Policeman who killed two Kurdish children in their sleep arrested

Brothers Muhammet and Furkan and the aftermath of the crash that led to their death on 3 May 2017.

The policeman who drove an armoured vehicle into the bedroom of a house in Turkey’s southeast Sirnak province, killing two brothers in their sleep, has been arrested.

The incident occurred on the night of 3 May in the Silopi district of Sirnak after an armoured police vehicle, allegedly being driven by a drunk officer, crashed through a wall and killed 7-year-old Muhammet and his 6-year-old brother Furkan Yildirim, in their beds.

According to the boys’ family local authorities initially tried to cover up the incident, while the government directed the majority pro-government media to overlook it. The boy’s mother also alleged that police directed their guns at her when she demanded to see her children at the hospital.

However public outcry and calls from opposition party politicians led to the arrest of the police officer responsible, independent media reported Tuesday. The name of the officer has not been made public.

Meanwhile, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Spokesperson Osman Baydemir criticised the government and especially President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying that he shed tears for children in other countries but not in Turkey, because the children were Kurdish.

“This incident was not an accident, it was murder, the murder of children. Why isn’t anyone raising hell. Why aren’t the prime minister or president of this country shedding tears. Because these children are Kurdish, because they are from Silopi. 141 children have been killed in recent years. These were all murder and the government carries the political responsibility,” Baydemir said.

President Erdogan has been accused of double standards before for crying over the suffering of children in Syria and Palestine, but remaining silent on the killing of children in Turkey.

In 2014, Erdogan was blasted for calling 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who was injured by police during the Gezi protests and later died in hospital, a terrorist. He also made the crowd at a rally in Istanbul boo the boy’s family after Elvan’s mother accused Erdogan of being responsible for the death.