HDP says Turkish gov’t destructs 13 cemeteries where killed PKK militants buried

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has stated on Friday that Turkish authorities have destructed at least 13 cemeteries where the killed militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were buried.

According to a report by Kurdistan24, HDP deputy Mizgin Irgat said in a parliamentary motion that numerous graves, gravestones or whole cemeteries had come under attack or were destructed in the last two years by the military or police at the behest of Ankara-appointed governors.

Urging the Parliament to look into the matter, Irgat reminded that only last week in Bitlis province the Turkish army units destructed a cemetery comprised of the graves of 267 militants. Remnants of the the militants buried in the Bitlis cemetery were transferred from the area under curfew to İstanbul’s Forensic Institute.

Irgat has also said that the similar cases were also recorded in the provinces of Muş, Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Hakkari, Mardin and Agrı since the collapse of the 2013-15 peace talks between Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime and the PKK . Authorities “have broken gravestones, covered writings on them. They have banned families from visiting their loved ones’ burial places by announcing the surrounding areas as military security zones,” she explained.

Reminding of a mob’s attack in September on a funeral ceremony in the Turkish capital of Ankara for the deceased mother of the imprisoned Deputy Co-chair of HDP, Aysel Tuğluk, Irgat said, violations on the right to have a grave and a respectful burial continued. “In the entirety of human history, even in the most brutal wars, short ceasefires have been announced for the sole purpose of retrieving the fallen [so they can be buried]. The respect for the dead would not be ignored,” Irgat stated.

“The state of affairs we are witnessing is one that is testing communal sensitivities. If there is no consideration for those sensitivities, then it will not be possible to talk of compromise and co-existence,” she said.

In September, troops acting under orders of an Ankara-appointed governor in Bingol demolished the grave of a volunteer with Peshmerga force, Sait Çürükkaya who was killed during an offensive to capture the then ISIL-held Iraqi city of Mosul in late 2016. Çürükkaya’s brother then penned an open letter to the President Erdoğan to protest the act.

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