Thursday, September 23, 2010

Suspicious death of Kurdish soldier on ECHR agenda

The family of Kurdish origin Semih Pektaş, who lost his life with three bullets fired on him during his military service in Ankara and said to have ‘committed suicide, took the case to the European Court of Human Rights. The petition presented to the court appealed to indefinite murder of numerous Kurdish soldiers in the recent period.

Semih Pektaş started his military service at Mamak 28. Mechanized Infantry Brigade 2. Mechanized Battalion 1. Mechanized Infantry Company Command on 25 May 2009. On 18 September 2009, three gunshots were heard when Pektaş went to armoury for his guard duty between 20:00-24:00. When officials found Pektaş shot on head in the crime scene, officials took him to GATA Medical Faculty Hospital, where he lost his life.

The investistigation of Turkish army after the event recorded Pektaş’s death as suicide and found prosecution concerning the case non-essential. The objection of Pektaş’s family by means of lawyers, however, was refused.


Pektaş’s father Tahir Pektaş said that in reply to the autopsy report they had demanded, they got the crime scene report from the authorities, which tells that Pektaş committed suicide.

When Pektas family didn’t get any result from military trials, lawyers Emrah Öner and Hasan Anlar took the case to ECHR. The petition presented to the court pointed out that the case is against the 2. And 13. articles of European Convention on Human Rights. The petition stated that Semih Pektaş’s death must be considered as a suspected death rather than a suicide case as Pektaş didn’t have any psychological trauma or other sickness before the military service, adding that Pektaş didn’t get any disorder during the service as well, which should anyway have been treated by TSK (Turkish armed Forces). Emphasizing that Turkish Republic is supposed to protect a soldier’s right to live as he is under its own surveillance, supervision and command; the petition remarked the responsibility of the state in this respect.

The petition indicated Pektaş’s being Kurdish origin as another reason for the death’s being considered as a suspectable death and stated that a great number of Kurdish origin Turkish citizen have lost their lives in recent periods during the military service without getting involved in an armed conflict, adding that almost all of these deaths are reflected as ‘suicide’ by military authorities. The petition, which called attention to the ‘suspected’ soldier deaths since the first months of 2007 within the body of TSK, stated that almost all these soldiers are of Kurdish origin.