Tuncer Bakırhan, co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP), has visited the museum house commemorating the 1993 Vartinis Massacre, where a village was burned by Turkish soldiers, killing nine family members in the Kurdish-majority province of Muş (Mûş).
Bakırhan arrived in Muş on Wednesday as part of the party’s ‘people’s gatherings’ initiative, conducting meetings across various cities.
Following the public meeting, Bakırhan and his delegation visited the village of Altınova (Vartinis) in the Korkut (Tîl) district, where Turkish security forces had burned down the house after accusing the resident family of ‘aiding and abetting an illegal terrorist organisation’. Of the nine people killed in the house, seven were children, the oldest aged 12 and the youngest just three.
Justice may not be served for the victims as the court postponed the final verdict until 4 December, which is after the 30 year statute of limitations on the case.
During his visit to the house, now transformed into a museum, Bakırhan was accompanied by a sizeable crowd, and slogans resonated as a show of solidarity. Addressing those gathered, Bakırhan highlighted the prevalence of such massacres across the region, expressing, “Almost every town has witnessed extrajudicial murders and massacres.”
Bakırhan’s journey to Muş faced a hurdle when, on Wednesday, police attempted to block the convoy’s entry into the city. Responding to the obstruction, Bakırhan said, “Either we all enter, or we shut off our engines and wait here.” The police, in response to Bakırhan’s firm stance, eventually allowed the convoy to proceed into Muş for the planned public meeting.