Hundreds of Kurdish politicians and left-wing activists were killed by ‘unknown assailants’ in the aftermath of military coups in Turkey and during the ‘dirty war’ period of the 1990’s. Such ‘regularised’ forced disappearances and ‘unsolved murders’, in particular during the 1990’s, have been engraved in the social memory of people in Turkey.
Kurdish politicians Muhsin Melik and Mehmet Ayyıldız were shot dead on 2 June 1994 as a result of an armed assault in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa (Riha).
Kurdish politician Muhsin Melik was born in 1951 in the central Arapoku (Açmalı) village of Urfa. He studied at the Çukurova University Faculty of Agriculture in 1970. Melik’s revolutionary struggle started in 1968. He was among the founders of the Urfa Chamber of Agricultural Engineers and the Urfa Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD).
Elected as a member of the Provincial Assembly from the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) in the 1990’s, he left the party with his friends after the SHP expelled seven Kurdish MP’s. He was among the co-founders of the pro-Kurdish parties HEP and HADEP.
He became the first MP candidate in Urfa in the SHP and HEP alliance in the 1991 general elections, but lost the election by 114 votes due to the threshold system. Due to his political activities and speeches, numerous lawsuits were filed against Melik and even after his death, trials against him continued.
Twenty seven years after the incident, Muhsin Melik’s wife Şenay Melik observes that the perpetrators of her husband’s murder have still not been brought to justice, MA reports.
“I know the people who shot me. The ones who shot us were the people who were in the undercover police team following me previously” – These were the last words of Muhsin Melik, his wife said. She was with him in hospital as he lay fatally wounded by the bullets.
Stating that her husband was always on the side of the truth, Şenay Melik said: ”He used to closely follow the problems in the region. Throughout his life, he served for Kurdish and Turkish friendship, on the basis of equality.”
She noted that Muhsin Melik had been detained for political reasons in 1984 and had been released after 40 days in detention. After this detention, Muhsin Melik resigned from his job and went to Diyarbakır (Amed). ”He worked in a private company there. After a while, he came back to Urfa and started to work with non-governmental organisations,” she added.
She stated that a lawsuit was filed against Muhsin Melik because of a speech he gave at the pro-Kurdish People’s Labour Party (HEP) General Congress. ”After Muhsin died, he was sentenced to two years in that case,” she said.
She further noted that Muhsin Melik “was detained at the funeral of Vedat Aydın, the head of HEP’s Diyarbakır Branch. He was jailed for three months. He was severely beaten in custody. After his release from prison, he became an MP candidate for the HEP, but due to the regional threshold, he could not be elected. He continued his political life as the head of the HEP Urfa Branch. He was murdered shortly after the establishment of People’s Democracy Party (HADEP)”.
She stated that her husband was constantly being followed and threatened in the last three years of his life. ”He informed the governor that he was not feeling safe and that he was threatened. There were several attempts to kidnap and kill him. Muhsin was aware of the danger, but he never stopped serving his people,” she said.
Şenay Melik spoke about the day her husband was murdered: ”His office was in the city centre. He used to drive to his office because he was being followed. He was caught in the crossfire in front of his office at 9 am in the morning on the day of the incident,” she said.
“His friend Mehmet died in the conflict. Muhsin was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Just before he closed his eyes at the hospital, he said: ‘I know the people who shot me. The ones who shot us were the people who were in the undercover police team following me previously’.”
Şenay Melik has been seeking justice for 27 years for her murdered husband. ”We have applied to all judicial remedies. Later, I made an individual application to the Constitutional Court. After four years, the application was not accepted,” she said.
“I will follow this case until the end. My husband was murdered in the middle of the city. The perpetrators have not been found for 27 years. Sooner or later, those who are responsible will be found and prosecuted. Muhsin will always continue to exist in our memories with the values of his brave and beautiful heart.”