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Investigators say Elci's death in Diyarbakir likely due to police gunfire

By Rudaw 8/2/2019
Tahir Elci was a Kurdish human rights lawyer who advocated for peace between the Turkish state and PKK. File photo: Rudaw
Tahir Elci was a Kurdish human rights lawyer who advocated for peace between the Turkish state and PKK. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Prominent Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elci likely died of gunshots from police officers, an investigation commissioned by UK-based Open Democracy reported on Friday.

"Police officers C and D can clearly be seen firing in the direction of Elci, and should be considered suspects in his killing," stated the report. "According to our analysis, one of these two officers likely fired the fatal shot that killed Elci."

The non-profit organization commissioned by Goldsmiths research group Forensic Architecture to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) to provide the most comprehensive, multi-dimensional investigation of the events as they played out.

"Seconds earlier, police officer A also had a line of fire towards Elci, though partly obstructed and at a greater distance. He should also be considered and questioned as a suspect," the report added.


Tahir Elci was born in 1966 in Cizre. He was working to help end the decades-long conflict between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish state.


He was killed at a press conference on November 28, 2015, while appealing for calm in Diyarbakir (Amed).


The government blamed the PKK and its affiliates for his death. The report did not rule out the possibility of Elci dying of crossfire between police and the PKK.


"It is quite possible that the killing was an unintentional consequence of the firefight. However, the way it unfolded, and Elci’s place within the long history of conflict in that region, make it inevitable that questions and suspicions will always surround the incident," it stated.


The report disproved a number of claims such as the police using blanks or Elci being killed by long-range weapons such as rifles carried by the PKK.


"This process of elimination suggested that one of the police officers who fired their weapons during the incident could have been responsible for the fatal shot," the report stated.


"A thorough, effective and transparent investigation by the public prosecutor is urgently necessary, not only to meet and do justice to those questions, but to discharge the most basic responsibility of the Turkish state towards its citizens.


Elci's death and outrage that ensued led to military curfews in Sur and other Kurdish areas until March 2016. 


More than 200 people died during the siege, according to humanitarians and NGOs. Buildings which were thousands of years old were leveled.


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Outsider | 9/2/2019
What I get from this report is that there is a possibility that Mr Elci was killed by accident...and indeed this must be investigated... but who started shooting in the first place? Fact is, the police did not start the shooting... fact is the police did its job... trying to protect innocent people... incl. Mr Elci... fact is also Mr Elci's well-known opposition to KCK/PKK actions in the region!
Israeli | 9/2/2019
if you believe this investigation, then you can easily believe that a bank robber can be the best person to be the manager of the bank he robes .....
kurdish natinalist | 9/2/2019
if you want to know the reality of turkey that this country and their people are the worst and dirtiest people on earth.
Mohamedzzz | 11/2/2019
Majority of Turks are real dumb, Todays hurriyet daily news:'All terrorists who kill Muslims have Western weapons:Turkish President Erdoğan'
Aaron | 12/2/2019
Having achieved a political victory on the basis of conflict and bloodletting it looks as if the Erdogan's Islamist murderers "AKP is intent on consolidating its grip on power by continued conflict as the state goes in pursuit of a military victory against the defenseless Kurds. "Such incidents as the murder of brave public figures like Elci can only foster enmity between the Turkish and Kurdish communities forcing Turks and Kurds to become more suspicious of each other and sowing the seeds of future conflict.
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