Deaths caused by armoured vehicles in the Kurdish populated cities of Turkey are causing outrage among residents. The latest incident took place last week. Abdulgaffar Dayan (23) was hit by a Ranger-type vehicle in the Cizre district of Şırnak on 24 January and died two days later at the hospital where he was being treated.
According to a report by the Human Rights Association (IHD), with Dayan’s death, 43 people, including 20 children, have been killed by armoured vehicles in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority provinces within the last 13 years.
Diyarbakır (Amed) is among the cities where many have been killed by armoured vehicles in recent years. Residents are furious about the situation. Barış Durçapan is one of them. Speaking to Mesopotamia News Agency, Durçapan said:
“These armoured vehicles are especially to be found in Kurdish-polulated areas – because apparently, we’re terrorists! We Kurds want to be free.”
There is a policy of impunity in court cases relating to the deaths. In response to this, Durçapan said, “Will the driver of the car that hit the lad in Cizre be put in jail? He will not. The state is responsible for these deaths. The government sees us as being in the wrong and so justify the deaths. They’re taking the beauty of life away from us.”
Another Diyarbakır resident, Serdal Fidancı, said that armoured vehicles are everywhere in Diyarbakır.
“The dead boy had done nothing wrong. Armoured vehicles are going about everywhere without stopping. There’s no park, those kids have to play on the streets. Armoured vehicles patrol through the narrow little streets.”
Seven-year-old Miraç Miroğlu was killed by an armoured vehicle on 3 September 2021 as he was riding his bike near his home in the city of Silopi (Girkê Amo).
Pointing out that armoured vehicles are on the streets constantly in the Kurdish populated cities, Ferhat Süre asked, “Could you put armoured vehicles in Istanbul, Taksim or the tourist areas of Antalya?”
“Aren’t people in Diyarbakir, Van, Silopi or Cizre of equal value to those in the western cities like Izmir, Antalya, Aydin or Istanbul? If we’re equal and the same; then when something happens to a young man in Cizre we should be able to react in the same way as they do when the same thing happens in Istanbul.”
“It should be the state, not us, thinking about what is going on,” Oktay Harman, another resident of Diyarbakir said.
“Policies of impunity have increased the numbers of deaths caused by armoured vehicles. And they’re relaxed enough to kill people on the roads. If we Kurds say something to a government official, they detain us or raid our homes. And when they kill these people in the streets, they are never punished.”