Helicopter incident report from DİB: No administrative investigation yet

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  • 16:15 23 October 2020
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İSTANBUL – It was stated that there is no administrative investigation yet regarding the two citizens thrown from the helicopter. 

The Union for Democracy (DIB) published a report regarding the two citizens thrown from a helicopter by the soldiers carrying out an operation in the Çatak district of Van. Representing the DİB coordination, a committee consisting of Perihan Koca, Salih Zeki Tombak and Ayşegül Devecioğlu went to Van on October 9 and had a meeting with Servet Turgut's family.
The report prepared according to the observations and interviews was sent to Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM), TBMM Human's Rights Commission, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Van Chief Public Prosecutor, AKP Group Deputy Chairperson, Republican People's Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chairperson, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chairperson, IYI Party Group Deouty Chairperson, Nationalist Movement Party Group Deputy Chairperson, Turkey Labour Party Chair Erkan Baş, Democracy and Development party Chair Ali Babacan, Future Party Chair Ahmet Davutoğlu, Humans' Rights Association (İHD) Headquarters, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Turkish Bar Associations, Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Van.
The report quoted the statament made by the Governor's Office, and said: "Even though the statement made by the Governor's Office tried to explain what happened to Servet Turgut by saying that he fell of a rocky area, no explanation was made regarding his the reason of his treatment for 9 days. Even though the statement of the Governor's Office claimed that Servet Turgut and Osman Şiban was 'duly detained', the family lawyer Baran Bilici states that none of the detention procedures were applied. In addition, the villagers who witnessed the detention also says otherwise."
In the report, the statements of Osman Şiban's brother Cengiz Şiban regarding the incident were included as follows: “There was an operation in the region and gun shots were heard; that is why, except Servet Turgut, no one was able to go to the plateau that day, and the soldiers landed in the village square with a helicopter and said: "We are very angry. We are going to take it out on you", they made everyone kneel in the town square, they slapped a few of the villagers, they threatened the villagers with execution, they collected their ID cards, and told the people to stay on the ground until they are out of sight. They came back to the village later in the evening with Servet Turgut. He was not hurt but he was white as a sheet with fear. They asked Osman Şiban. When he identified himself they took him too and take him to the hill in the village, they hit them in the neck while they were taking them, forced them into the helicopter, chucked them into the helicopter and their shoes and hats were left behind because of the battery."
The statements of Servet Turgut's brother Naif Turgut is as follows: "My brother's field is about 1 or 2 kilometers away from the conflict zone. Soldiers came to him and asked him if he was helping the terrorists. My brother told him that he was working, struggling to make a living. He has a little stutter. They brought him to the village and took Osman with them. Osman Şiban's relatives in the village told that they followed them despite the threats of the soldiers and they took him to the place Osman was working and that there were at least 200 soldiers there. Cengiz Şiban told that there were no cell reception at the village so they went to a place where there is a cell reception 2 days later and informed the families. When we, as the DIB delegation, met with the family and relatives of Servet Turgut in Van, they told us that they started to search for Turgut in the police stations and after they told that they will go to the press a senior soldier had to tell them that they were at the Van Regional Research Hospital. The day they learned the two men were in hospital was September 14."
The report continued: "But like it was said in the Governor's Office statement, they were first taken to a private hospital called the Lokman Hekim Hospital. There is a 4 hour gap between the time when they were discharged from this hospital and taken to Vab Regional Research Hospital. The epicrisis report given in the Lokman Hekim Hopsital for Osman Şiban, it was noted that the he was injured as a result of falling from a helicopter according to the statements of those who brought him while it said 'injury after falling from a height' for Servet Turgut. This was not the first time civillians were targeted and detained or get killed for no reason by the law enforcement officers in the region. What makes this interesting is not that they were thrown from a helicopter. It was a widely used method for the PKK members or people who are tought to be PKK members back in 90's.
The 4 factors that make this incident different are listed as follows in the report: " 1- Those who have fallen from the helicopters are ordinary civillians. 2- They are not dead. 3- They are brought to hospital heavily injured. 4- The fact that 'They were injured as a result of a fall from the helicopter' was reported by the law enforcement officer that brought them to the hospital."
The report that emphasized the law enforcement officers' approach to the family was threatening, it was said: "It was revealed in the wake organized at Servet Turgut's house after his death when the police attacked the mourners. The law enforcement officers inflicted violence on the family and the people who came to the wake. When we visited the family 9 days after Turgut's death, we learned that they were still struggling to get his death certificate but they couldn't, because of the verbal instruction of the prosecutor's office."
After the meeting was over, when we offered our condolences to Servet Turgut's wife, who had never spoken before, started speaking. She first spoke with a very fluent Kurdish and said 'If they had locked him up in jail for 20 years we would have gone there and visit him. If they had shot him, we would mourn that he's dead. But to break all the bones in his body?? Why would someone do that to a person? What kind of people are these?' in Turkish, and finished her words by saying 'I want those who were in the helicopter and committed these crimes that day to be found and prosecuted'.
The DIB report reads: "According to the statements of the family members, Osman Şiban resisted not to be taken to the military hospital, but the doctor didn't accept coming to the house."
Regarding the legal process, the report included the following: “A judicial and administrative investigation should be opened after the incident. According to the attorney's statement, there is no ongoing administrative investigation. Although the Chief Prosecutor's Office has opened an investigation, since Servet Turgut lost his life before he was able to regain his consciousness and Osman Şiban suffered from memory loss, the statements of the victims hasn't been taken yet. The villagers were not heard as witnesses. And despite all this a confidentiality order was issued for the file. Therefore the lawyers can't obtain information on the file. The journalists who broke the story are arrested and put in jail with the accusation of 'propagandizing a terrorist organization'. The state seems determined to maintain its policy of absolute impunity and the protection of all kinds of crimes committed by public officials against the Kurds against judicial processes."

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