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Violence against Kurds in Turkey on the rise

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Sixty-one-year-old Kurdish villager Şerali Dereli was shot dead by soldiers 50 meters from his house. In another incident, Ferit Kanlı and his wife Evin Kanlı were seriously injured by police fire and were hospitalized. Such attacks targeting civilians in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast have recently increased in frequency.

Shot while taking his horses to the barn

The village of Duranlar is a small settlement inhabited by six families, located near Hakkari. It was where Dereli (61) came under fire from soldiers on Oct. 29, while he was taking his horses to a barn some 50 meters from his house. Dereli died, and his horses were also shot.

A video taken after the incident was widely circulated on social media. In the footage a nephew of Dereli is heard saying: “Here on the ground lies my uncle. Some 20-30 meters from the village [pointing at the village lights] they shot my uncle repeatedly. In the coming days it will be on the news, and they will say he was found with C-4 explosives on him. But my uncle is 60 years old and he did not commit any crimes.”

The man in the video also said the authorities prevented them from retrieving the body, using firearms and tear gas to stop them.

“This is what they call ‘the state’ in Turkey,” he said, pointing at the lifeless body of his uncle lying on the ground.

The cries of Dereli’s relatives were also heard, and many soldiers holding weapons were visible in the video.

His son, Sultan Ali Dereli, spoke to the Mezopotamya news agency, describing the incident as “savagery.”

“My father had left to take the horses to the barn as usual at 6 in the evening. There, the soldiers brutally murdered him and the horses. This is savagery. My father did not have a weapon or anything of the sort. He was murdered 50 meters from his house. Those responsible must be prosecuted,” he said.

Shot with his wife

Ferit Kanlı and his wife Evin Kanlı were shot by police on Oct. 28 in the Güroymak district of Bitlis province.

According to the testimony of an eyewitness who wanted to remain anonymous, the police used excessive force over a simple quarrel after they were called to the scene where Ferit Kanlı was involved in a row with his uncle.

The police first shot Ferit Kanlı in the foot and started to beat him up. Then, they shot Evin Kanlı while she was trying to defend her husband. The couple was hospitalized and put in intensive care.

Two villagers thrown off a helicopter

The surge in violence against Kurdish civilians made the news in early September when two villagers were delivered unconscious to a hospital by soldiers who had detained them. One villager’s bloodshot eyes and eyewitness reports corroborated allegations of torture. One of the victims, Servet Turgut, succumbed to his injuries on Sept 30, while the other, Osman Şiban, suffered from partial memory loss and spoke to a pro-Kurdish lawmaker, saying that the two were beaten by a mob of soldiers.

Four Kurdish journalists who reported on the incident were arrested on charges of disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a militant group that has waged a secessionist insurgency in the Kurdish majority Southeast for decades.

Seasonal Kurdish workers assaulted

Another attack that drew widespread public reaction took place in Sakarya. A group of Kurdish villagers harvesting hazelnuts as seasonal workers were assaulted by local residents.

One of the villagers recorded the incident and posted the video on social media. Women were also seen being battered in the video.

İHD: Violence is on the rise due to authoritarian policies

According to a report released by the Turkish-based Human Rights Association (İHD), the increase in racially motivated violence is the result of the escalation in authoritarian practices and the polarizing language used by the government.

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