Turkish Shepherd Killed After Crossing into Armenian Territory

The body of Mustafa Ulker was returned to Turkey on July 1.
The body of Mustafa Ulker was returned to Turkey on July 1.

YEREVAN (A.W.)—A Turkish shepherd was reportedly shot dead at the border with Armenia late on July 31. Turkey accused Armenia of using “excessive force,” and Turkish news sources accused Armenian soldiers of opening fire on the victim.

Thirty-five-year-old Mustafa Ulker, a resident of the Arpachay district in Kars, reportedly crossed into Armenian territory to retrieve a sheep. Soldiers shot at the man without any warning, according to Turkish sources.

In accordance with a bilateral Russian-Armenian agreement, Armenia’s border with Turkey (as well as with Iran) has been secured by Russian border guards.

The Russian Federal Security Service is investigating the incident, according to reports.

On Aug. 1, the shepherd’s body was transferred to Turkey following border negotiations. The body was taken to Arpacay and will be transferred to Erzurum for an autopsy.

Kars Governor Eyup Tepe told journalists, “We can say that there was excessive use of force, considering that [Ulker] did not have a gun.”

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support to Azerbaijan over the Karabagh War. Russian troops patrol Armenia’s border with Turkey. Although rare in occurrence, there have been other fatal shootings on the border.


  1. “Armenia’s border with Turkey (as well as with Iran) has been secured by Russian border guards.”

    Do Russians ever buy you icecream also ?

    • And let me guess: if you were alone an saw a bunch of Armenians you would do nothing out of cowardly fear? And basically easy targets are what your people are all about? Is that what you mean?
      Like the elderly Armenian ladies beaten to death?

      Why not attack any Russians instead? Same cowardly reason.

    • I’m wondering how the West is mute when it comes to the Turkish Governments involvement with Jabhat El Nusra, which is Alqaada branch, fighting against the Syrian government troops; kidnapping innocent civilians, demanding ransom, abusing and then killing them. Why the West doesn’t condemn Turkey for helping a terrorist organisation such as the above?

  2. Accidents like this are bound to happen when borders are illegally blocked by the illegal Turkish state. The Turkish government should explain to the family of the dead man the reason why they illegally closed borders with Armenia so that the family can sue the Turkish government for wrongful death caused by the illegal actions of the illegal Turkish state and demand compensation.

    I am sure the illegal Turkish state has the forwarding address of the head of the artificial state of Azerbaijan, on whose behalf this accident occurred, to demand reimbursement for the damages incurred. Perhaps this accident will give the illegal Turkish state even more leverage on the artificial state of Azerbaijan to demand even more bribe money in the form of even cheaper oil export.

    Regardless, the Armenian border guards performed their duty well and should be commended for their quick response and be promoted for the vigilance. I am sure, sooner or later, such accidents will cease to exist because the occupied Armenian province of Kars where this accident occurred, along with several other occupied Armenian border provinces, will be on the Armenian side of the border.

    • ” I am sure, sooner or later, such accidents will cease to exist because the occupied Armenian province of Kars where this accident occurred, along with several other occupied Armenian border provinces, will be on the Armenian side of the border.”
      To the man who claims to be more educated than I will be in my life: Even if Kars become part of Armenia, Turkey and Armenia will still share a border, meaning the possibility of things like this happening again will- shockingly- NOT cease… And btw this very little man is still waiting for your reply on the Lisbon 5 article.

    • @RVDV, the difference between the current status of affairs between Armenia and Turkey, with Western Armenian provinces under Turkish occupation, and the status of the borders when the occupied Armenian provinces are liberated and are on the Armenian side of the border is that there won’t be any ambiguity as to where things stand between Turkey and Armenia. They will either be in a state of peace and content with the new borders leading to a much friendlier response to illegal, by mistake that is, border crossings or if, on the other hand, the two countries remain in the state they are today with the Turkish illegal border closings which practically amounts to a state of “undeclared” war on behalf of a third country among other Turkish schemes, then Armenian border guards have every right to stop any legitimate or perceived aggression.

      By the way, you got your response to Lisbon5 article.

