Autopsy reveals soldiers tortured Kurdish man to death in Turkey

Mehmet Sirin Kocakaya's funeral was attended by relatives and Kurdish officials from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

Mehmet Şirin Kocakaya, a villager from Lice, Diyarbakir province in Turkey’s southeast, whom authorities claimed had died in a firefight between the Turkish military and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in June 2016 actually died of torture wounds according to the man’s autopsy report, reported the Dihaber news agency.

Kocakaya and several other relatives had left their houses to extinguish a fire that had broken out in their vineyards while a curfew was imposed on 39 villages during military operations in the region in June 2016. At the time authorities had announced that “one terrorist was neutralised during armed clashes” however Kockaya’s relatives claimed that he was tortured by members of the army’s special forces units.

The autopsy report has now revealed that there were no bullets wounds on Kocakaya’s body. The report states that there were many cuts, wounds and scars on Kocakaya’s face, head and arms and extensive haemorrhaging in the brain.

The report also mentions that two of Kocakaya’s ribs were broken along with haemorrhaging in the chest area. Filed at southeastern Diyarbakir’s Gazi Yasargil Hospital the report concludes that the findings be sent to forensic medicine in order to find out the exact cause of death.

“He has traces of blows in most parts of his body, he has haemorrhaging in the brain and lungs as well as broken ribs. Kocakaya’s death must be investigated in terms of torture and the right to life,” said Professor Sebnem Korur Fincanci, forensic medicine expert and head of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, according to the report.

Seven soldiers involved in the military operation in which Kocakaya was killed have pressed charges against the man’s mother, three siblings and relatives, some of whom were also tortured in the incident. The prosecutor is seeking up to 32 years in prison for the relatives, Evrensel daily reported.