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Turkish military guilty of killing family of 9, blamed on PKK for 20 years

By Rudaw 9/1/2016
A Kurdish village guard walking alongside a Turkish soldier. AP file photo
A Kurdish village guard walking alongside a Turkish soldier. AP file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—In 1993 and at the peak of daily confrontations between the Turkish military and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) nine members of a Kurdish family were burned to death inside their home in a village near Mus.

For twenty years the deaths of Mehmet Ogut, his pregnant wife and 7 children aged 3-13 were blamed on the PKK guerrillas, but the opening of the case three years ago and witness accounts tell a different story. The village home was in fact set on fire by Turkish soldiers.

Hours before the incident the army and PKK guerrillas were engaged in a firefight near the village of Has that left a Turkish officer named Mustafa Ocar and a PKK fighter dead.

“On their way back from the fight that day, the soldiers assembled everyone in the village center and said ‘Tonight your village will be burned,’” Aysel Ogut, Mehmet Ogut’s daughter and lone survivor told the public prosecutor in Mus in 2013.

Aysel who survived the tragedy because she was staying at a relative’s house that night said that she saw the soldiers setting her family home on fire.

“I saw through the window a tank stopping in front of our home,” she recalled the day that forever deprived her of her parents and siblings. “Then suddenly the house was engulfed in fire. We ran out and begged them to stop but the soldiers held us back. They even started beating my cousin Remzi.”

Back then, the regional prosecutor blamed the deaths on the PKK and immediately declared the case closed.

But in recent years Kurdish lawyers, chief among them Tahir Elci, reopened many such murder cases across the country including Ogut’s family and brought them to prosecutors for retrial.

Rudaw was recently given access to the case of Ogut’s family.

“We were busy treating my cousin (Remzi) and we thought the soldiers had evacuated my family from the house before setting it on fire,” Aysel’s testimony reads.

In the course of two years (2013-2014) the prosecutor questioned Hanafi Akyildiz, an officer present in the village at the time of the incident, but his response was that he learned of the fire the day after it happened.

Serefettin Oz, commander of the special units and suspect in the family deaths, similarly responded “I didn’t see it,”, “I am unaware”.
It is believed that the army had destroyed all the evidence about the crime.

“When Mehmet Ogut’s house was on fire we rushed to help them but we were not allowed even though the children cried and terrifyingly tried to escape through the windows,” a village witness told the prosecutor in 2014.

Another witness whose identity was concealed by the court testified that on their way out the soldiers had deliberately opened fire on the village council building and torched two police vehicles.

During the investigations the prosecutor sent a memo to the commander of the Mus region in charge of the area at the time and asked for the names of soldiers participant in the operation that day but the memo somehow disappeared before reaching its destination.

The investigations eventually came to an end in late 2014 with sentences of life imprisonment for three gendarme officers, a member of the special forces and nine soldiers.

The sentencing is now in Kirikkale where the court is expected to make a final decision next month.


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Jamal | 9/1/2016
All the crimes done in 90s by security forces brought to sue most of them punished by court and kins of victims have been paid in billions for their loses.....averagely, 100 K Euro paid for each victim......But the thausands of innocent civilians, including new born babies that killed by PKK Stalinist communist terrorists not been still sued at any courts...
Brzoo Kurdi
Brzoo Kurdi | 9/1/2016
kurt basar | 9/1/2016
Turks were partners & sympathizers of the Hitler by their barbaric nature during the second world war II, they are killing the Kurds who are asking for their basic rights without any mercy since early 18th, century. And since year 1923 to this day, they still wouldn't allowing 25 millions of the Kurds to teach, write or sing their own language. Today in this grade "A" fascist Muslim country who are with medieval dungeoneers mentality, poor Kurdish man & woman are in the jail for singing in Kurdish. Question is? for how long these supposed to be civilized members of the world community & NATO are going tolerate this backstabbing & double dealing AKP cult & their wannabe Hitler leader? who is openly supports the ISIL criminals, Al Qaeda, Muslim brotherhood savages and all of the other Muslim terror organization.
D. Rojbeyani | 9/1/2016
Majority of crimes (99%) on civilians that are blamed on PKK are actually implemented by Turkish security forces or their backed islamic or ultra nationalist groups. Turkey is a terrorist state with a license to kill.
Dryasiulia | 9/1/2016
Over 40,000 dead due to PKK terrorism is far more deaths than ISIL and Turkey combined have caused. Considering Erdogan has done more for the Kurds than any Turkish leader before him and the majority of Kurds voted AKP it seems the terrorist organization PKK is more likely to commit genocide than anyone else. I doubt any Kurdish people are going to jail for speaking or singing in Kurdish lately. I don't think any modern NATO or other nation is too worried about Turkey committing genocide. As a matter of historical fact the Kurds were one of the killers of Armenians during the Armenian genocides. How come Turkey is not afraid of the northern Iraqi Kurds and actually likes them and is working with them? Hmmmm?

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