  3. My heart goes to the innocent fallen shepherd & to his family.
    The border guards could have avoided killing him.However this shows how sensitive the border is…

  4. I wonder how the entire world would react if Turks did it to an Armenian guy … I’m so sad for the innocent shepherd & his family

    • This actually happened to an Armenian when he crossed into Azerbaijan a few years ago. I forget if this was in Nakhichevan. They captured him and days later he was killed.

    • The shepherd wasn’t killed, actually. He was deported. And he probably was working for MIT intelligence, so even if he was killed, it was probably justified.

      (Imagine this explanation being used for the disappearance of 1.5 million people or so, and then you can feel sadness.)

    • Yes, Random Armenian makes a good point: On September 11, 2010, Manvel Saribekyan was shepherding when he blundered across the Armenian/Azeri border regions, and found himself taken into custody by Azeri military personnel. Apparently, he lost his way in foggy weather conditions, and crossed into Azeri controlled areas, in search for stray livestock.

      Manvel, the Armenian shepherd, was tortured, abused, and paraded for propaganda purposes in the Azeri media, while imprisoned in Azerbaijan.

      On September 7, 2010, Manvel made a scripted confession, under duress, on Baku, Azerbaijan TV News, which was clearly fake. Azeri media tried to portray him as an Armenian Terrorist, who had set upon a mission to blow up a school in Azerbaijan, but all of this nonsense was quickly and easily debunked. Testimony from his friends and family members clearly indicated that Manvel was performing the tasks of a shepherd, when he strayed across the border. Azeri spin-doctors spammed the Internet with lies and fake propaganda about Manvel, especially on YouTube.

      On October 5, 2010, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry announced that Manvel Saribekyan hung himself in his prison cell, but this explanation was successfully challenged by the Armenian Administration, and human rights groups too. Even the Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was prevented from seeing Manvel, and was prevented from doing a forensic investigation of his body.

      “Capturing this young herdsman, forcing him to talk obvious nonsense on TV and finally killing him – that’s terrible in itself, as is the cynicism which it was presented to the public,” said Armenian foreign minister Eduard Nalbandyan in a speech to parliament on October 6. “This kind of behaviour is typical of terrorists.”

      I obtained much of this information from Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR).

  5. Since the border is patrolled by Russians, I wonder if such steps are generally intentional to further sabotage/worsen Turkish-Armenian relations. The worse these relations are, the better for Russia. On a side note, I did not realize that Russia controls Armenian border. Controlling your own borders is a right and privilege of independent countries, which goes as a further proof that Armenian is a Russian outpost in Caucasus. As for the “shepherd’s” death, of course, it is a tragedy. But was he really a shepherd? How do we know that? What if this was a test to see how well or tensely the border is protected, should that ever turn out to be a useful info in the future. I am all for Turkey in the context, but I am also a proud skeptic as a rule.

    • Of course Armenia is a Russian outpost. Because of TURKEY. “Controlling your own borders is a right and privilege of independent countries”. Yes, indeed, in THEORY. But we all know that if Russians didn’t guard our border with Turkey you would have found a pretext to invade our small country a long time ago.

      I am a realist and thus I not only think it’s good that we have a Russian military base in Armenia, I actually want to increase the Russian troops in my country. This is something we ought to do in order to deter genocidal Turkey from invading us, which I am sure, is her ultimate goal.

      Turkish-Armenian relations? Are you kidding us? You think we will ever have normal healthy relations with a country that committed not one but TWO (1895 and 1915) large scale genocides against us?

      One of the reason of why we have Russians guarding our borders is your denial and rationalization of these crimes which show us that you most likely will commit more genocides in the future if you ever get the chance!

      Anyway, back to Armenia being a Russian satellite state. Yeah, it is, and we are neither proud nor ashamed of this. Ossetians are also “protected” by Russia – against Georgian aggression. So we are not alone. All small countries are dependent on some superpower. This is reality.

  6. It’s absolutely unjustified unless the guard’s life was in danger.
    I know that one day Turkes will realize how ignorent they have been not to recognize the Armenian genecide.

