Two Kurdish Men Killed in Clashes with Turkish Police


Two people were yesterday killed in clashes with Turkish police in the district of Gever (Yüksekova) in northern Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey).

Protesters were demonstrating against ongoing attacks on the graves of PKK members when police attacked them with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

Ömer Oğuz, a reporter from Yüksekova News, told Bianet:

Clashes broke out for 5 minutes between the protestors and the police during the incident and two died. Veysel İşbilir and Mehmet Reşat İşbilir lost their lives. […]

Around 5:50 pm local time, several people including Yüksekova mayor and local human rights representatives rushed into Yüksekova Public Hospital to get information on the incident. However, tensions rose in front of the hospital as well. The police broke out people with gas bombs.

The two men, Mehmet Reşit İşbilir (35) and Veysel İşbilir (34), were killed by police bullets. An autopsy report states that Mehmet Reşit was hit by 6 bullets while Veysel was hit by 2.

Dicle News Agency writes today that police have used tear gas against people who were waiting to participate in the funeral march for Mehmet and Veysel İşbilir that counted tens of thousands of mourners. Young protesters reacted by throwing molotov cocktails and stones at the police.

Members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were present at the funeral. HDP co-chairs Sebahat Tuncel and Ertuğrul Kürkçü issued a written statement about the killings and the Turkish government’s ruling party, AKP:

The AKP’s cowardice is encouraging an alliance of uniformed and civilian bureaucrats and certain representatives of political parties who want to sabotage the peace process.

We send our condolences to the families of Reşit İşbilir and Veysel İşbilir who were shot by police while protesting at attacks on gravestones in Gever (Yüksekova).

While the forces of peace and democracy and the Kurdish people are doing their utmost to maintain the ‘process of peace and resolution’, the AKP government is constantly looking for excuses to avoid taking any steps. This cowardice is only encouraging those who wish to sabotage the process.

Do not transgress the beliefs of the Kurdish people and their respect for their martyrs. Listen to the proposals of the BDP and HDP regarding the acceleration of the peace process and democratisation, and do not evade taking the necessary measures to make Mr Abdullah Öcalan the chief negotiator. Those who open fire on those exercising their democratic right of protest must be immediately tried and convicted.

Mehmet and Veysel İşbilir will be laid to rest at Akalin cemetery.

Once there are further developments, this article will be updated as more reports emerge of ongoing excessive force and brutality from Turkish police.

Note: The two men were not brothers as previously stated. They are uncle and nephew.

Update (December 12, 2013): Bianet reports today that thousands of people in the Yüksekova district bid farewell to Bemal Tokçu, a protestor who was killed by police fire on December 7. The killing took place during a protest after the funerals of Mehmet Reşit and Veysel İşbilir.