Bones unearthed in suspected mass grave
ŞIRNAK - Doğan News Agency
Excavators in Silopi search for the remains of six missing people. İHA photoUnidentified bones were discovered in the gendarmerie command area in Silopi in the southeastern province of Şırnak yesterday, where an excavation had been instigated on the basis of a testimony by an ex-soldier who said victims of unsolved murders were buried in the area.
Excavators are searching for the remains of six missing people, Tahir Elçi, a lawyer of the victims’ families, said. “As a result of the claims by the witness, a 100-square-meter area will be excavated; the bones and skulls are supposedly 3 meters below ground. Three bones have already been found, and these will be sent to the Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institute for DNA identification,” said Elçi. “They appear to be part of a human skeleton, but we still need to have this confirmed.”
Nurettin Demirhan, son of a missing villager Salih Demirhan, said his father was taken from their house 19 years ago. “These excavations give us hope. My family and I hope at least to have a grave to visit,” he said.
Yusuf Özdemir, who served in the military in 1993, said seven people were brought from a village after a clash with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members operating under orders of the brigade commander at the time, Mete Sayar. “One of them was released instantly, but the other six were tortured by the soldiers. They raked the villagers’ legs and tied them to a vehicle to drag till they died and then buried them.” Özdemir said. “One of the killed people was an imam and the other was a Christian. They put a cross on the imam’s neck and shot them both down.”
Meanwhile, an additional dig was initiated in Şırnak’s Güçlükonak district yesterday as part of the search for bones of the four people who were taken into custody on Küpeli Mountain in 1994.
Further excavations, in which human skulls were found in the vicinity of a former gendarmerie building in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Jan. 11, were halted due to poor weather conditions.