A bar association in southeastern Turkey and lawyers representing the family of a prominent Kurdish lawyer who was shot to death in 2015 have demanded that a court summon former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to testify after he referred to the killing of the lawyer as an “assassination,” Turkish media reported on Friday.
Tahir Elçi, a human rights lawyer and then-chair of the Diyarbakır Bar Association in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır, was shot dead with a single bullet to the head while giving a speech on November 28, 2015.
“Tahir Elçi was the victim of a political assassination,” Future Party (GP) leader Davutoğlu told reporters during a recent visit to Diyarbakır.
In his petition to the court, Diyarbakır Bar Association President Nahit Eren said Davutoğlu repeated his remarks during a visit to the Diyarbakır Bar Association on the same day, adding that Davutoğlu indicated he was ready to offer any assistance to shed light on the assassination.
Eren reminded that Davutoğlu was prime minister at the time of the murder and might have been informed of the murder by the Justice Ministry or the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as well as police or gendarmerie intelligence, and that his statements should be viewed as based on fact.
The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office named three police officers — Mesut Sevgi, Fuat Tan and Sinan Tabur — in addition to Uğur Yakışır, an alleged member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as suspects in the indictment accepted by the court five years after the murder of Elçi.
Elçi received death threats in 2015 after stating that “the PKK is not a terrorist group” during a live TV show. Elçi was briefly detained in November 2015 over the remarks. He was subsequently released pending trial and faced up to seven-and-a-half years in prison.