodies were planted there.
Ugur’s mother, Makbule Kaymaz, in her statement also contradicted the official version of the event: “My husband Ahmet is a [lorry] driver. He wanted to start his preparations before setting out on his trip the following day. He left the house to put a pillow and a duvet in the lorry. Ugur was helping his father, running around him. My dear son had his slippers on. Suddenly when I heard gunshots I ran out. When I looked, I saw that a police officer had bent my son’s head forward and was firing. My son had blood everywhere. My husband was lying next to him. What did they want from us? They want to present a small kid as terrorist.”
The fact that Ugur and his father still had their slippers on is revealing in itself. The security officials have so far not explained how a boy of 12 could handle and apparently fire with a Kalashnikov weighing 3 kilos 600 grams that was “found” near his body. The officials have also not answered why a father and a son launched a “terrorist attack” with their slippers on? Furthermore, the officials have not explained how a 12 year-old boy both prepared a “terrorist attack” with his father and managed to attend school everyday? More importantly, as the people of Qoser (Kiziltepe) have asked, which father would risk the life of his 12-year old son to clash with 100 police officers?
What is interesting is the silence of the government on this matter. Unlike the silence of the Turkish government on Ugur’s case, in the case of a little Palestinian girl whose body was also riddled with bullets beyond recognition, the AKP government went to all lengths and heavily criticised Israel’s “state terror”. The Fallujah and Tal Afar operations were described as ”genocide” and “the massacre of our brethren.” In Ugur’s and the case of the mass grave of Kurdish villagers, the silence is deafening.
Turkey’s true commitment to implement its much-lauded democratisation reforms can in the coming months be judged by its stance towards this event. If the authorities fully pursue this case and bring justice to Makbule Kaymaz and the people of Qoser (Kiziltepe), then Turkey’s efforts can slowly be taken seriously. However, if the authorities continue to do what they have been doing for years, protecting the perpetrators and persecuting the victims, then Turkey’s so called democracy will always lack credibility.
- KurdishMedia.com - By Welat Lezgin
- 04/12/2004 00:00:00