Families who lost relatives in clashes with police visit Kurdish father in solidarity

Families who lost relatives in clashes with police visit Kurdish father in solidarity
Update: 10 September 2022 21:44
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Ali Rıza Aslan, the Kurdish father who was given his son’s remains in a sack after seven years, received condolences from families who also lost their relatives in clashes with the police

Families who lost their relatives during the clashes in 2015 in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir paid a visit to express condolences to a father who was given his son’s bones in a sack after seven years of waiting.

The families who visited the Arslan family at their home could not not hold back their tears, as a video posted online showed family members hugging each other.

The families were accompanied by deputies from Peoples’ Democratic Party in their visit, as well as members of several rights groups.

In February last year, when excavators in Diyarbakir came across some bones that could have been buried there during the clashes of 2015-2016, father Ali Riza Aslan applied to the courthouse believing the bones could belong to his son, since he already knew he was buried near that place. 

After a two-year ceasefire between the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)  and Turkish state fell apart in July 2015, the PKK militants set up barricades and digged trenches to keep security forces away, but a brutal response from the army and police left hundreds of protesters dead after tanks and artillery hit the city centers of Kurdish towns for weeks.

After a lawsuit with DNA investigation, he could finally prove that the remains belonged to his son but when he went to the courthouse the officials took a sack from the cupboard and handed it to him. 

“I did not expect this at all, my eyes darkened, I gasped, it was as if the whole of Diyarbakır fell on my head at that moment,“ Aslan said.

Aslan said he waited on the roadside for a while with the sack in his hands, and then took a cab to go to Erzurum, where he lives. 

During a short ceremony in the funeral house, rights groups protested once again the way the family was given their son’s remains. 

“A mother and father searched for their child's remains for 7 years. And then they were delivered in a bag. They think by doing this they can frighten the Kurds. (...) They do not know that the anger and hatred of the Kurds are increasing a hundredfold,” said Meryem Soylu, Co-chairman of the Solidarity, Unity and Culture Association for Families Who Have Been Lost in the Cradle of Civilizations (MEBYA-DER).