Turkish PM: Suspects in killing of three soldiers detained
AA PhotoThe suspects in the killing of three Turkish soldiers in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district have been detained on the basis of evidence collected in the case so far, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced.
“The persons who are suspected of being responsible for the incident according to the evidence have been detained,” Davutoğlu said before leaving Istanbul for Ankara Oct. 27.
Three soldiers were killed in a gun attack by masked assailants in the middle of the afternoon on Oct. 25 while walking in Yüksekova. After photos showing the soldiers’ bloodied bodies spread online, authorities issued a ban on footage and photos.
Thousands of mourners gathered at the funerals of the fallen soldiers Ramazan Gülle, Ramazan Köse and Yunus Yılmaz yesterday in their hometowns.
“As we have always said, the resolution process is not an alternative to the public order,” Davutoğlu said in a reference to ongoing talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to find a peaceful solution to the decades-long Kurdish issue.
Anyone that would consider the peace process as a weakness of the state would be stopped, Davutoğlu said. “This is what happened at the attack on the dam.”
On Oct. 23, three members of the PKK were killed by security forces in the eastern province of Kars. Clashes erupted when four militants reportedly attacked a hydroelectric power station in the Kağızman district, raising suggestions that the soldiers’ murders might be a retaliatory attack.
A shooter who allegedly helped kill the three off-duty soldiers in Hakkari is among the three suspects who was detained in a late-night operation, the Hakkari Governor’s Office said in a statement Oct. 27.
The shooter, identified as K.T., was also charged with injuring another soldier last July, the statement read.
The number of suspects who are currently being held as part of the investigation was seven as of Oct. 27.
The attack was the latest episode in escalating violence in southeastern Turkey since the beginning of deadly demonstrations in support for the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, which has long been besieged by Islamist fighters. Unrest that peaked on Oct. 6 and 7 led to the death of dozens of people in clashes between rival groups.
Before the recent violence, almost no killings were reported since the start of the PKK talks, as a symbolic number of militants withdrew from Turkey starting in May last year.
The General Staff said in a statement that the attack was thought to have been carried out by three PKK militants, while Interior Minister Efkan Ala said it was staged by “two masked individuals.”
Meanwhile, the General Staff has released the identity of a man who was found tied to a pole in Bitlis, naming the victim as Nihat Çaprak, a village guard. Çaprak was reportedly kidnapped before being tied to the lamppost and strafed with bullets. He was also found with 10 Turkish Liras stuffed in his mouth.
Çaprak was laid to rest in his village in the eastern province of Bitlis.