    • I was always puzzled as to why Turks so vehemently denied an obvious genocide (actually there were two of them, the first one in 1895), until I started studying islam.

      Now I know that Turks not so much deny as they justify the genocide. The only reason why they object to the term itself is its negative connotations. They don’t really deny what it describes, it’s just that they’re proud of it rather than ashamed.

      According to Islam (remember Tayyip’s comment about Muslims being INCAPABLE of committing genocide?) Muslims have the divine right to oppress and kill disobedient subjects.

      Anyone who wants to learn about this deep-rooted Muslim supremacist mentality should watch videos by Robert Spencer and Pat Condell on youtube. After, you will understand.

    • Come to think of it, may this incident be part of an attempt by Erdogan and AKP to divert Turkish attention from internal unrest?

      The Russians said that the “shepherd” fired on them, so might he have been an agent? I believe so!

    • Barbaric indeed,but not as barbaric as Hrant Dink’s assassination in the middle of a crowded Istanbul street…see the difference?

    • “barbaric” has been used to describe Turks Countless times. Sorry buddy your people have already cornered that label and have done it quite well.

    • You talk about ‘barbaric’, Denialist progeny of barbaric, savage, nomadic, Asiatic invaders ?
      Barbaric, you say ?
      What do you call 34 unarmed Kurds barbarically murdered at Uludere ?
      Half of the victims of the barbaric Turks were underage: what a surprise; Turks murdering children.
      What do you call Turkish goons in cop uniform barbarically attacking peaceful Turkish protesters at Gezi ?
      Even Turkish women were savagely, barbarically beaten by your ‘brave’ askyar. How ironic: the nomadic savages turning on their own, now that there are not enough Christians left to quench their blood thirst.
      How many of your peaceful Turkish compatriots lost an eye because your barbaric brethren shot teargas canister right into their faces ?
      How many thousands were savagely beaten and injured by your barbaric Turk cops, Murat ?
      Hey, maybe the Turkish shepherd was not shot: maybe it is all a myth.
      You do call the Armenian Genocide ‘a myth’, do you not – barbaric Denialist ?

    • Before accusing someone, look yourself in your home mirror? Do you have one? Your ancestors committed a Genocide against Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians, Greeks, Lebanese citizens, Yezidis, Iranians and now against the Syrian People by helping Al Qaaida(Base) to construct an Emirate on a Syrian territory. I hope, one day, te West will recognize your government’s atrocities.

  7. It was probably an intentional act by Russia to heat up the border and hurt Armenia diplomatically. The Russian border guards are notoriously corrupt – engaged in livestock smuggling from Armenia to Turkey as well as taking kickbacks to allow workers access to the mafiosi-run stone quarries that now blight the whole border region – so they are not usually this dilligent about who crosses “their” border. (It is difficult to seriously call that section of border around Gyumri “Armenia’s border”, given that Armenia has no actual control of it and it is the Russian flag you see flying from the watchtowers).

    • well that’s all turkey’s fault. if we didn’t have genocidal turkey as a neighbour we wouldn’t have russian troops in our country. so turks have no moral right to complain about it.

      more russian troops in armenia NOW!!!

      /armenian realist

  8. “reported Turkish sources.”
    Re the comments stating regret, apology, etc: since when did we start believing Turkish sources that we are now taking such reports as fact and are now in an apologetic mood? According to other sources the supposed shepherd had a gun. For all we know he was a terrorist or spy scoping out the place. It is too early to make any conclusions either way, and if CNN Turk and friends are worried about Turks dying they can start with Erdogan’s terrorist regime killing Turkish protesters.

