Kurds criticize Turkish government’s silence on mass graves
ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires – Thousands of people marched Wednesday in eastern Turkey to protest what they described as the government’s silence on mass graves uncovered in the area last month.
Hundreds of vehicles were used to transport people from the surrounding provinces of Van, Diyarbakır, Muş, Batman and Siirt to Bitlis’ Mutki district to participate in the march, which was organized by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, and various nongovernmental organizations.
The crowd, numbering in the thousands, gathered in Bitlis and then moved on to Mutki, where 12 skeletons were uncovered Jan. 5, and eight more found Jan. 20, all near a dump site used by the local gendarmerie station.
The discovery of the mass graves would be on the top of the agenda had it occurred in any other country in the world, said BDP co-leader Gülten Kışanak. She added that no one should expect Kurds to trust the state unless light is shed on the mass graves and unsolved murders in Turkey.
The deputy leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, released a written statement Wednesday claiming that the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has blocked efforts to uncover the truth about unsolved murders.
“One of the most fundamental elements of our country attaining peace, democracy and enlightenment and solving the Kurdish problem is to shed light on the unsolved murders and the missing [people],” deputy CHP leader Sezgin Tanrıkulu wrote in his statement. He added that the AKP has rejected several resolutions on unsolved murders that the CHP has introduced in Parliament.
“The AKP’s [Kurdish] initiative is buried in the mass grave,” he said.
“If the Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] will not reveal these [guilty parties], he is a partner in the crime of Ergenekon,” Kışanak said at Wednesday’s march. “The traces of Ergenekon are here. So where is the prime minister?”
Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist, shadowy gang accused of planning to topple the government by staging a coup, initially by spreading chaos and mayhem. People who believe the alleged gang is responsible for thousands of unsolved murders in Southeast Anatolia have criticized the ongoing Ergenekon case because the indictment only deals with the alleged coup attempt.
Wednesday’s march in Bitlis was headed by the Mesopotamia Association for Assistance to Families with Lost Relatives, or MEYA-DER, and supported by several similar platforms and associations.