“When I think of Vedat Aydın, my heart hurts. However, I am not sure of the source of my pain as to whether it is those who forcibly took, tortured and killed him, and even fired on the funeral and killed dozens of people or it is the “nationalist” who could not bear to listen a person speaking in Kurdish and left the Human Rights Association they founded,” writes Hüseyin Aykol for Yeni Yaşam about the Kurdish politician and human rights lawyer Vedat Aydın was abducted and killed on 7th July 1991.
Vedat Aydın was born in 1953, in a Kurdish village in the Bismil district of Diyarbakir (Amed). He graduated from Diyarbakır Education Institute, Department of Literature in 1979.
Vedat Aydın was the head of the Diyarbakir branch of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD). During the IHD annual meeting in Ankara on October 28, 1990, he spoke in Kurdish regarding issues relating to Diyarbakır.
While some of the participants to the annual general meeting objected to him speaking in Kurdish, saying, “We do not understand”, some “nationalists” on the council, including the founders of the IHD, left the meeting.
Lawyer Ahmet Zeki Okçuoğlu translated Vedat Aydın’s speech for those who did not understand the speech, into Turkish.
Vedat Aydın, Ahmet Zeki Okçuoğlu and Mustafa Özer were detained at the general assembly.
How do you speak Kurdish?
After days of interrogation, he was arrested and transferred to Ankara Ulucanlar prison. At his very first hearing on 19 December 1990, he gave a statement in Kurdish, however, the court acquitted Vedat Aydın, probably in order to prevent any escalation and further debate about the Kurdish language.
Vedat Aydın, who was appointed as the People’s Labour Party (HEP) Diyarbakır Provincial Chair, was then taken from his home “to take his statement” at night on 5 July 1991 by people who introduced themselves as police officers.
However, Diyarbakır Police Department reported that they ‘did not to take Vedat Aydın”.
Vedat Aydın’s tortured and bullet riddled body was found at the foot of a bridge near the Maden district of Elazig on 7 July.
Abdulkadir Aygan from Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (JİTEM) confessed in the following years, “I took part in the investigation of Vedat Aydın, but I was not involved in ‘the incident'” and “And regarding ‘the incident’, there were photofit pictures drawn by Vedat’s wife, Şükran Aydın, who saw Vedat Aydın being taken from the house. Those sketches identified Ali Ozansoy, Fethi Çetin and Aytekin Özen Binbaşı,” he said.
Yeni Ülke Newspaper followed the case
Yusuf Serhat Bucak and İsmet Ateş, the directors of our newspaper Yeni Ülke, went to Diyarbakır to attend the funeral of Vedat Aydın, who was evidently tortured to death after his abduction. They were also active in HEP.
Crowds gathered to see Vedat Aydın’s funeral in Diyarbakır on July 10, 1991. Vedat Aydın, was a Kurdish politician and human rights lawyer who was a loved and respected person, he was kidnapped and tortured to death. Even the state could not own up to this vile execution.
During the funeral procession, live round shots were fired directly into the funeral cortege and people started to run towards Hewsel Gardens over Mardinkapı. Hundreds of people were injured, and there were many deaths. While the public tried to take the wounded people to the hospital, the police began to chase people towards Hewsel Gardens.
We were in a hurry to publish our weekly newspaper in Istanbul. We heard that the police attacked the funeral and injured people. We could not fully perceive the catastrophic atmosphere at the event. We only had some information that Anadolu Agency reported. There were no cell phones back then. Moreover, not everyone – at home or at work – has a phone.
But we have to send the newspaper to the printing house as soon as possible so that it can be published the next day. Finally, we changed the headline with the attack on the funeral procession. We sent the first page of the newspaper to our executive friends in Diyarbakır.
Criticisms were pouring in against us on the phone. They were right! In our news, we had just reported the attack on the funeral, some injured people, and the Diyarbakır Bureau Representative, Faysal Dağlı, was missing. We immediately called the printing house to stop the printing. We changed our headline again with the new much more dramatic information from Diyarbakır to give the extensive information of the massacre.
However, the extent of the massacre at the funeral was still unclear. According to the official statement at the time, three people were dead. However, our newspaper published the names of the deceased, the figures increased at that moment. But even we could not expected the latest figure of 23 people that were killed announced by Hanefi Avcı.
Which is more difficult
When I think of Vedat Aydın, my heart hurts. However, I am not sure of the source of my pain as to whether it is those who forcibly took, tortured and killed him, and even fired on the funeral and killed dozens of people or it is the “nationalist” who could not bear to listen a person speaking in Kurdish and left the Human Rights Association they founded.
These kind of personalities who consider the speaking of the mother tongue of Kurdish people and receiving their mother tangue education as an insult. They will become extinct, despite all the massacres they have committed.