Şerali Dereli, who lived in the village of Duranlar in Yüksekova district of Hakkari (Colemêrg) in Turkey, was killed by soldiers who were conducting an operation on 29 October.
The Hakkari Governorship issued a statement days later, claiming that Dereli was shot because he did not obey a ‘stop’ warning. His family, however, state that this is a lie. According to his family, he walked to the barn which was 50 metres away from his house to look after his horses, and he was then killed. The lawyer Eren Baskın, a member of the Human Rights Association (İHD), was in the region and made the following observations in the village in an interview with Mesopotamia News Agency.
Baskın stated that his doubts over how the incident took place increased once he heard the statement from the Hakkari Governorship: “The statements of family members in the village do not match with the statements of the governor’s office and the statements given by the military personnel. Here, a Turkish citizen is killed by a bullet from a gun that belongs to Turkish armed forces. This happened within the borders of the Republic of Turkey. If there is a violation of rights anywhere, we, as human rights defenders, of course, will be involved in this. Şerali Dereli’s brother was killed in the same way 37 years ago. We will strive to prevent such incidents from happening again”.
He made reference to the governorship’s statement that: “Şerali Dereli was already a drug smuggler. He had a file in the past. We found methamphetamine with him when he died”. Baskın claimed that after the crowd was dispersed at the incident site, methamphetamine was left right there and this could be seen in videos made public via social media. Baskın emphasised the fact that Şerali Dereli’s body was kept on the ground for six hours. One of his family members said: “My father was screaming and asking for help”. However, this statement contradicts what soldiers said, Baskın noted.
Baskin pointed out that “no one should forget that this man was kept there for six hours. This is where it matters now; he was left there for six hours. If the ambulance had been called when he was shot, could he have been saved? When the soldiers called the ambulance will be revealed after the soldiers’ phone records are investigated”.
Baskın also claimed that the soldiers were aware of the mistake they made during the incident. “We did something wrong. We killed a villager while chasing two people. We killed a 61-year-old man”, they said and tried to find ways to cover this up, said Baskın after visiting the village and talking to the villagers in the region about the incident. He also criticized the impunity with which state agents kill people, and noted that there are other simikar cases. He pointed out that if the soldiers who killed Şerali Dereli are charged with “killing by negligence”, more deaths will follow.