12-year-old boy killed in Turkey’s southeast, PM, interior minister deny police involvement
Police have again been accused of randomly opening fire with live ammunition on children in the street. DHA PhotoA 12-year-old boy has allegedly been shot and killed by police in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s restive Cizre district, while the prime minister and interior minister have denied any police involvement regarding the issue.
Nihat Kazanhan, the 12-year-old boy, was taken to the hospital after being shot in the head on Jan. 14, but succumbed to his injuries.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Jan. 15 that the death of Kazanhan had not come atthe hands of the security forces, justifying his claim with information from the interior minister.
“I want to express clearly that it is out of the question that the boy who lost his life in Cizre was shot dead by our security forces’ bullets,” state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Davutoğlu as saying. “An actual intervention did not occur, nor was tear gas used.”
Davutoğlu said an investigation was being conducted on the issue, while declaring people that were trying to create tension in Cizre over the speculation to be “provocateurs.”
But eyewitnesses accused police of firing tear gas and bullets, despite the lack of any protest at the time when Kazanhan was hit.
According to an eyewitness only identified as E.S., police came to the Yafes neighborhood and told children playing there, “as long as you throw stones, we’ll shoot bullets at you,” before immediately launching a barrage of tear gas and bullets at the children.
“In recent days, the only job of the police has been to come and fire tear gas and bullets, even without any incidents,” said another witness, Y.E. “Today was like that, too. The police came, shouted and screamed at the kids, and then fired tear gas. After that, gunshots rang out; when we looked, we saw that a child had fallen after taking a bullet in the head,” Y.E. added, according to the Fırat News Agency (ANF).
“[The police] have murdered another one of our children,” Y.E. said.
Previously on Jan. 14, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said on a private TV channel that police had “in no way” used weapons in Cizre, referring to the death of Kazanhan.
“Today, police there in no way used weapons or tear gas, according to the information passed on to me. … On some [web] sites, it is written that ‘[the boy] died from the police’s gun or from tear gas.’ This is absolutely not true,” said Ala, adding that the police respond with guns when people there use guns against police from time to time.
“These kinds of clashes can happen in a place of terror. Social incidents happen, tear gas is used. But there was nothing today. A police intervention did not occur,” said Ala.
Other eyewitnesses said police collected all the spent casings from the bullets they fired after striking down Kazanhan.
Later in the day, police fired tear gas at people waiting for Kazanhan’s body outside Cizre State Hospital ahead of an autopsy in Diyarbakır. Officers reportedly fired tear gas inside the hospital, resulting in the evacuation of other patients, according to the ANF.
Five other people have been killed in less than a month in violence in Cizre and the nearby district of Silopi.
Earlier this week, the Şırnak Bar Association accused police of deliberately targeting and killing 14-year-old Ümit Kurt when officers entered a flashpoint neighborhood in the city.