Turkey Feature: Leading Kurdish Lawyer Killed in Southeast

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PHOTO: Lawyer Tahir Elci, killed on Saturday in Diyarkabir Province (Ilyas Akengin/AFP)


Prominent Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elci was shot dead on Saturday as gunmen opened fire on a gathering in a mainly-Kurdish area in southeast Turkey on Saturday.

Witnesses said the attackers opened fire on Elci and 40 other activists as they were giving a press statement near a mosque in Diyarbakir Province. Police immediately returned fire.

Elci, head of the bar in Diyarbakir, was hit in the head and died in hospital. Three policemen and an unknown number of journalists were wounded.

Elci had been detained in October on charges of spreading “terrorist propaganda”, following an interview in which he said the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organisation. He was released pending trial but faced up to seven years in prison.

Southeastern Turkey has been beset by violence, with a ceasefire between the Turkish Government and the PKK collapsing in July.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. 1. Tayyip’s Takbir-Enforcement-Squads have just spared him the bother of waking the Kangaroos on this one, not to mention 7 years lodgings for an unbroken lawyer.

    After their sniper buddies had murdered the target, Tayyip’s goonsquads “immediately returned fire” hitting several more Kurdish activists and even themselves in the process, thus providing an ingenious cover under which the assassin’s escape was assured!

    2. Interview with the Cumhuriyet editor yesterday dragged off to prison for exposing Tayyip’s gross criminal misfeasance in public office:

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/Default.aspx?PageID=428&VideoID=823

    Quote: “We are accused of disclosing state secrets, espionage and aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation. Obviously what they mean by ‘state secrets’ is the role of the Turkish National Intelligence Agency in transferring weapons [to Syrian ‘rebels’]. In our defence we argue that this cannot be considered a state secret, that a state must not be able to commit crimes and then declare them state secrets.

    This homme fort ingénu is about to learn that declaring government crimes a state secret is standard practice in NATO, the Happy Homeland of bow-down-and-STFU Democracy.

    3. Meanwhile Old Oyster-Eyes tucks into a heavy meal of humble crow, prepared with all the traditional Russian spices:

    We feel really saddened about this incident [shoot-down of RuAF jet]. We would not like such a thing to happen, we would not want it but unfortunately it did. I wish such a thing will not happen again,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 28 in a statement during his visit to Balıkesir.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-saddened-about-russian-jets-downing-erdogan-says.aspx?pageID=238&nID=91807&NewsCatID=510

    • Some months of russian history after Putin had begun his rule:

      April 2003

      Sergei Yushenkov, co-chairman of the Liberal Russia political party, is gunned down at the entrance of his Moscow apartment block.

      July 2003

      Yuri Shchekochikhin a vocal opposition journalist and member of the Russian Duma and the Kovalev Commission, suddenly contracts a mysterious illness. Witnesses reported: “He complained about fatigue, and red blotches began to appear on his skin. His internal organs began collapsing one by one. Then he lost almost all his hair.

      Shchekochikhin contacted the FBI and got an American visa to discuss the case with US authorities. However, he never made it to the USA because of his sudden death on July 3rd. The Russian authorities refused to allow an autopsy.

      October 2003

      Assaults on the enemies of the Kremlin reach fever pitch as the election cycle begins. Within one week at the end of the month, two major opposition figures were put into prison.

      June 2004

      Nikolai Girenko, a prominent human rights defender, Professor of Ethnology and expert on racism and discrimination in the Russian Federation is shot dead in his home in St Petersburg.

  2. Erdogan has used and abused state power to dominate media and purge dissident voices.
    But comparing Erdogan and Putin it`s easy to come to the conclusion that Putin is the worst one of both.

    Erdogan has used and abused state power, and control of public contracts and punitive tax audits, to dominate the media, purge dissident voices and clamp down on social media. Pro-AKP media routinely smear opponents, real and imagined, mimicking the pugnacious and paranoid style of their leader. Business leaders who cross the government describe how it paints them as “native agents” of foreign powers, while Mr Erdogan rails constantly against what he calls just akil or “superior intelligence” — a tentacular international conspiracy to bring him down.

    In practice Erdogan and Putin are similar.

    But Putin had begun his rule with unbelievable crimes and for the next 15 years new crimes have followed. Putin the KGB security service man has staged bombings at the beginning of his rule to start the 2. Chechen war.

    In his book Darkness at Dawn Satter reported that on 6 June 1999, three months before the bombings, Swedish journalist Jan Blomgren wrote in Svenska Dagbladet that one of options considered by the Kremlin leaders was “a series of terror bombings in Moscow that could be blamed on the Chechens.” Satter also noted that on 22 July, the Moscow newspaper Moskovskaya Pravda published leaked documents about an operation, “Storm in Moscow”, which, by organising terrorist acts to cause chaos, would bring about a state of emergency, thus saving the Yeltsin regime.

    Duma member Konstantin Borovoi said that he had been “warned by an agent of Russian military intelligence of a wave of terrorist bombings” prior to the blasts.

    Many other crimes have followed like the shootings of journalists and Oppsition members.

      • 1. My comment of which you understandably complain, Meokur, was made ironically, based solely on Scott’s initial story with no video. It may very well be that the cops there were actually honestly trying to protect Elchi, I really don’t know, but if that is the case I sincerely apologise for offensively implying they helped with his murder while in reality they were themselves also being murdered. I also don’t know who attacked them and do not support such ‘spray-and-pray’ actions in any case.

