Erbil, Feb. 8 (AKnews) – The chiefs of staff of the Turkish army said on Tuesday that the human remains found near the southeastern city of Bitlis belong to outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants killed in clashes there in 1999.
The clashes took place between Turkish troops and PKK militants in the Ghijit Cuyo, Ala Tobrak and Cohan farm areas on September 8, 9 and 17 in 1999.
“The dead were buried in the Mottaki town in the same month after performing autopsies and obtaining the approval for the burial from the prosecution,” said the Turkish army’s Chief of Staff.
"Photos of the terrorists, autopsy reports, burial admission forms, investigation files and documents were presented to the Mottaki mayor," he continued.
Arsene Sounmazler, the head of the Free Thought and Educational Rights Assembly in Tatephan told AKnews that the discovery of the mass graves had ignited the hatred of some while offering hope to others that their relatives could now be returned home and buried.
“The mass graves found in the town reflect similar crimes to those committed by Serbs against the Bosnians,” he continued, adding that these are not the only graves – pointing to the existence of further mass graves in other parts of the city.
”There are about 100 mass graves in the city and hundreds of them in Kurdish areas,” he said, “Anti-terrorism forces in the Turkish army and elements of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) have committed many crimes not only against the PKK, but also against the elders of those areas, burying them on different sites.”
Sounmazler said there was a need to "to expose the perpetrators of these crimes and bring them to justice,” adding that “this would reduce the suffering of the families.”
Excavation work began on January 12 in Mottaki town at the request of the parents of the missing persons. The remains of more than 20 people were found.
Approximately 17,500 people, mostly Kurds, were victims of the conflict that started between the Turkish forces and the PKK in the 1990s.
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the biggest Kurdish party in Turkey led by Salah al-Din Damirttash has called for the formation of a committee to investigate the circumstances behind the mass graves, shedding light on the crimes that it believes took place.
Reported by Arkoln Toprak
Tuesday, February 8th 2011 5:44 PM