After the remains of a woman was found on the side of the road in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Silopi (Girkê Amo) on Saturday, the branch chair of a certain ‘Association of the Hearths of Special Operations’ was arrested and charged with her murder on Monday.
The woman was identified by DNA analysis as Sakine Kültür, a 40-year-old mother with five children.
Her deformed and burnt remains suggested that she’d been subjected to torture before her death.
Three suspects, İbrahim Barkın, Yunus Kültür and Hacı Kültür were detained on Sunday. While Barkın, the association’s branch chair was consequently charged, the other two suspects were released.
İbrahim Barkın confessed in his statement that he tortured and killed Sakine Kültür, according to a report by Mezopotamya News Agency.
In a video he posted on Twitter in February 2020, Barkın said he and his friend volunteered to be enlisted to fight in cross border operations of the Turkish military.
“In order that we can stand by our Turkish armed forces in its fight against terror and that we can support our Turkish armed forces in its cross border operations, we, as the Association of the Hearths of Special Operations, request that we are enlisted as volunteers.”
A group of woman including family members of Sakine Kültür gathered in front of the courthouse in Silopi on Sunday in protest. They were prevented by the police from entering the courthouse. They continued to protest outside the building, chanting slogans.
While there is extremely scant information about the Association of the Hearths of Special Operations on the Web, a facebook page of the association’s Kocaeli branch suggests that it is a militaristic group, and an imitation of the Grey Wolves, the unofficial youth wing of the Nationalist Movement Party of Turkey (MHP).
The caption on the image displayed at the top of the front page reads:
“This state never surrenders a patch of its land, or a drop of water, or a single child in the hands of backstabbers.”
Government-supporting groups that advocate vigilante actions in the face of claimed threats against the Turkish Republic became more visible in Turkey after the military coup attempt in 2016.
The label of ‘People’s Special Operations’ (named after the Police Special Operations) became particularly popular among those who sought to express their support for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration more directly, brandishing guns.