After a 7-year-old boy died having been hit by an armoured vehicle in Turkey’s southeastern town of Idil on 3 September, other similar incidents are once again under scrutiny.
Miraç Miroğlu (7), a Kurdish boy who was killed on his bike by a Turkish armoured police vehicle, was deemed responsible by a police investigation last week. The report of the investigation said that the accident happened because “the cyclist Miraç Miroğlu was negligent in not complying with a ‘stop’ sign, and kept going, colliding with an official vehicle.”
However this is not the first time there have been such incidents in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey. MA reported that no justice has been achieved in the cases of three people hit by armoured police vehicles in Mardin (Merdin). The case of 7-year-old Berfin Dilek was kept from the public, the launch of the investigation into Mehmet Şerif Bakır’s case was prevented for a substantial length of time, and the case was brought to a stop at the final hearing of Suphiye Yakut’s case.
Berfin Dilek (7) died on 9 February 2017 in Dargeçit and Mehmet Şerif Bakır (17) lost his left leg in Nusaybin on 9 June 2017, both having been hit by armoured vehicles. On 22 April 2018, Suphiye Yakut (51) was hit by an armoured police vehicle reversing in the Bahçebaşı neighbourhood, as a result of which she is permanently disabled in one leg.
There is a policy of impunity in killings and injuries caused by armoured vehicles, which has also been applied in these three cases. In the case of Berfin Dilek, the incident was kept from the public by the intervention of the Governorate of Dargeçit, the Police Directorate and executive members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The trial in Mehmet Şerif Bakır’s case started months after the incident. Police were charged with “wounding with intent.” However the case somehow never made it to the point of verdict.
Police officer S.G, the driver of the armoured vehicle that caused Suphiye Yakut’s injury, was charged with “wounding with intent”. Twelve hearings were held in Yakut’s case.
It was alleged during the hearings that not only did the armoured car’s camera stop recording 10 minutes before the incident occurred, but that CCTV cameras covering the scene also stopped recording during the incident. An expert report drawn up into the incident stated that the driver of the police vehicle was completely at fault on the grounds that he had behaved carelessly, causing a danger and a hindrance for those using the road. However, despite this, the prosecution withdrew their complaint at the last moment, the court stopped proceedings and police officer S.G. left the court unpunished.