Hessin Erkol, came to Diyarbakır (Amed) from Van (Wan) for the seventh time to retrieve the body of his daughter, Mercan Erkol, who lost her life in a conflict in 2017 and whose remains have still not been delivered to the family. All attempts of Mercan Erkol’s father have been inconclusive, being answered by the authorities with “the documents are missing” or the prosecutors “have no authority’’.
According to Mesopotamia Agency (MA), the funeral of Mercan Erkol, who lost her life in a clash that broke out on 16 November 2017 in the Şenyayla region between Diyarbakır’s Kulp district and Muş borders, has not been possible for the family, despite all their attempts. Upon the disclosure of her identity on March 17, 2019, father Hessin Erkol applied to Diyarbakır Provincial Gendarmerie Command.
The father of Mercan Erkol then gave a blood sample to Dicle University Hospital for DNA testing. The Provincial Gendarmerie Command said that they would call the father Erkol to take his daughter’s body after four months. Erkol went to Yeniköy Cemetery in Diyarbakır (Amed) with soldiers and police officers but the prosecutor’s office decided not to open the grave on the grounds of the identity of three bodies in the grave were ‘not known’.
The family’s lawyer Havva Atlı stated that the legal struggle they started two years ago to retrieve the body of Mercan Erkol for burial must come to an end and that they were determined to retrieve her body.
”Documents have been lost”
Stating that the problems created by the authorities up until now have been “negligence of duty”, the family lawyer Atlı said, “Although the report determining the gender was written in 2019, it was not processed and the document disappeared,’’ she said and continued: “Then another report is sent to the relevant institutions; but this document ‘disappears’ again. “It is left in another court file, not in the investigation file, so we have always faced this chain of negligence,” she said.
”Rights are violated!”
The family lawyer Atlı said that Turkey signed the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and she reminded that ‘the right to be buried’ is protected under Article 3 and Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention and that these articles are being violated by Turkey.
”They even are scared of the bones”
Father Hessin Erkol, who came to Diyarbakır to collect the remains of his daughter for burial seven times stated that the authorities constantly talk about justice and law, but that the bodies of People’s Defence Forces’ (HPG) members who lost her lives in conflicts for years have not been delivered to their families, and added:
“The state has not been able to determine the DNA for a funeral for two years. They are afraid of even the bones that they themselves buried. The reason why they do not give us the bones of our loved ones is to discourge us. They think that they will upset us, they think that we will give up when we have to come and go a few times, but they should know this very well: We will not stop coming to take our child’s bones,” he said.