  9. since he already lived in accupied Armenian land ,his existant on that land was tolerated now he crossed the line to instigate a hostile act he has been demoted.( its sad if he was Shepherd)

  10. There must exist at least double rows of fences (although I have not been there but I guess and I’ve seen it all along Iran-Russia border) from maybe 1920’s, along the border where one side once was USSR and the other side a close US ally.
    So how come a sheep could pass those fences and the ”??shepherd??” retrieving it? Think just for a while……………

  11. {“One word: barbaric. Shows what we are dealing with here.”} (Denialist Turk Murat projecting).
    A couple of examples form his supposedly non-barbaric Turkey:
    [What is this shepherd scenario?]
    {Two shepherds in the southeastern province of Hatay were killed on Monday after they were mistaken for terrorists by the gendarmerie.} (June 2010)
    [‘Missing shepherd killed, body mutilated by soldiers’]
    { A shepherd who went missing in Hakkari in 1995 was allegedly killed by a group of soldiers with a landmine later detonated on top of his body to cover up the cause of death, the Taraf daily has reported.}
    { Afterward, Lt. Kemal ordered for a mine expert to be brought and had a landmine detonated on Tekçi’s corpse, Şahin alleged. “We saw the dead Nezir’s clothing flying into the sky, and after a bit Lt. Kemal came toward us with Nezir’s severed head in hand, holding it by the hair, and showed it to us,” he said.}
    Such non-barbaric behaviour from our dear Turkish neighbors,
    isn’t it ?

  12. in old world, and even today, aggressor country used to send “fake” shepherds to find the readiness of the enemy, in order to gain some intelligence, for future activities!!

    In this case Turkey failed again, as they did against Syria, when a Turkish Phantom jet was shot down inside Syrian air space!!

  13. I think it is a disgusting comment to say that it is a nice reason to attack the Armenians in İstanbul. I am Turkish yet I have recently discovered that I have an Armenian great-grandma. I think more people in Turkey should study their family origins. This might help in order to live in peace with the so called minorities…

  14. Nilly, was it not disgusting to you when you read comment asking the wellbeing of sheep? mockery of a persons death?

    • {“ i am an alevi turk and all for all recognition of all suffered minorities of turkey genocide claims for me is unreal if proven to be true i would gladly endorse”} ((anton // November 3, 2012 at 10:05 am // @AW)
      A denialist Turk complaining about the “mockery of a persons death” is rich.
      How about your mockery of the murder of about 2 million persons (1895-1923), denialist progeny of savage, nomadic Turkic tribal invaders ?
      “genocide claims for me is unreal”: maybe the unfortunate death of the Turkish shepherd is also unreal, denialist.

    • Nice one Avery.Very nice indeed.Denialists should keep their disgusting vomits to themselves.When they learn how to respect our 2 million killed ancestors by their beloved forefathers,then they can be considered as humans.

  15. I wonder who the Turkish authorities complained to since they refuse to have diplomatic relations with Armenia.

    A tragedy indeed but there is a very good reason why Russian troops (many of whom are actually Armenian). Turkey has implied and and explicitly threatened to invade Armenian several times; one example is in 1993. The Russians responded by telling the Turks they would face massive retaliation. It is wise for Russians to be stationed on the Armenian border- Turkey is an unrepentant genocidal nation bent on Armenia’s destruction. This policy is common sense and keeps Turkey in check.

    Turkey stood in badly hidden military confrontation with Armenia and intended to invade, defeat and occupy her southern territory to help Azerbaijan recapture Karabakh and enlarge its territory and restore its prestige. On several occasions the Turkish 3rd Field Army was made ready to cross the frontier. The army included at the hottest period of the confrontation c. 1500 tanks, 2500 artillery units with heavy artillery, 1100 armoured transport vehicles. It was supported by the 2nd Tactical Aviation Command with 260 war planes and a unit for psychological warfare. The army was engaged furthermore in training both Azeri soldiers and irregular “grey wolves” that became a major force in Azerbaijan at that time. Incidentally, important camps and recruitment centres for Azerbaijan fighters were organized also in many other places, i.al. in remote Turkish-occupied Cyprus. They were all supported and encouraged by the Turkish authorities.

