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Outrage as Turkish Soldiers Kill Kurd, Drag Body Through Streets

Residents in Şırnak, Turkey, are expressing outrage after a video and images surfaced on the Internet, showing Turkish soldiers dragging a Kurdish man through their streets.

The video no longer exists online, but Today’s Zaman reported it shows “the body being dragged while police officers in the vehicle are heard swearing at the dead body.” One officer even congratulates “his colleague for killing the man.”

The victim is 24-year-old “Hacı Lokman Birlik, the brother-in-law of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şırnak deputy Leyla Birlik.” He allegedly died during a clash between Turkish forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Marxist-Lenin terror group. The U.S., EU, and NATO have all designated the PKK a terrorist organization.

Those in Şırnak protested the Turkish soldiers as they participated in his funeral on Sunday. The government denied they had anything to do with it, but once images emerged, they admitted to the killing but claimed the man “was wearing a suicide vest.”

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu condemned the actions of the police officers.

“It is unacceptable to treat any corpse this way, even if it is a dead terrorist,” he told Turkish media. “Our Interior Ministry… will conduct a comprehensive investigation, not into the incident itself, but into the way in which this incident was reflected to the world.”

NATO member Turkey joined the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) after a deadly attack on their border with Syria. However, different outlets have reported that Turkey decided to bomb in areas of Iraqi Kurdistan instead.

The government arrested three Vice News journalists on charges of terrorism with links to ISIS. But a closer look showed the journalists merely possessed massive interviews with the PKK.

The fighting caused the PKK to declare an autonomous region in the Dersim province in August. From Rudaw:

“We declare our self-management,” said Muhsin Kula, who claimed to be part of the new government. “Our villages and cities have been turned into ruins. The latest Varto case is proof that humanity is dead.”

Varto is a town in eastern Turkey where on or around August 10 a female PKK fighter named Ekin Van was allegedly raped and killed before her naked body was dragged through the streets by Turkish security forces. The incident has outraged Kurds throughout the region.

“We will not recognize state institutions in this region. We hereby declared that we manage ourselves,” Kula said.

Rudaw posted a video of PKK members “controlling the road and searching vehicles.”

“We as guerrillas, under the right of self-defense for ourselves and our nation, declare democratic autonomy in Dersim,” explained one fighter.

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