        2. I am certainly not anti-Turk and you won’t find any comment from me against Turks or the Turkish people in general: my revulsion at Erdoğan’s methods of statecraft is shared by a great many patriotic Turkish citizens, who are not quite so free to express themselves as I for reasons shameful to your nation of which I know you are aware.

        3. BTW, I had a reply prepared for our previous long discussion about the elections but lost track of it at the time … must try to dig that up.

        4. Re. the elections, have you seen this:

        http://erikmeyersson.com/2015/11/04/digit-tests-and-the-peculiar-election-dynamics-of-turkeys-november-elections/

        The Yankis have organised ‘colour revolutions’ for much less in other not so distant places …

        5. How do you feel the Tayyip v Putin relationship will develop given the recent events?

        6. How about Tayyip’s ‘safe zone’ [a.k.a. The Al Nusra Nature Reserve] in N. Aleppo?

        • 1. Ok, thanks for your cool response. But i strongly suggest you to cross check the story from both sides’ perspectives before coming to a conclusion.

          4. I’m not a statistics expert so i can’t comment on that. However, I do observe the society in which I live in.

          If you remember months before the elections I replied to you that I expect an AKP majority in the Nov 1 elections. Here are the reasons:

          a. During the 90’s Turkey was run by coalitions which were big failures. The possibility of a coalition gov. frightened many people who preferred the stability of one party gov.

          b. In june 7 elections, many people previously voted for AKP wanted to punish AKP because of its degrading performance. They either didn’t vote for anybody or voted for HDP (AKP kurds) or MHP (AKP turks). They didnt expect AKP losing majority, their slap was heavier than intended and they became regretful after the elections.

          c. In June 7 elections Erdogan’s desire for 400 MP’s and himself attending rallies costed AKP dearly. During the Nov 1 campaign he stayed behind.

          d. After the June 7 elections economy went bad because of uncertainty, the clashes between PKK and gov restarted and Russia made airspace violations all of them increasing the need for a powerful cabinet.

          e. In June 7 elections, the question was whether HDP would be able to pass the threshold or not. HDP supporters were motivated and mobilised. In Nov 1 elections the question was whether AKP would regain majority or not. This time it was AKP supporters who had high morale and motivation.

          f. Kurds want their rights through political struggle, that’s why majority of them vote for HDP. But at the same time they don’t want clashes continue. It seems PKK’s “military dams” reason to restart fighting did not convince many of them.

          g. Yankies are against AKP\Erdo for a long time.

          h. Most election problems are in the isolated villages which are open to PKK threats. HDP gets 100% of the votes in those places.

          i. Other than isolated places, it is impossible to alter the vote counts. Every step of the counting process is conducted in front of the representatives of the parties.

          j. It is funny that nobody suspects the fairness of June 7 elections when HDP almost doubled their votes. When it is AKP who substantially increase their votes, unfairness stories start circulating.

          5) Tayyip had too much self-confidence in his personal relationship with Putin. IMHO this personal relationship strategy failed totally in this case. Russia crossed all the red lines of Turkey in Syria.

          6) Unfortunately Russia and US work against turkish policy. Turkey does not have much options other than arming the opposition.

      • Meokur, here is Mr Elchi being interviewed a month ago about the numerous death threats he has recently received:

        http://www.channel4.com/news/tahir-elci-kurdish-lawyer-speaks-of-death-threats

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7nAzPlavrI

        Now, would you agree that:

        1. it’s extremely unlikely these death threats came from the YPG-H/PKK end of the political spectrum but rather practically certain they came from the more ardent followers of Pasha Supreme?

        2. not one of the easily identifiable Twitter/telephone thugs he mentioned making death threats has been charged with that crime in the month between his controversial comments and prior to his murder?

        3. this official refusal to prosecute tended to create the impression amongst those with actual murderous intent that he was, as far as the State is concerned, ‘fair game’ for completion of their threats, i.e. this murder was practically sanctioned with an unwritten advance de facto guarantee of impunity [due to (in)actions speaking louder than words]?

        4. similarly, now that the tacit contract has been fulfilled, no-one will ever be successfully prosecuted in Tayyip’s Turkey for the crime of having made death threats against Mr Elchi?

        5. that Mr Elchi was murdered purely for his free speech opinion contrary to the political tastes of high officials of State, for which he was already being prosecuted?

        6. if Tayyip’s State was actually determined to save this man from its murderous supporters long enough to see him rotting in jail, it somehow managed to make a singularly poor job of it?

        7. this ‘fortunate mishap’ coincidentally resolved the thorny problem of either failing to convict him and suffering the demolishment of one fundamental taboo in the government’s torture-toolkit for intimidating opponents or instructing their troupe of trained Kangaroos to jail him anyhow, thus leaving another charismatic living martyr for ‘free speech’ to inspire an indeterminate number of newly resolved opponents?

        • Pasha Supreme does not have a personal problem with mr. Elci, and there are lots of other HDP guys who declare their support to PKK. There is no reason to assassinate him and indeed the whole thing does not look like an assassination.

          At first, policemen tries to arrest the 3 YDG-H militants in the taxi, close to the place where Elchi is giving his press release. The militants in the taxi open fire and kill two of the policemen then run away into the narrow street where Elci is speaking. Policemen pursue them and open fire. Gunfire erupts in the street between the policemen and YDG-H. The fleeing militants were supported by other YDG-H around. Elçi and policemen protecting him were in between and took fire from both sides as seen in the second vid. It is not seen in the videos who exactly killed Mr. Elçi but it seems he was shot accidentally.

          One of the fleeing militants Mahsun Guerkan is identified:

          http://www.haber10.com/guncel/kacan_terorist_beyaz_toros_firarisi_mahsun_gurkan-605850

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