When it comes to mutilation of dead Kurdish bodies, Turkey has a mile long criminal record

by Gokcan Aydogan    

 

The images of YPJ fighter's dead body mutilated by Turkey-backed rebels reignite doubts about the government’s fight against Kurds.

Kurdish forces in Syria said on Friday one of their fighters was mutilated by Turkey-backed rebels, referencing a video circulating on social media.

The Kurdish-led administration of northeast Syria said, a fighter with the Kurdish YPJ militia, was killed by Turkey-backed rebels who "played with her corpse and cut it up" as cameras rolled. The YPJ is the all-female affiliate of the Kurdish YPG militia.

"We hold the Turkish government responsible for this heinous act. We salute the soul of the free resistance (fighter)," it said.

The footage showed a bloodied body on the floor. Parts of her torso appeared to have been cut.

The video has caused anger amongst the Kurdish population of northern Syria, a witness said. Memorial pictures of her are being circulated widely on social media.

However, this is not the first time. For Turkish Security Forces, sharing disturbing images of mutilated dead bodies of Kurdish militia on the internet has been a long tradition.

For instance, in 2015, images of Haci Lokman Birlik and Kurdish fighter Ekin Wan showed the violence in southeastern Turkey reaching a new level. The images that appear to show authorities dragging the body of Birlik by the neck behind an armoured vehicle and the security forces flaunting the desecrated corpse of  Ekin Wan naked on the streets Turkey's southeastern province of Varto.

Haci Lokman Birlik

Haci Lokman Birlik, 24, an actor and brother-in-law of a member of Parliament for the leftist alliance Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Leyla Birlik. The circumstances of his death were described very differently by the government and opposition activists.

Ekin Wan

According to the prime minister, he was killed “while attacking the police with a rocket launcher” during clashes between the security forces and militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Authorities defended the procedure as "a routine check-up worldwide," when there was a suspicion that the body could be armed with an explosive device.

That rationale is absurd to even on its own terms: If there was a bomb on the body, dragging it through the streets would presumably be the last thing a government would want to do, unless the goal was to injure the people in the streets or the officers in the vehicle.

The HDP had a different explanation, asserting on its English-language Twitter feed that Mr Birlik was “executed by police” as the security forces tried to fill in trenches that Sirnak residents had dug to keep the police out.

Today, pro-government media in Turkey follows the same path. They initially questioned the authenticity of the video of the mutilated YPJ fighter, which has spread widely on social media. Currently, they abandoned that line of argument, instead suggesting that mutilating a "terrorist" body is an acceptable way of making sure there are no bombs on the bodies- implying that handling corpses in such a way is justified at a time when the government has renewed hostilities with the armed YPG and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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