The Human Rights Association (İHD) announced in a statement that the human bones found in excavations in Mardin and Şırnak (south-eastern Turkey) revealed the truth they had been saying for years. The organization demanded to open the 253 mass graves marked on the map of mass graves prepared by the İHD in accordance with the Minnesota Protocol.
On 22 February, excavations started in the village of Bağözü (Dargeçit/Mardin) in order to retrieve the bodies of seven people who disappeared in custody in 1995. Human bones and pieces of clothes were found in two wells. Kadri Doğan said that one of the jumpers found might belong to his disappeared brother Seyhan Doğan.
"They said 'we released them' for years"
The press release was read out by Aldülbaki Boğa at the İHD branch in Istanbul. He summarized the 17-year struggle in Dargeçit as follows:
* About the people who disappeared in custody we were always told 'we released them, they joined a terrorist organization'. Instead of investigating our criminal complaints they decided to drop procedures and closed the case.
* In 2009, the Dargeçit Public Chief Prosecution conceded in a summary of proceedings as the result of our application that Davut Altunkaynak (13), Seyhan Doğan (14), Nedim Akyön (16), Abdurrahman Olcay (20), Mehmet Emin Aslan (19), Abdurrahman Çoşkun (21) and Hikmet Kaya (24) disappeared in custody. It was also conceded that Süleyman Seyhan (57) died as the result of torture and that his body was burned and thrown into a well.
* Moreover, the summary mentioned Special Sergeant Bilal Batırır on duty at the Dargeçit District Gendarmerie Command who was involved in the incident as the instigator and passed information about it to the relatives. It was said that he was burned to death in a military boiler.
* According to the report, the perpetrators were accused of "establishing an armed organization, membership in an armed organization, intentional homicide on the grounds of the activities of the organization, instigation and deprivation of liberty".
* One of the names included in the report is former Dargeçit Gendarmerie Command Battalion Commander Hurşit İmren who is the current Republican People's Party (CHP) Mayor of the Sivas Çepni Municipality. Former Dargeçit Gendarmerie Troop Commander Mehmet Tire is now Democracy Party Mayor of the Gümüşlük district of Bodrum.
Families dug with their hands
* On 17 February, the wells were opened to retrieve the human remains. The excavation was stopped when nothing was found.
* The families opened another well with their hands and found two pieces of burned bones which they submitted to the prosecution. They applied in writing to the Diyarbakır Special Authority Prosecution.
* The second excavation was done on 22 February at the two opened wells. Human bones and a piece of clothes were discovered. Kadri Doğan said that the jumper might have belonged to his brother.
* Eleven-year-old Hazni Doğan was taken into police custody in the course of the same operation as his bother Seyhan. He was tortured and witnessed the torture imposed to his elder brother and the other people who then disappeared.
The excavation in Mardin is being continued on 24 February.
Again on 22 February, bones and clothes belonging to two bodies were found at an excavation carried out on the Özbaşoğlu field close to the village of Yağızkkonak in the district of Güçlükonak (province of Şırnak). The families identified the clothes and said they belonged to Ömer Çetin and Ahmet Güler. (NV)