Turkish special operations troops terrorised Kurdish villagers by firing hundreds of live rounds in the air as they arrested a suspect in a hamlet in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority district of Başkale (Elbak), according to a report by Mezopotamya News Agency (MA).
Women are heard wailing amid bursts of automatic rifles in a video released by MA on Monday. There is no indication in the images of a necessity to subdue any resistance of any kind, and the soldiers seem to be firing only to instill fear and show their domination over the villagers with some soldiers seen doing the hand salute of the Nationalist Movement Party, associated with extreme right wing Turkish nationalism.
The operation was carried out to seemingly conduct a house raid to arrest a person named M.E.A. in the small hamlet of Sersul near the village of Xaşkan.
The video shows K.A. dragged into an armoured vehicle by the troops after being pulled from his home while dozens of soldiers fired their weapons into the air.
Hüseyin Kaçmaz, MP for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and member of the human rights commission in the Turkish parliament, shared the video on Twitter, and said:
“The troops that came to arrest a citizen fired rounds in the air for minutes, and they reportedly beat women who protested. Is there a single indication in the images that justifies so much firing?”
The video has caused outrage on social media with many people comparing the images from Başkale to the images of Turkish soldiers terrorising the town of Cizre (Cizîr) in 1992 and asking what has changed in 30 years.
After the release of the video, the Van governorship published a statement, saying that the troops fired in the air because relatives of the detained threw stones at the vehicles of the gendarmerie.