Kemal Güler, a sergeant in the Turkish army, died in suspicious circumstances on 4 December while serving in Uludere (Qileban) in Şırnak (Şirnex), Turkey.
Following the incident, military officials notified his family, who lived in Menemen, Izmir, initially informing them that Güler had been wounded in a clash and was in hospital. However, when the family asked to see him, the officials told them that he had died. Contrary to the statements of the officials, the preliminary autopsy report stated that Güler had died as a result of suicide with a firearm.
The family immediately set off for Uludere, asking to see Güler’s body, but they were not allowed to do so. During Güler’s burial in Izmir on 6 December the family were able to see his face, but they were still not allowed to see the part of his body that was wounded.
Family members said that the military officials left immediately after the burials. The family still does not know how, when and where Güler was shot.
Güler’s sister Fidan Özdemir spoke to the Mesopotamia Agency (MA) about her brother’s suspicious death.
“The people who came to our door said, ‘remain calm, your son has been injured in an armed clash, he is currently in hospital’. Then when we said, “You would not come to the door with so many people if he was ok”, they said, “He’s passed away.” They never told us that he had committed suicide, or why he died. Other soldiers in his battalion told us that he went into an empty shipping container and shot himself. In fact, they said, “Kemal was very cheerful, he was not the type of person who would do such a thing.” That’s why we are suspicious. And when they did an autopsy, they didn’t allow anyone else to see the body. The day we buried him, they just showed his face. We couldn’t see how he had been shot.”
Emphasising that her brother was not suicidal, Fidan Özdemir says that she spoke with her brother just the night before he died, and he asked for three trays of pastries from their mother.
“We want an immediate explanation for my brother’s death from the authorities. Did they put him through some bad experiences, did he have a fight with someone that day? That’s what we want to know. We want to know why Kemal would do such a thing. This is a suspicious death,” she said.