PKK suspect’s death at police HQ debated in parliament
The death of a suspected outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant at a police headquarters has been debated in parliament, with Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Filiz Kerestecioğlu asking Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu how he died.
Murat Araç, 18, reportedly committed suicide while in detention at a police headquarters in the southern province of Antalya, jumping from the third floor of the building.
Araç had been detained when gendarmerie officers carrying out road controls stopped a passenger bus and determined that he was being sought over “being member of a terrorist organization” in Antalya’s Gazipaşa district last week.
After the procedures in the gendarmerie headquarters, he was taken to a courthouse and gave his testimony at the prosecutor’s office.
Araç was then taken to the Gazipaşa police headquarters, where he reportedly jumped out of the window from the third floor of the building at around 6 p.m.
The heavily wounded suspect was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries.
His dead body was taken to the Antalya Forensic Medicine Institute for an autopsy and an investigation has been launched into the incident.
The issue was brought to parliament’s agenda on Dec. 16, when Kerestecioğlu asked Soylu to clarify how the 18-year-old died.
“This suspect chose to commit suicide and succumbed to his injuries, despite all attempts to save his life,” Soylu told parliament, adding that he asked for an inspector to be sent to the district in order to understand how the incident unfolded.
“All investigations regarding the incident are ongoing. Necessary evaluations will be made after all investigations,” he also said.
Soylu claimed that the PKK ordered its militants to kill themselves if they are ever detained, noting that another suspected militant under detention previously attempted to commit suicide in the western province of İzmir upon the group’s demand.
Speaking about the incident, Araç’s father, Mehmet Araç, said he had not heard from his son for three years up to Dec. 14.
“They called me from the Gazipaşa gendarmerie command and told me they apprehended a boy who gave my phone number. They asked me how long my son had been missing for. Then they made me speak with the boy they caught. He said: ‘Father it’s me.’ I asked him couple of questions about our family and he gave correct answers to all of them,” Araç told reporters in front of the forensic medicine institute on Dec. 16, adding that he headed to Gazipaşa from the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa after being sure that the person detained was his son.
“We went to the Gazipaşa District Police Headquarters. But there they told me my son was dead and that I had to go to a morgue to identify him. The person killed was my son. Something happened at the police headquarters. We don’t know anything about the [suicide] allegations regarding my son but we will be following the case,” he added.
The family’s lawyer Güven Özata, meanwhile, said they are not sure whether Murat Araç committed suicide.
“If he jumped out of the window then there is serious negligence. Why was the window open? Why did he jump?” Özata said.