On the very day when facts about mass graves in Turkey were announced in Kasaplar Deresi (Newala Qesaba) in the south-eastern province of Siirt, yet another mass grave was discovered in the Çatak district of Van, a Kurdish-majority city close to the Iranian border.
28 people were buried in the mass grave on the Badıgali plateau 30 km off the village of Görentaş.
The Dicle News Agency (DİHA) talked to eye witnesses. According to their account, 28 members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and 14 village guards were shot from helicopters in an armed conflict in October 1998. The 14 bodies of the village guards were allegedly taken by the military while the bodies of the PKK members were piled up and set on fire, as reported by the witnesses. It was furthermore put forward that the head of one PKK member had been cut off before the bodies were burnt.
The family of Abdullah Malgaz of the İdil district of Şırnak (south-east) applied to the Human Rights Association (İHD) and said that their children were buried in the mass grave. The İHD Van Branch Secretary, Sami Görendağ, went to the region together with a delegation.
The Malgaz family accompanied the İHD delegation to the area of the mass grave. They placed the pieces of clothes they had found on the scene underneath the stones the bodies were buried under.
Garbage dumped on mass grave
In Mutki/Bitlis (south-eastern Anatolia), the municipality started to dump garbage and construction rubble on a mass grave. Hasan Ceylan, İHD Bitlis Branch President, told bianet that they applied to the Mutki Public Prosecution for the protection of the area but that nothing had been done about it yet.
The mass grave is located at the Mutki District Rubbish Dump. The place was shown by a worker who was employed as a digger operator by the Mutki Municipality in the 1990s and who preferred to remain anonymous. The bodies were apparently buried by diggers. The municipality worker said that he saw bodies being buried in mass graves in 1992, 1996 and 2003.
İHD Bitilis Branch President Ceylan noted that they found three separate mass graves in the area defined by the digger operator. According to Ceylan, twelve bodies were excavated from one of the mass graves. Another six bodies were excavated from a mass grave for eight people. The municipality now started to dump waste and rubble on a grave with 13 bodies and on another grave with two bodies. "The government is trying to hide this issue", Ceylan stated.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mayor of Mutki, Vahdettin Barlak, told Ceylan, "These things happened without our knowledge; we did not give a correspondent order". (AS)
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