AK Party, HDP play blame game over Elci investigation

Diyarbakır Bar Association President Elci was killed in a gun battle between security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists in Diyarbakır’s Sur district on Saturday morning.

Bozdag went to visit Elci’s widow, Turkan Elci, on Tuesday to offer the family his condolences. Speaking to the press outside the Elci residence, he criticized Demirtas for jumping the gun and blaming the government for the lawyer’s death, saying: “Certain groups of people like to immediately blame the state before how the incident took place and how the death happened have been determined. The [PKK] terrorist organization and those close to it particularly like to announce that the state is a murderer. As you know, the same thing happened with the [Oct. 10] Ankara terrorist attack even when the incident had just occurred without them even looking at the evidence or information on how the incident was executed.”

He suggested that Demirtas be informed and balanced in his remarks rather than manipulative.

“Those who blame the government for this killing should not hide any evidence or documents they have to prove this. The chief prosecutors are here; they can come and give them the information. They have their media organs that they can share with. They also have national press outlets that they can give this evidence to,” Bozdag added.

In addition to criticizing Demirtas, the justice minister accused the PKK of hindering the investigation into the killing, stating: “Members of the terrorist PKK have blocked a thorough investigation from being conducted by not allowing the Diyarbakır chief public prosecutor, Diyarbakır Bar Association representatives and other qualified personnel examine the scene.”

“No one should be afraid of the truth behind this incident coming out,” he added.

He criticized the militants for not allowing an investigation to take place, “People then say the government is trying to cover up what happened. … Those who are not allowing the investigation of the crime scene to continue are the ones who do not want the truth to come out.”

Demirtas immediately responded to this criticism on Twitter, stating, “Are you not the one who personally declared a curfew, preventing the investigation of the crime scene within the first hour of the incident?”

In the aftermath of the Ankara bombings on Oct. 10 that took the lives of 102 people, the HDP leader severely criticized the government’s role in the bombing. “Has there been even one massacre where you found the criminals that perpetrated them?” Demirtas asked the then-interim ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), adding: “This is Ankara, the capital of Turkey. The state is informed when one bird even flies. A bird!”

Bozdag recounts ongoing investigation

In his statement, Bozdag discussed the proceedings of the investigation regarding Saturday’s incident, explaining, “The Diyarbakır governor took the necessary precautions and called for a curfew to protect the evidence at the crime scene and perform a thorough investigation at the scene.”

“That day [Saturday], at around 2:30 p.m., the Diyarbakır chief public prosecutor, other prosecutors and lawyers from the Diyarbakır Bar Association went to the crime scene and inspected the scene. During the investigation, machine guns fired, a rocket was launched and then a police car was blown up via remote from a distance, and as you know four of our police officers were injured.”

“The testimonies of the police officers who were there that day have been taken, their statements have been given. The testimony of the bar association personnel who were there that day, as well as that of eye witnesses, have been taken down. All steps to obtain and examine the video footage taken that day have also been taken; all of them have been obtained and given to the public prosecutor to investigate. Furthermore, the footage taken from members of the press that were there that day has also been gathered.”

Bozdag explained there are 83 points where evidence was marked at the crime scene, of which recordings and photographs were taken. Of these 83 points, 43 have been evaluated. He also noted, “Among the evidence, there is a distorted cartridge bullet and a gun left behind by the terrorists.”

Today’s Zaman visited the crime scene at the historic Four Legged Minaret on Tuesday morning where blood and several bullet shells from Saturday’s incident could be seen on the ground. There are bullet holes on the doors of local stores and a gaping hole from a bomb can be seen at the scene. There is also a brick barricade blocking a narrow road leading to where forces of the Patriotic Democratic Youth Movement (YDG-H), the PKK’s youth wing are still present.

“The investigation until this point has continued with a great degree of transparency. The lawyers of the Diyarbakır Bar Association have been informed of every step. There is nothing that has been kept secret, concealed, hidden or neglected. The investigation is very open and clear and will continue in this open fashion. The public prosecutors have stated they are not thinking of making the case confidential,” Bozdag also stated.

AK Party, MHP defeat parliamentary motion on Elci’s death

In the capital, a parliamentary motion calling for an investigation into the death of lawyer Tahir Elci, has been rejected with nay votes from the ruling AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The motion, filed by the HDP, was discussed in Parliament on Monday. It was also supported by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) but the HDP’s call was rejected after lawmakers from the AK Party and the MHP voted against it.

Speaking during the discussions on the motion, CHP İstanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a close friend of Elci, said the location, timing and manner of Elci’s killing demonstrates that his death was not a coincidence. “How can you remain silent in the face of this?” Tanrıkulu asked, addressing AK Party deputies.

After AK Party deputies interrupted his speech, Tanrıkulu became irate and complained that Parliament cannot even properly discuss a death. “Such intolerance even over the death of a person… Damn it! There is nothing else to say,” he stated, cutting short his speech and going back to his seat.