Identification of Kurdish Victims of Turkish Special Force Operations


From the online newspaper, Yeni Ozgur Politika, translated by Rasti:

The identities of two of the eight people [Kurds] who had been taken by Bolu Brigade [Turkish counter-guerilla forces] from their homes under the pretext of showing them an address, and then returning them, have been revealed. These people were Hasan Örhan and his brother, Mehmet Selim Örhan. In 1994, during a Bolu Command Brigade operation, these eight people were raided and their bodies were burned. Recent DNA results revealed the identity of the two, out of eight. IHD Diyarbakir branch held a press conference in order to declare the results of the DNA test.

As the deputy chief of IHD, Reyhan YalçındaÄŸ, gave a brief background of the incident: “14 years ago, on 24 May 1994, the soldiers who held an operation in Diyarbakir Kulp district, ÇaÄŸlayan village, Deveboyu region, detained Mehmet Selim Örhan, Hasan Örhan, and Cezair Örhan.

Despite their family members’ resistance, who are today among us, a high-ranking soldier mentioned that he would take them in order to show them an address and then he would release them. However, no one heard from them since.”

According to YalçındaÄŸ, regional departments and prosecutors conclude that there are approximately 5,000 similar cases. Since IHD could not find any resolution for these cases because of [Turkey’s] internal law, it has applied to the European Court of Human Rights. Regarding these issues, ECHR found Turkey guilty.

In 2004, the Örhan family found eight unidentified bodies. After the DNA testing of these bodies, it became clear that two of these bodies were Hasan and Mehmet Selim Örhan.

IHD revealed the results of the DNA tests in a press conference at which the Örhan family was present without knowing the results. When the results were announced, indicating that the bones of Hasan and Mehmet Selim Örhan were found, many family members suffered breakdowns. Thus, IHD had to cut short the press conference.

More about the Bolu Commandos from a 2003 Human Rights Watch Report:

The Bolu Commando Brigade, for example, was reportedly responsible for numerous violations of the laws of war, including village destruction, indiscriminate fire, and “disappearances.” Relatives of victims of several extrajudicial executions and “disappearances” in Diyarbakir province in 1993 named the Bolu Commando Brigade as the perpetrating unit. The European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of violations of the right to life in two clusters of “disappearances” reportedly involving Bolu commandos. One case was the “disappearance” of eleven Kurdish inhabitants of the village of Alaca in Diyarbakir province in 1993 (Akdeniz and others v Turkey). The second was the “disappearance” of three men from the village of Cağlayan in in 1993. Relatives said that soldiers from the Bolu Commando Brigade took the men away (Orhan v Turkey). None of the perpetrators of these incidents have been brought to justice.

Given the strong evidence linking the Bolu Commando Brigade with grave abuses in circumstances similar to those that may arise in Northern Iraq, the Bolu Commando Brigade should not be sent for service there. The same should apply for other units or individuals linked to past gross violations of human rights or humanitarian law.