The Diyarbakır Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD), the Mesopotamia Association of Relatives of the Missing (MEYA-DER), the Medical Chamber of Diyarbakır and the relatives of members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who lost their lives in the course of the clashes in the Kazan Valley, filed a criminal complaint about the persons in charge regarding the alleged use of chemical weapons.
After the military operation it was alleged that the PKK members had died as the result of chemical weapons used in the Kazan Valley (Hakkari, south-eastern Turkey). The criminal complaint is based on the preliminary autopsy report prepared by the prosecution which revealed that the bodies showed "a change of colour" and burn marks that "could not be identified".
The criminal complaint requested an investigation and prosecution in order to determine whether chemical weapons or prohibited weapons were used in the clash.
It was claimed in the complaint, "A necessary criminal investigation needs to be conducted about the officials of the Armed Forces who are authorized on this subject and who are responsible. Certain aspects should be investigated in detail such as who gave the instruction to use these weapons; whether the Ministry and other officials were informed about the use of these weapons and whether the Turkish Armed Forces hold prohibited chemical weapons. According the outcome of this research, the necessary investigation procedures should be carried out about all officials and people in charge. We kindly request to urgently launch the necessary investigation procedures; to conduct an investigation and initiate the criminal prosecution of the persons in charge who are going to be determined by the results of the investigations and aspects mentioned above".
Evidence cannot be collected
The criminal complaint also referred to the statements of the families of the killed PKK members in their applications made to the İHD. It pointed to international agreements and legal provisions signed by Turkey related to the use of chemical weapons and toxic gas. The use of this kind of weapons was accounted for as a war crime, the complaint emphasized.
It was also indicated that evidence was not collected because the prosecutor's office did not launch an investigation even though circumstantial evidence suggested the "possible use of unauthorized weapons" and despite the fact that many pieces of evidence and data could be obtained although the incident was investigated with delay. The complaint demanded to request information of the General Staff Presidency regarding which weapons were used in the conflict.
Request for an alternative report
In a statement issued by İHD Diyarbakır Branch Secretary Raci Bilici before the petition was submitted, the organization explained that they had requested an alternative autopsy report prepared by an independent delegation comprised of experts from the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), the Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), the Forensic Medicine Experts Association or university staff. Yet, this demand was dismissed by the prosecutor's office and thus the İHD reiterated their request.
36 PKK members died
36 PKK members died in the course of an operation of the TSK at the Kazan Valley (Çukurca district) in the Kurdish-majority province of Hakkari (south-eastern Turkey) on 22/23 October. The area of the conflict was then investigated by a delegation of the European Parliament and also by a delegation of representatives of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the İHD, MEYA-DER, the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER). Moreover, the Turkish Medical Chamber (TTB) had applied to the Ministry of Justice and requested to establish a delegation for an investigation. (YY/VK)
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