Turkish security forces killed at least 76 children in Kurdish province in past 10 years

Nihat Kazanhan, who was killed by a police bullet in Cizre, Sirnak in 2015 laid to rest.

According to a report in Turkish language daily, Ozgurlukcu Demokrasiat least 76 children have been killed by security forces in southeastern Kurdish province Sirnak in the past 10 years.

The recent killing of two brothers, one six and the other seven years old, in Sirnak’s Silopi district after an armoured police vehicle crashed into their bedroom as they slept, has led to public outcry in Turkey.

However the death of Muhammed and Furkan Yildirim is not a first in the province, as the continuing conflict in the region has led to security forces targeting the civilian population, commentators say.

Police bullets, gas canisters and armoured vehicles have killed at least 76 children in the past 10 years, according to human rights organisation reports.

The only officer to have been tried and sentenced in the killing of a child has been Nur Baki Gocmez, who shot and killed 12-year-old Nihat Kazanhan in the head in 2015, as the boy was playing with friends. Gocmez was sentenced to 13 years in prison but his sentence was reduced due to “conditions in the region”, “incitement” and “working in a stressful environment.”

The killing of 19 children in Uludere, in what has come to be known as the “Roboski Massacre”, has also gone unpunished. Fighter jets bombed villagers engaged in cross-border smuggling as they crossed from Iraq into Turkey, killing 34 people, almost all from the same family in 2011.

The lack of a thorough investigation so far in the case of the last two victims on Wednesday has once again shown that the perpetrators will not be punished, according to the boys’ family and a lawmaker.