Two police officers suspended in Newroz murder of Kurdish student

Kemal Kurkut was an accomplished violinist and student of fine arts.

Two police officers who were taken into custody and then released in relation to the shooting of Kemal Kurkut ahead of Newroz celebrations on 21 March, have been suspended.

The officers were detained for questioning on Saturday morning after images emerged showing police claims that Kurkut was a suicide bomber to be false.

One of the officers was released in the evening while the other was referred to court where he was also released.

The Diyarbakir Governorate released a statement about the incident confirming that the officers had been suspended from their positions.

The investigation into the killing of the 23-year-old university student, who was shot in the ribcage and heart and died at the scene, will continue.

An inspector has been commissioned by the Interior Ministry to carry out an independent investigation into the handling of the matter, the governorate statement read.

Police sources at the scene of the shooting had initially claimed that Kurkut was carrying a bag and had shouted, “I have a bomb in my bag and will kill you all.”

Police had ordered all eyewitnesses and journalists to delete images and footage of the shooting.

However photos taken by Dihaber journalist Abdurrahman Gok showed Kurkut to be naked from the waist up and running away from police when he was shot.

Series of photos show Kemal Kurkut’s shooting, (Dihaber/Abdurrahman Gok)

Eyewitnesses reported that Kurkut suffered a breakdown after being forced to strip by police and ran to a nearby butcher shop where he took a knife and returned to the scene shouting, “What have I got on me?”

Kurkut had survived the October 2015 twin suicide bomb attack by the Islamic State (IS) group in Ankara, leading to trauma, which may have triggered the breakdown, according to family members.

Update: The Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor issued a media blackout on the incident on Sunday as the public outcry continues.