Kurdish-speaking Turkish soldier severely beaten by comrades, hospitalised

A soldier was beaten unconscious and put in a coma by two other soldiers he was serving alongside after a campaign of bullying for speaking Kurdish, a parliamentarian for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) told online news outlet Artı Gerçek on Wednesday.

HDP deputy Mehmet Emin Adıyaman said Pvt. Fikret Aydemir had undergone brain surgery due to a serious injury to the skull and that his internal organs had suffered damage but that he was recovering and would soon be discharged from the hospital. Aydemir, he said, had long been abused for his Kurdish identity at his guard post.

According to a report by online news outlet Ahval, Lezgin Botan, another HDP deputy who visited Aydemir, said the soldier had told his family he was being threatened but that the military had done nothing to stop the attack. “In the end, that’s a guard post. There are NCOs, captains and sergeants there,” Botan said and added, “In that place, a soldier was beaten almost to death for over half an hour, that is not normal.”

Botan also said there were other, similar instances elsewhere. “Earlier in Antep there was a soldier … attacked by a group for having a photograph of HDP former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş on his phone,” he said and added that “there are a group of soldiers, some of whom were jailed and some released pending trial, who attacked people for dancing a Kurdish halay.”

Meanwhile, a colonel who came to the hospital, Adıyaman said, had assured him that an investigation would be opened into the incident.

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