More bones at Diyarbakır mass grave

More bones at Diyarbakır mass grave

DİYARBAKIR / İSTANBUL
More bones at Diyarbakır mass grave

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu visits the site in Diyarbakır where 11 skulls have been found so far as the diggings continue. AA photo

The number human skulls found in the vicinity of a former gendarmerie building in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has increased to 11 as the prosecutor’s office deepens the investigation.

“In the past, Turkey was proud of its underground mine treasures; now Turkey has more to be proud of, such as skulls and bones from unsolved murders,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu said Jan. 15 during a visit to the area.

“This area must be researched entirely. The prosecutors held a declaration of secrecy but these kinds of investigations should be open to the public. Turkey does not need artificial agendas – Turkey’s main agenda should be human rights, justice and democracy,” he said.

Raci Bilici, the head of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır Branch, told the Hürriyet Daily News that the number of skulls found could increase since the place was once used for interrogations and because 18 families had informed the İHD about lost family members.

The skulls and bones were supposed to have been sent to the Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institute for DNA identification but were reportedly not.

“We did not receive the skulls and bones for the DNA test yet,” an official from the institute in Istanbul told the Daily News yesterday on condition of anonymity.

Ahmet Karaca, Diyarbakır’s deputy public prosecutor, said yesterday that they were experiencing some difficulties due to the status of the digging area as an archaeological site.

 “We were only allowed to use a pickax and a scoop for digging,” Karaca was quoted as saying by Doğan news agency.

The head of the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board, Abdulselam Uluçam, said his body might hold an emergency meeting to remove the ban on digging with heavy construction equipment if needed.

The skulls and bones were found during restoration works of a building that was formerly used by the Gendarmerie Intelligence Anti-Terrorism Unit (JİTEM) in Diyarbakır.

JİTEM is an intelligence unit of the gendarmerie never officially recognized by the military.

The Diyarbakır Public Prosecution first conducted an investigation on Jan. 11 with excavations carried out by investigation teams, forensic medicine experts and archaeologists.

Turkey, murder, grave, crime