The 2004 killing of Uğur Kaymaz was an unprecedented act and a test for Turkey, Kurdish politicians from the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) said on the anniversary memorial for the 12 year old boy.
“Uğur Kaymaz was a test for the state, but they failed. The perpetrators were protected,” HEDEP MP Kamuran Tanhan said at the cemetery in the child’s hometown Kızıltepe (Qoser).
“Uğur was 12 when he was killed by 13 bullets. There is no precedent of this in the world,” HEDEP Merdin provincial chapter co-chair Alaaddin Turan said.
Kaymaz and his father Ahmet Kaymaz were shot and killed by the police in front of their homes in 2004. Initial statements from officials pointed to two “terrorists” neutralised during clashes, however, scrutiny by human rights defenders revealed to the public that Kalashnikov rifles were planted by the bodies after the fact.
Expert reports said the boy had left his home in slippers, and was not strong enough to operate a rifle. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in 2014 that the operation was not planned to minimise risk to civilians, and that lethal force had not been necessary.
“Kurdish children have their most fundamental rights violated,” HEDEP Mardin MP Beritan Güneş said at the memorial. “There are still Kurdish children massacred by armoured vehicles.”
“A 12 year old boy cannot be a terrorist. Our graves were attacked three times. Are they afraid of our dead? I will never forget them as long as I live,” the boy’s mother Makbule Kaymaz said. The graves suffer the occasional vandalism, while there were two back to back attacks last week.
MP Güneş pointed to efforts to erase memorials of Kaymaz from public spaces by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which had come to power shortly before the killings.
A government-appointed proxy who replaced the elected mayor in Kızıltepe removed Uğur Kaymaz’s name from a park and tore down a statue of the boy, Güneş said.