Deputy says skulls found accidentally

Deputy says skulls found accidentally

Erdem Güneş ISTANBUL
Deputy says skulls found accidentally

BDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder says a serious investigation team should be eastablished for the mass graves. AA photo

The discovery of mass graves in Southeast Anatolia from the post-1980 era is purely coincidental, an opposition deputy has said, criticizing the lack of an official will to shed light on the era’s unsolved murders.

“Archaeologists accidentally found those skulls, if they [the members of government] want to relieve the consciences of the people, they should create a ‘Truth Commission’ that will systematically investigate the murders in the [southeast] region,” Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday in reference to a mass grave located earlier this month in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. “If not, we can only hope for archaeologists’ coincidental discoveries.”


Parliament’s Human Rights Commission is currently investigating the unsolved murders, but Önder said the commission was not able to work efficiently due to differing views among the legislature’s parties.
Another BDP deputy, Altan Tan, also suggested Jan. 23 that Parliament establish a special commission for the Diyarbakır excavations.

Önder also highlighted a newly released book, “Unsolved Murders,” which was prepared and published by the eastern province of Batman’s Bar Association. The book, whose data comes from local prosecution sources, as well as the Human Rights Foundation (İHD), lists the names of 503 people who were killed in Batman between 1991 and 1997 due to their political activities.

“If the government does not launch a serious investigation in Batman, finding social peace [in Turkey] will never be possible,” Önder said. Meanwhile, the excavation at the mass grave in Diyarbakır began again yesterday after a short hiatus.

So far, 19 human skulls have been found in the vicinity of a former gendarmerie building in the province, Doğan News Agency reported. Archaeologists first unearthed the skulls and bones on Jan. 11 during restoration work on a building formerly used by the Gendarmerie Intelligence Anti-Terrorism Unit (JİTEM). JİTEM is an alleged intelligence unit of the gendarmerie whose existence has never been officially recognized by the military.