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Turkish court upholds acquittal of 9 suspects in Ceylanpinar police killing

Human Rights Politics

Turkish court upholds acquittal of 9 suspects in Ceylanpinar police killing


A Turkish Higher Court on Tuesday upheld the acquittal verdicts of nine suspects in the 2015 killing of two police officers in the southeastern town of Ceylanpinar, which marked the end of the peace talks held between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), independent news site T24 reported on Tuesday.

Police officers Feyyaz Yumuşak and Okan Acar were found dead with gunshot wounds to the head on July 22, 2015 in Ceylanpınar, located on the border with Syria. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group at war in Turkey for over 30 years, initially claimed responsibility, but later denied any links to the murders.

An anonymous tip-off following the killings prompted the police to arrest the nine suspects, who then faced murder charges.

The acquittal of the defendants effectively renders the case unsolved, IPA said, with the assailants remaining unidentified.

The Ceylanpinar was filled with discrepancies from the very beginning.

The fingerprints from the 9 suspects on trial did not match the large number of fingerprints found on the scene of the crime, including those belonging to other police officers.

The legal dossier could not be accessed for nine months.

A total of 14 court hearings took place in the case and some lasted as short as 10 minutes. In some hearings the suspects who attended the trial via closed-circuit camera system (SEGBIS) were not able to give their statements after their screens went blank.

The case saw a total five prosecutor changes, with some resigning and others withdrawing from the case.

The judge which gave the order for the arrest of the suspects was arrested over links to the Gülen movement, which Ankara designates a terrorist organisation and accuses of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt.

Meanwhile, the acquitted suspects of the crime, whose names and photographs were released to the public, are having a hard time adapting to life after the case.

Hasan Aydın, one of the suspects, was forced to leave Turkey. He believes the incident was a plan by the deep state targeting Kurds.

“They needed one or a few victims for the deep state and that was us. They executed their own plan after tying the incident to us… The state could actually go as far as sacrificing its own police and citizens,’’ Aydın told Ahval.

Aydın explained how he was detained along with his friends for a traffic violation and ended up behind bars accused of murdering police officers.

“They treated us quite harshly in prison. Every prison guard who saw us insulted us and put us under psychological pressure. And when we went to the hospital or for our hearings, we were insulted and treated rudely. It was as if they had been ordered to treat us that way,’’ he added.

“Who is going to account for my victimhood of three years, for being separated from my country and family?” Aydın asked.

Eyüp Sabri Tinaş, who served as the lawyer of the accused, said the court’s verdict clearly proves that the accused are innocent in this case, adding that it is evident “certain people intervened in the peace process” between Ankara and the PKK through this case.

Initiated by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2012, the peace talks sought to terminate the decades-long armed conflict with the PKK, which has claimed the lives of 40,000 people.

The talks failed in July 2015 as relations between the two sides came under pressure due to the Syrian conflict and domestic politics. An intensified conflict ensued, causing hundreds of civilian deaths, forced migrations and the demolition of town centres in southeast Turkey.

Source: Ahval News


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