The Turkish prosecutors have still not launched an investigation into huge numbers of human bones resurfaced in Zilan Valley in Turkey’s eastern province of Van, despite the application of rights groups, Artı Gerçek reported on Tuesday.
The human bones resurfaced after water levels in a dam reservoir on the Zilan river dropped in December. The Human Rights Association’s (İHD) Van branch sent a delegation to the valley to carry out inspections.
“There are hundreds of villages and the Koçköprü dam around Zilan river. The bones surfaced in that area As a delegation of six people we went to this area where the bones were found. We saw the bones the moment we stepped on the place where the water from the dam dried out. Bones were observed both on the surface and under where we dug. They were a lot. Hundreds, maybe more, because we could not go any further. We took a few photos, shoot a video and made some inspections,” said Jiyan Özkaplan, the head of the rights association’s Van branch.
Following the inspection, the association applied on December 22 to the chief public prosecutor’s office demanding an investigation into the resurfaced bones, as well as measures to be taken to protect them.
“Although two weeks have passed, there is still no decision or an investigation and no measures have bee taken to put the area under protection,” Özkaplan said.
The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) also submitted an application for a parliamentary inquiry regarding the bones, recalling the mass murders known as 1930 Zilan Massacre and arguing that the bones that resurfaced could belong the people who were buried in mass graves at the time.
At least five thousand villagers were killed and 44 villages were wiped off the map in 1930 in the area, when the Turkish military responded to a Kurdish insurgency. The actual death toll of the massacre is still debated, with the remaining survivors claiming that the Turkish military’s brutal operation caused around 45,000 deaths.