Funeral held in Turkey’s east for soldiers killed in Dağlıca attack
VAN – Doğan News Agency
AA photoA funeral has been held in Turkey’s eastern province of Van, attended by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, after 16 Turkish soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in the nearby province of Hakkari on Sept. 6.
Two separate ceremonies were held for 10 killed soldiers, each for a group of five soldiers, in the Van Gendarmerie Fleets Command on Sept. 8. The bodies of the six other soldiers were sent to the Ankara Forensic Institute in the early hours of the same day.
In a speech delivered at the ceremony, Davutoğlu praised the soldiers for their heroism but he struggled to finish the speech out of sorrow.
“Today is the day of fellowship. For God’s sake, all the blood of our soldiers spilled for the unity and integrity of our country will be accounted for,” he said.
The soldiers killed in the deadly offensive in Hakkari’s Dağlıca district were identified as Lieutenant Colonel İlker Çelikcan and soldiers Özgür Yatakdere, Tolga Artuğ, Adnan Ergen, Resul Coşkun, Tayfur Hançer, Mustafa Özdemir, Cihan Aksarı, Fatih Duru, Cemre Salih Gözen, Tuğrul Köseoğlu, Muharrem Öksüz, Okan Taşan, Harun Saltalı, Deniz Göçkün, and Uğur Yıldız.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara also condemned the Dağlıca attack, saying “We stand with Turkey in the fight against terror and repeat our call to the PKK – renounce violence and return to the peace process.”
At least 16 soldiers were killed and several others were injured after PKK militants detonated a bomb placed under a road connecting Hakkari’s Dağlıca and Yüksekova districts at the time two guarded military vehicles were passing by on Sept. 6, the Turkish General Staff said in a written statement around 5 p.m. on Sept. 7.
The General Staff’s statement came a day after the attack, following an initial statement by the army released around 2 a.m. on Sept. 7 that refrained from giving a death toll.
The bodies of soldiers killed in the Dağlıca attack were recovered by a local group of civilians, news website Bianet quoted former MP Esat Canan as saying on Sept. 8, contradicting Davutoğlu’s earlier remark that the bodies were recovered by special commandoes of the Turkish army.