Number of deaths from Yüksekova protests rises to three
VAN – Doğan News Agency
A 20-year-old protestor, Bemal Tokçu, died of his injuries in a hospital in the eastern province of Van on Dec 11. AA photoThe death toll from last week’s clashes between protestors and police in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district has risen to three, with the death of 20-year-old protestor Bemal Tokçu.
Tokçu died of his injuries in a hospital in the eastern province of Van on Dec. 11, the chief medic of the hospital where he was being treated announced.
Veysel İşbilir, 34, and his nephew Mehmet Reşit İşbilir, 32, who both sustained severe injuries during the police intervention, also died shortly after protests erupted on Dec. 6, after a local NGO said graves belonging to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had been vandalized.
Tokçu, who was reportedly sought by police over accusations of participating in terrorist activities, was severely injured in the incidents, and received his first treatment in Yüksekova. He was then sent to Yüzüncüyıl hospital in the eastern province of Van for better medical care. However, in the early hours of Dec. 11, three days after arriving in Van, he was officially declared dead from damage to his brain.
In a statement released after the clashes, the Hakkari Governor’s office had announced Tokçu as an individual who was wanted for alleged involvement in the PKK’s rural operations. It also stated that Tokçu had previously been treated in the same Yüksekova hospital under a different name.
Officials blamed demonstrators for the clashes, sharing footage allegedly showing them holding weapons. However, the deaths were slammed by opposition parties, who expressed serious concerns about the possible effect on the ongoing Kurdish peace process.
In protests held in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Dec. 8 to denounce the protesters’ deaths in Yüksekova, at least 10 people also sustained injuries.
Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan argued on Dec. 7 that the incidents were the result of “provocation.” “They are some people who want to create trouble in Hakkari. They attack public buildings, attempt to occupy a student dormitory. These people don’t care about loving the country,” Erdoğan said.