Court acquits police officer who hit and killed 5-year-old with armored car in SE Turkey

A Turkish court has ruled to acquit police officer İdris A., who caused the death of a 5-year-old boy in southeastern Turkey in 2019 with an armored vehicle he was driving, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Efe Tektekin was hit and killed by an armored vehicle as he was walking across the street in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in September 2019.

The hearing was held at the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court on March 29.

A total of 67 children in Turkey have been killed by armored vehicles, landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) since 2011, according to a report by the Diyarbakır Bar Association.

Twenty-two children have died after being hit by government vehicles since 2011, while landmines and ERW caused 45 deaths, the report said.

The killing of civilians by armored vehicles is common in Turkey’s Southeast, where there is a heavy military presence due to ongoing clashes between the Turkish military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in February rejected a parliamentary motion by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to investigate civilian deaths caused by armored vehicles in Turkey’s Southeast.

In January Abdulgaffar Dayan (23) died after he was hit by an armored police vehicle in the southeastern province of Şırnak. According to the local reports the armored vehicle hit Dayan as he was crossing a street in Cizre. He was taken to the emergency room at Cizre State Hospital where he later died.

In an interview Mehmet Emin Tümür, co-chair of the Diyarbakır branch of the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers, earlier said armored vehicles are too heavy and too large for residential areas. “These vehicles have too many blind spots, and it’s hard to sense your surroundings,” he said. “If these vehicles are driven above the speed limit, it becomes very difficult to control them.”

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