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‘Warning shot’ fired by Turkish soldier killed Kurdish teenager, says governor

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A 16-year-old Kurdish boy who died after being shot by a Turkish soldier was hit by a “warning shot,” the governor of eastern Hakkari province said on Tuesday.

On Monday three people who went to the Hakkari countryside to look for acorns and have a picnic were fired at by soldiers. Özcan Erbaş was shot, succumbing to his wounds at a nearby hospital, the T24 news website reported.

However, the governor’s statement said the three were mistaken by soldiers for smugglers who were trying to cross the border.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party deputy Sait Dede took the matter to Twitter, saying, “Another Kurdish youngster, another cold-blooded murder. Özcan Erbaş, 16, was massacred by military fire in Hakkari’s Derecik district,” Dede tweeted.

The pressure on Turkey’s Kurdish population, as well as all non-loyalist citizens, reached new heights following a coup attempt in July 2016 when the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on dissidents under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Ankara has arrested hundreds of Kurdish politicians and ousted dozens of democratically elected Kurdish mayors from office on terrorism charges. Former HDP co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ have been behind bars since November 2016 on politically motivated charges.

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