Turkish village mourns teacher killed by PKK

Turkish village mourns teacher killed by PKK

Gülden Aydın – GÜMÜŞHANE
Turkish village mourns teacher killed by PKK A village in the Black Sea province of Gümüşhane’s Torul district has been mourning the death of a teacher who was killed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in eastern Turkey. 

Necmettin Yılmaz, 23, who was a teacher in the Çiftlikbaşı village of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, was driving on a highway to Gümüşhane’s Demirkapı village to visit his family when he was abducted by PKK militants on a road between the eastern provinces of Erzincan and Tunceli on June 16.

His dead body was found on July 12 by villagers in the Pülümür Valley in Tunceli. He was laid to rest on July 16 with a funeral ceremony attended by thousands of people.

Yılmaz’s family and the residents of Demirkapı, an impoverished and isolated village with no internet or cell phone reception and whose residents move to larger cities to find jobs, have been mourning the death of the young teacher. 

Yılmaz was the first in his family to have graduated from university among his three siblings. After graduating from a high school in Gümüşhane and finishing a university in the Black Sea province of Artvin, Yılmaz became a teacher in Torul for a year. 

He was then assigned to the Çiftlikbaşı Elementary School in Şanlıurfa and was delighted to be moving there to teach impoverished village children. 

“He had been missing his family since childhood. Because of poverty he received his education at boarding schools. He died without seeing his family,” said Serdar Bayram, a close friend of Yılmaz. 

Bayram also said Yılmaz got along very well with his students and was a promising educator who had a significant impact on the children. 

Speaking to daily Hürriyet in his house covered in Turkish flags, Yılmaz’s father, Hamit Yılmaz, said even though the village was impoverished, there were no ignorant people living there. 

“Our village is poor but there are no ignorant people here. Ignorance is our biggest enemy. We know nothing else but love and respect for people,” Yılmaz said, describing the love his son had for animals, especially his dog named “Kral.”

“Kral is a 10-year-old Kangal dog. Kral has witnessed the childhood of my son. They were getting along very well,” he also said. 

Yılmaz urged authorities to find a solution to terror. 

“I want this fire in our country to be put out as soon as possible. Whoever has power should assume responsibility. Mothers and fathers are suffering. Why is this terror taking place? I can’t call those who killed my child Kurdish or Turkish. What did my son have in his hands besides a pen? He was dedicated to his country and flag. His aim was to increase the education level of the children in the region and make them aspire for a profession. This fire is not only burning us, but it’s burning our country,” he said. 

The slain teacher’s brother, Ahmet Yılmaz, a construction worker, said his brother played several instruments including the bağlama and guitar. 

“He was sending half of his salary to my father. He loved to make surprises,” he said, while also speaking about the phone call that took place on the day that the teacher was abducted. 

“He called me while he was on the road that day. ‘I’m coming with my car. Don’t tell our parents. I’m going to surprise them,’ he told me,” he also said. 

Necmettin Yılmaz’s younger brother Yahya said the teacher had his own compositions. 

His grieving mother, Gülay Yılmaz, meanwhile, was having a hard time speaking or standing up. 

Necmettin Yılmaz’s death also left his girlfriend, identified only as E., devastated. He was planning to get engaged to her after Eid al-Fitr and get her to move to Şanlıurfa’s Siverek district after getting married.