HDP co-chair ‘certain’ that bullet from police weapon killed Tahir Elçi

HDP co-chair ‘certain’ that bullet from police weapon killed Tahir Elçi

HDP co-chair ‘certain’ that bullet from police weapon killed Tahir Elçi

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said he is “certain” that killed Diyarbakır Bar Association head Tahir Elçi was shot by a bullet fired from a police weapon. 

“It would be very easy to find the perpetrator if the cartridge from the bullet [that killed Elçi] was found. As long as the cartridge is not found, it will be very difficult to find who fired it. From our point of view, it is very clear that at that moment, in that area and in that side street, no one apart from police officers was shooting. It is certain that the bullet that killed Tahir Elçi was fired by a police weapon. For which purpose and from which weapon can only be revealed through a fair investigation,” Demirtaş said late on Nov. 30.

Meanwhile, a proposal for a parliamentary inquiry into Elçi’s Nov. 28 killing tabled by the HDP has been rejected by votes from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The session during which the HDP’s proposal was presented witnessed high tension, as denunciations from AKP deputies prompted Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu, also a lawyer and human rights activist from Diyarbakır, to leave the rostrum. “Such intolerance in an environment where we are discussing a death is not a message to Turkey. I won’t say anything else,” Tanrıkulu said, cutting his speech short.

Hosting a delegation from the Contemporary Trade and Industrial Employers Association (ÇAGSİAD) at parliament, Demirtaş also commented on the days-long delay in the crime scene investigation due to curfews amid ongoing clashes between security forces and militants tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the site in the Sur district of Diyarbakır.

He said the crime scene was “one of the busiest places in Diyarbakır.”

“The state has been there for two or three days, but there is no public order there. The state is not able to conduct a crime scene investigation. Responsibility for this belongs to the state. An investigation could have been conducted comfortably. I don’t know why armed clashes are being shown as a reason. According to the information we have obtained, no attack against the investigation has taken place. Gun shots were heard and then security forces removed the prosecutors from the site. Nothing has been said about an attack on the investigation team,” Demirtaş added.

During the same hours at parliament’s plenary session hall, a proposal tabled by the HDP to launch a parliamentary inquiry into the killing of Diyarbakır Bar Association head Elçi was rejected by votes from the AKP and the MHP.

“With this incident, the restart of political killings by the Gladio organization has been launched,” HDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair İdris Baluken, who tabled the proposal, said at the session, referring to an alleged clandestine armed counter-guerrilla network. 

CHP Deputy Chair Tanrıkulu, a close friend of Elçi, also took the rostrum.

“The person who was killed, the place where he was killed, the time when he was killed, and the way he was killed: Are they all a coincidence? How can you remain silent in the face of such a blatant death?” Tanrıkulu said.

He also recalled that Elçi was killed by a single bullet to the back of his neck fired from long range. Such killings with a single bullet being fired from the back of the neck was a common practice during the 1990s used by JİTEM, an alleged clandestine intelligence unit within the gendarmerie accused of countless unsolved murders and disappearances.

AKP deputies harshly reacted against Tanrıkulu during his speech. When Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman warned him not to use “harming statements,” the CHP deputy chair said there was nothing wrong with his style and added that he wanted parliament to be “an assembly of peace.”

“But we are still fighting here, you are opposing to even the most normal remark we deliver,” Tanrıkulu told AKP deputies as he left the rostrum.