The unresolved assassination of Tahir Elçi, a prominent Kurdish lawyer and human rights advocate, continues to resonate eight years after the tragic event in Diyarbakır (Amed), a Kurdish-majority city in southeast Turkey.
On 28 November 2015, Elçi was shot dead in front of the historic Four-Legged Minaret in the Sur district of Diyarbakır, sparking widespread calls for justice that persist to this day.
Nahit Eren, President of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, has critically evaluated the murder and the subsequent legal process. “For four years and six months, not a single suspect was named; the investigation was conducted with reluctance,” Eren stated. The subsequent involvement of the Bar led to the indictment being prepared following the analysis of video footage abroad. Eren added, “We know that the Tahir Elçi murder is not confined to the Four-Legged Minaret.”
Eren pointed to the 12-second gap in the police camera footage at the crucial moment of Elçi’s murder as a significant oversight in the investigation. This missing footage, along with the absence of recordings from a post office camera and a local kebab shop, raises serious questions about the integrity of the evidence-gathering process.
“The indictment prepared was mediocre,” Eren remarked, highlighting the inclusion of three police officers and another individual as suspects. This, according to him, demonstrates the carelessness of the investigation and indictment process. He criticised the court’s change of decision about hearing former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who had previously categorised the murder as a political assassination, suggesting external pressures on the case.
Eren also referred to the testimony of a witness, Deniz Ateş, who claimed to have been tortured into giving a statement incriminating Elçi. Despite this claim, the court did not pursue a complaint against the investigating prosecutor.
With the next court hearing scheduled on Wednesday 29 November, the day after the eighth anniversary of Elçi’s death, Diyarbakır Bar Association is organising a commemoration event, inviting widespread attendance to maintain focus on the quest for justice. Eren expressed hope for eventual resolution, drawing parallels with past crimes uncovered years later, and called for public support and solidarity in this pursuit of justice.