The trial of the ‘Kızıltepe JITEM’ ended in a decision of the court to acquit all the suspects of murder charges in the case regarding the execution of twenty-two people between 1992 and 1996 in the southeastern province of Mardin in Turkey.
The first hearing was held in 2015 and the charges of enforced disappearance, murder and extrajudicial execution were dropped as the 20-year period of statutory limitations had come into effect by the time the 19th hearing of the ‘Kızıltepe JITEM’ case took place on 9 September 2019.
“The perpetrators are convicted in the eyes of the people”
After the trial ended, it was reported that the attorney’s fees for the defendants had been paid for by the Governor of Mardin.
On hearing the news, Erdal Kuzu, a lawyer in the ‘Kızıltepe JITEM’ case, stated: “It has been revealed that the state is protecting the people who committed these murders”.
Confirmation that the payment was made by the Governorship was revealed after a written request was made by Ankara’s Bar Association to Ankara’s 5th High Criminal Court on 29 June.
“We said that the defendants will receive the necessary punishment if they were not protected by the state from the very beginning”, said Kuzu. “However, it has been revealed that the state protects those who committed these murders. This is a scandal for a democratic society. These cases may have been closed in courtrooms today, but the perpetrators are convicted in the eyes of the people”.
About the Trial
A lawsuit had been filed against nine people in relation to the murder and enforced disappearance of twenty-two people in the district of Kızıltepe in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin between the years of 1992 and 1996.
The names the the people who were murdered or disappeared are: Abdulvehap Yiğit, Süleyman Ünal, Mehmet Nuri Yiğit, Tacettin Yiğit, Zübeyir Birlik, Abdulbaki Birlik, Kemal Birlik, Zeki Alabalık, Menduh Demir, Nurettin Yalçınkaya, Necat (Şemsettin) Yalçınkaya, Mehmet Emin Abak, Hıdır Öztürk, Abdulvahap Ateş, Mahmut Abak, Yusuf Tunç, Şeyhmus Kaban, İzzettin Yiğit, Yusuf Çakar, Abdurrahman Öztürk, Mehmet Ali Yiğit and Abdulbaki Yiğit.
The defendants of the case were: Retired Colonel Hasan Atilla Uğur, Diyarbakır Provincial Gendarmerie Commander of the time Colonel Eşref Hatipoğlu, Gendarmerie Company Commander Ahmet Boncuk, Sergeant Major Ünal Alkan and the then village guards Abdurrahman Kurğa, Mehmet Emin Kurğa, Ramazan Çetin, Mehmet Salih Kılınçaslan and İsmet Kandemir.
In 2014, a lawsuit was filed against the above defendants on charges of “establishing or leading an armed organization, being members of an armed organization and killing deliberately”.
The indictment was presented in the hearing on 27 April 2016. The prosecutor later expressed the view that there was “no need” to arrest them or place them under judicial control measures.
The Ankara 5th Heavy Penal Court announced its ruling in the 19th hearing of the ‘Kızıltepe JITEM’ case on 9 September 2019.
The court ruled that the defendants, retired Colonel Hasan Atilla Uğur and Diyarbakır Provincial Gendarmerie Commander at the time, Colonel Eşref Hatipoğlu, had been acquitted of “establishing and leading an armed organization”.
The other defendants were acquitted of “being members of an armed terrorist organization” as per Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
All the suspects of the murders were acquitted with the final decision of the court in 2019.