Bodies of 13 YPG members allowed entrance to Turkey

Bodies of 13 YPG members allowed entrance to Turkey

ŞIRNAK – Doğan News Agency
Bodies of 13 YPG members allowed entrance to Turkey

DHA photo

The bodies of 13 People’s Protection Units (YPG) members who were killed while fighting jihadists have finally been allowed to enter Turkey after authorities forced the remains to remain at the border with Iraq in temperatures nearing 50 degrees.

The bodies of the fighters, one of whom was a German citizen while the 12 others were Turkish citizens, were allowed entrance into the country via the Habur border gate in the southeastern province of Şırnak late Aug. 4. 

Autopsies were conducted on the bodies at the forensics department of the Habur border gate with the participation of a public prosecutor and the fighters’ families. The bodies of the 12 Turkish citizens were later handed to their families on Aug. 5, while the body of the German citizen, Kevin Jochim, was taken to Arbil to be flown to Germany. 

Mesut Pusat, Mehmet Koç, Cahit Çapan, Veysi Cin, Cumhur Turan, Mümin Kasap, Ferit Öner, Ragıp Yıldız, Mehmet Bulun, Ferit Coşkun, Nuri Aydın and Fidan Yalçın were identified as the other fallen YPG members.

The bodies of the 13, who were killed in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), had not been allowed into the country for 12 days due to stonewalling efforts by Turkish authorities. 

Turkey’s stance infuriated the families, touching off protests in Silopi as well as at the governors’ offices in Şırnak and Mardin. 

“The bodies have been kept waiting in a truck for 11 days. How is this in accordance with Islam?” said Emine Alkış, a woman that had come to the border to offer support to the families during the wait. “[President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan: You talk about Islam, but where is this practice in Islam?”

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies Gülser Yıldırım, Enise Güneyli and Mehmet Ali Aslan, as well as several mayors, held a sit-in protest inside the Mardin Governor’s office on Aug. 3. Police officers removed press members out of the building forcefully when cameras recorded a scuffle between officers and the deputies inside the governor’s office building. After a while, the group continued their protest outside the building.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have also refused the entry of the bodies of 12 YPG members who fell fighting ISIL in Kobane, forcing cantonal authorities in Rojava to temporarily bury them on the Syrian side of the border.