    In the meantime the Turks tried to assist the Azeris the best they could. They hoped they would easily defeat the Armenians. The Turks bought military equipment from the dissolved People’s Army of East German for $ 800 mln and transfered it to Azerbaijan. A mass of volnteers from Turkey and high ranking officers with 10 Turkish generals (in retirement) were sent to Azerbaijan in 1992 to make the Azeri Army in the image of what the elder Turkish borther considered to be the ideal of all military art – Ataturk’s troops. Azeri President Elcebey made Turkish general Yashar Demirbulak his personal military advisor and a senior member of the Security Council. Turkey gave a $ 30 mln credit to Azerbaijan to buy arms. The Russian press informed that by the end of 1992 c. 5-6000 Turkish soldiers and officers joined Azerbaijani forces to fight the hated Armenians. 5000 stinger rockets were smuggled from Turkey to Azerbaijan in disguise of humanitarian aid in the summer of that year.

    The Turks didn’t mind encroaching upon the Armenian air space to bring the military cargoes to Baku. But the Turks’ hope were not justified by the results on the front. In 1992 the Armenians made it very difficult for the Turks and Azeri to keep the transports going through Nakhichevan bridgehead to Baku. The Turkish General Staff called for immediate intervantion. In the spring of that year the commander in-chief of the Turkish land forces Muhittin Fisunoglu had declared : ” All the preparations have been completed. Now the Army is waiting for the command to move and act “. But the command didn’t come. At that time in Tashkent the Treaty of Collective Security of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed and Armenia was part of it. A Turkish agression would have provoked a large anti-Turkish coalition.

    Instead of fighting the small Armenian army the Turks would have stumbled upon the former Soviet Army. So they tried to play the role of a peace-keeper. They remembered an old article of the 1921 Kars treaty and called themselves a guarantee of security and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan. In secret they still counted with a coming miltary victory of their pan-Turkic pupils.

    The brave Azeris trained by the bravest of humans Anatolian Turks would beat the cowardly Armenians. And so the goal would be achieved without a WWIII. But instead of winning the Azeris lost one battle after another, one village after another. But the defeats exasperated the Azeris. After the fall of the town of Susha vice-speaker of the Azeri Parliament Tamerlan Karaev declared angrily that if Armenia doesn’t withdraw her forces Azerbaijan would turn to Turkey and “demand she takes all necessary measures to stop the Armenian aggression”. He and his colleagues also promised to reward with oil any country that would help Azerbaijan militarily.

    Azeri Prime Minister Gasan Gasanov declared that the oil pipeline would go through those countries that would help actively Azerbaijan to solve the Karabakh conflict. The further worsening of the situation on the front forced the Azeris to urge immeditae military intervention of the Turkish 3rd Army. In November 1992 Gasanov visited Ankara, talked to Dogan Guresh , the then chief of General Staff, and asked him to give president Demirel the personal message of Geydar Alyev concerning ‘direct military assistance’.

    As nothing came out of these initiatives, internal fighting and quarrels in Azerbeijan intensified. Elcebej had to flee, Colonel Surat Guseynov organized a successful coup d’etat in 1993. In Baku the new president Geydar Alyev pushed the country to join the Commonwealth of Independent States but didn’t abandon hopes for a decisive victory in the battlefield. The Turks sent more and more weapons, military trainers , provided Turkish military hospitals for treating the wounded Azeri soldiers.

    The 220th Armoured and 9th artillery groups of the 9th Sarykamysh Division were deployed directly on the Armenian border. There were skirmishes along the boderline. Yet the Armenians were winning the war. The Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller threatened that if the Armenians make further progress “Turkey is not going to stand idly by “.

    But the international situation was against the aggressive Turkish plans. Especially after “the Karabagh Army captured the Azeri military trophies near the village of Shahbulagh, where the Turkish and even the US weaponry from the NATO warehouses was found and identified. It raised a scandal in the US Congress and led to the American sanctions against Azerbaijan.”

    Yet, the acute political crisis in Russia in October 1993 seemed momentarily to favour the Turkish plan of a blitz against Armenia. Unfortunately for Turkey it developed however in the wrong direction. So once again the Turks saw no other way out but the last attempt on the part of the Azeris to militarily stop the Armenian advances. In December 1993 a great Azeri offensive began with Turkish officers and equipment. But after a few initial successes under heavy casualties its impetus petered out and by February 1994 it was clear it had failed to achieve the intended goals. The uninterrupted reverses discouraged the Azeris and undermined their faith in the elder pan-Turkic brother while they also disappointed and embittered the Turks who blamed the Azeris for the dismal outcome of the war.

