267 Kurdish corpses exhumed: How far can Turkey's 'war on terror' go?

by The Region   Getty Images  


Turkey has been accused of exhuming the bodies of 267 people affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Garzan district of Bitlis, Eastern Turkey. 

Mahmut Caladet Gadali, the Bitlis deputy for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) called the alleged decision to exhume the bodies of Kurdish militants an act of "targeting the dead". While Ayse Acar Basaran, HDP deputy for Batman condemned it as an action which "even the most brutal armies do not commit". "Shame has been etched into the pages of history," she wrote in a statement of condemnation published on the official HDP website.

The Kurdish free women's movement (TJA) has also joined in the voices of condemnation,

"The Garzan cemetery in Bitlis became a target of an attack and all buried corpses were taken from their graves without permission from their families. We condemn these practices and we call on the people to stand against this attack" they wrote in a strongly worded statement.   

 Garzan cemetery was built in 2013 without government intervention but later fell under the jurisdiction of a military curfew after the halting of peace talks lead to clashes between the Turkish Government and the PKK. According to a report published on Kurdistan 24, the Turkish army regularly bombs and destroys the graves of PKK fighters in Kurdish provinces.

Lezgin Bingol, the father of Dilan Bingol who had lost her life during the fight against IS in the Kobane resistance of 2014, claimed in a statement on social media that he wrote an appeal to visit the Garzan cemetery to see his daughter.

"The Governorate officials referred my appeal to the gendarmerie on the grounds that the area was under their control." he wrote on his social media post, "On December 19th, the Gendarmarie called me and said '267 corpses in that cemetery were exhumed and sent to Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institute on the governorate's instruction.'

The family of Dilan Bingol is distraught.

"My daughter being subjected to repeated forensic medicine procedures, despite her identity clearly being known, cannot be explained with any provision of the law." Bingol wrote, "we are facing a case that will last long, but we will be justified" he concluded.