Elçi killed by 'obstructers of crime scene investigation': Turkish PM
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu addresses a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Diyarbakır Bar Association head Tahir Elçi was killed by the same groups that have been trying to obstruct the crime scene investigation for more than two days since the killing occurred, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has claimed.
“The act was committed by those same power groups that have been trying to cover up the incident,” Davutoğlu told reporters during a press conference at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport before departing for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
He said the police had not yet conducted an operation to secure access to the crime scene because they initially wanted to gain access with the support of civilians.
“Apparently, they have something to hide,” Davutoğlu said after an investigation team accompanied by bar heads from across Turkey was also prevented from entering the scene.
The prime minister also upbraided the co-chair of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, for accusing the Turkish state of being an accomplice in the incident.
“What proof does Demirtaş have to be accusing the state of murder?” he asked, arguing that accusing the police and the army for such incidents was counterproductive.
“Accusing the police who were chasing the attackers, without saying a word about the attackers themselves, is an attempt to cover up the murder,” Davutoğlu added.
He also suggested that if he were still alive, Tahir Elçi would criticize those who are obstructing a thorough investigation of such an incident.
The justice minister is due to visit Elçi’s family in Diyarbakır on Dec. 1, Davutoğlu also announced.
‘Turkey has right to protect airspace’
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu also touched upon the ongoing political crisis between Ankara and Moscow over Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet on Nov. 24 for violating Turkish airspace, saying Turkey has a “right and a duty” to protect its airspace.
“The primary duty of the air forces is to protect Turkish airspace. It is irresponsible to overlook airspace violations after warning once, twice, three times,” he said, while stressing that Turkey had no intention to target Russia specifically.
Davutoğlu urged both countries to normalize relations instead of trading barbs or making “unfounded accusations,” referring to Putin’s allegations on Turkey’s involvement in ISIL oil trade.
“We need to gather around the table and talk. But no one should expect Turkey to back down on matters related to its air space, territorial waters and land borders. Protecting these borders is its fundamental duty,” he said.
US urges transparent probe into Elçi’s death
The United States has also urged a quick and transparent investigation into the killing of Tahir Elçi.
“We urge a quick and transparent investigation to bring the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice,” U.S. State Department Spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said in the department’s daily press briefing in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 30.
“We’re deeply saddened by the tragic death of Tahir Elçi on Saturday [Nov. 28]. He was a champion for all Turkish citizens who wish to live in peace and dignity,” Trudeau said, sending condolences to Elçi’s family and friends as well as to those of police officers killed in the incident.
Diyarbakır Bar Association head Elçi was shot dead in Diyarbakır’s Sur district on Nov. 28 after gunmen rushed into the street where he was making a press statement calling for peace. Elçi was killed after the gunmen allegedly shot dead two police officers and wounded another.