    In May 1994 in Beshkek a ceasefire agreement was signed. The Turks didn’t help their Azeri bothers reconquer Karabakh. Their plans to invade Armenia with which they kept the Azeri optimism couldn’t be implemented. The political and social crisis in Azerbaijan intensified. The mountains of weapons the Turks imported were used to settle scores between different warring Azeri factions and criminal groups. With never ending defeats the moral of the Azeris fell dramatically.

    The soldiers trained in Turkey deserted the units, sold the arms or engaged rather in crime and smuggling than in a jihad against the Armenians and openly blamed the Turks who only demanded sacrifices, promised bright victories or abundant booty and did nothing to hel them in need. They were scared to fly in a single Turkish division to Armenia to force the Armenians’ hand.

    At that time the US pressure and a political realism prevailed in the Turkish policy. Invasion of Armenia would have meant a certain war with Russia that engineered the Armenian victories. However militarized and fanatical Turkey was no match for Russia. It was only the US and NATO that guarantee Turkey’s safety who wanted to play the role of a local superpower. And the US and NATO were against Turkey on that occasion.

    • Joseph,
      Thanks for the valuable information. I was wondering if it’s possible to share the sources of your information.

  16. Anton, absolutely, it is not acceptable to make fun of the death of a person. Whether the person is Turkish or Armenian does not matter to me. I still hope that this hurting and humiliating eachother stops. After all there have been enough sufferings and pain in the past.

  17. Anton, what, you haven’t heard that the Armenian Genocide of 100 year ago justifies Armenians to be unconditionally and unabashedly hateful towards anything and everything that has anything to do with Turkey? I wish all Turkish progressives would see such comments regularly, and they will realize that, despite recognizing the reality of the Genocide, they should fight the recognition, because:
    – Due to Middle Eastern mentality, Armenians will never forgive Turkey, even if the latter does everything … give up land, money, and even go bankrupt (frankly, I wouldn’t blame them. On the other hand, being Christian, they should believe in forgiveness, but in this case I think the regional mentality trumps religion.)

    – So, Turkey should never willingly accept it. Why should it? It has everything to loose and nothing to gain. Would Armenia? Justice, compassion? Look, they essentially joke about the death of a shepherd just a couple of days ago, but expect the world to cry for their dead from 100 years ago? Hypocrisy? Was he really a shepherd versus a spy? Were the victims of the Genocide mostly rebels allied with Russia? Look in the mirror first …

    • Karim the Azeri & not the AXEbaijani,finally you’ve shown your true colors.Your sheepskin has been uncovered again & again.Denialists should keep their disgusting vomits to themselves.When they learn how to respect our 2 million killed ancestors by their beloved forefathers,then they can be considered as humans.Turkey falls into this vomit category as long as it continues to deny the Genocide & deny us our homeland taken by the sword.

    • Karim – Turkey should openly accept the genocide facts because it is in Turkey’s long term interest to accept it. A state whose people can live with such a big lie will feel free to commit countless smaller lies and abuses on its own population. You can’t be selectively clean, selectively honest. As for what Armenians would get out of the recognition – that’s their business, though it is true that Turkey’s continuing genocide denials allows far too many Armenians to think they have a free licence to behave disgustingly. They too don’t seem to realise that they can’t be selectively clean.

  18. My last visit to Ani in the Eastern side of Turkey, the fence between Turkey and Armenia had some damage to it. Some of it was ripped by sliding rocks; and easily a person or animal could just stroll through it down towards the river and cross into Armenian territory.

    Maybe where this incident happened had similar damage to the fence.

    • The fence at Ani is a fence for Ani. There is no security fence on the Turkish side of the border. Most of it is open and anyone can approach the border (the border is guarded of course – but a local would know the blindspots). And the land right up to the border line is farmed (unlike on the Armenian side where there is quite a wide security zone along most of it that is forbidden to civilians). The multiple lines of security fences and bare soil strips are all on the Armenian side and date from the Soviet times.

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