Six children killed in fire at Quran-teaching school ‘become martyrs’
AA photoThe head of Turkey’s top religious body has said six children who died in a fire at a Quranic school in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır “have become martyrs.”
“Our only consolation is that these youth has become martyrs,” said Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Mehmet Görmez said Dec. 3 during the funeral of the six children who lost their lives in the fire at the school in Diyarbakır’s Kulp district.
“Unfortunately, some young people, who have the potential to further their study, have gone to the mountains and murdered their brothers,” Görmez said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with the euphemism of “going to the mountains.”
Görmez led the funeral prayer of the six children who died in southeastern Turkey on Dec. 1 after a fire caused by a suspected electrical fault engulfed the dormitory of their religious school.
The boys, between 8 and 16 years old, were killed as they slept when the fire broke out at 2:40 a.m. in the Karaağaç village near the town of Kulp in Diyarbakır province.
The six students killed in the fire were identified as Muhammed Bingöl, Sabahattin Altun, Serhat Sancar, Suat Çankaya, Şahin Kahraman and Nurmuhamed Bayka.
They were staying in the same room at the time of the incident. One of them managed to run out onto the balcony of the building to warn nearby locals about the fire, but he later died. His five roommates were also found dead near the balcony door after also attempting to escape. They were reportedly unable to open the door as it was made of plastic and had melted due to the fire.
Three boys and one teacher were later treated at hospital for smoke inhalation, medical officials have said.
Three students who usually stay in the dormitory overnight went to their houses on the night of the fire.