10 prisoners beaten to death in Diyarbakir

Zeynep Tufekcioglu zeynept at turk.net
Sat Sep 28 04:06:35 MDT 1996


On the 24th of September, 10 prisoners were beaten to death in Diyarbakir.

The clashes started when the prison administration wanted to move some
prisoners to another prison, contrary to the agreement reached at the end of
the hunger-strikes.

More may be dead. Numbers are contradictory. Many are wounded.

Most prisoners died because of head injuries. Read: their skulls were smashed.

The week before 11 "murders by unidentified assailants" took place in
Diyarbakir. Mostly trade union activists, and Kurdish activists. Diyarbakir
is the biggest Kurdish city.

I have to go now. I'll post more when I'm back. Last few weeks I was in
Diyarbakir and a smaller Kurdish border town, for the first time in my life.
Even as someone who for long accepted the fact that Kurdish people did exist
(and they weren't "mountain Turks" as the official line used to go) I was
taken aback. Everyone spoke Kurdish, yet every sign, everything in writing
was in Turkish. I have always been fond of Turkish, my own language. For the
first time in my life Turkish sounded so very obscene to my ears.

The region is violated, to say the least. Worse than all the police and
"special team" counter-guerilla personnel who carried machine guns openly
everywhere they went was the "engravings" in the mountains. "How happy to be
a Turk", written by huge stones, visible for kilometers. Almost all the
rural areas are depopulated. The population of towns has doubled and tripled
as all the villagers were forced to move (because they were supporting the
guerillas).

I always had Kurdish friends. I remember how we could joke that I was a
"seashore Kurd". After seeing the region, I'm amazed and humbled that they
could find it in their hearts to accept Turks who supported their struggle.
I'm not sure I could find it in my heart to overcome the feeling all Turks
were collectively guilty.

I know, I know, it is obvious that it is the ruling class that is the enemy,
not the people. Yet, in that region almost everything evil is in Turkish.

Zeynep



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