Report lists unidentified murders

Report lists unidentified murders

Report lists unidentified murders

Archeologists first uncovered an assortment of eight skulls and bones Jan11 while they were conducting restoration work. The number of skulls then rose to 23. DHA photo

As the number of unearthed skulls continues to rise in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, a recent report by Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) showed that hundreds of unidentified murders were committed in Turkey, especially in the mid-1990s.

According to the report, 1,901 unidentified murders were committed between 1990 and 2001 in Turkey.
The report, presented to Parliament by Coşkun Üsterci, member of the executive board of TİHV, showed that the murders mostly took place between 1992 and 1994.

While 31 unidentified murders were committed in 1991, the number rose to 362 in 1992, 467 in 1993 and 423 in 1994, the report said.

There were many unidentified murders in those years, either extrajudicial executions or killings while under detentions or in jail, Üsterci said, adding that the reason for the murders was mainly prompted by the Kurdish issue.

“There were many rights violations as the state was leaning toward methods of war to solve the issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Galip Ensaroğlu, the Diyarbakır deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said the human skulls and bones in question may belong to people executed during the 1910s and 1920s by early Republican tribunals rather than the victims of extrajudicial killings in the 1990s.

Over 3,000 villages were burned down and more than 2,000 people were killed in unresolved murder cases, and another 3 million people were forced to emigrate while hundreds of thousands were tortured during the 1990s, Ensarioğlu said, adding that Turkey had to face this period regardless of whether the skulls and bones had anything to do with it.

Victims in the 1990s were buried with their clothes on, while the people whose bones were discovered in Diyarbakır had no clothes on, said Ensarioğlu. It was still too early to deny that the skulls and bones belonged to victims of violence from the 1990s, he said, adding that he nonetheless personally guessed they belonged to people executed by Turkey’s Independence Courts, which were founded during the Turkish War of Independence to prosecute those who were against the system of the government.