Images and videos surfaced this past weekend that appeared to show an armored police vehicle dragging the body of a Kurdish man tied by the neck to the back of the vehicle. Much of the state-controlled media in the country quickly questioned the authenticity of the footage, though also said it was likely done as a safety precaution. The pro-AKP Aksam daily claimed that dragging bodies was a “routine practice” that is performed across the world as a security precaution, for dead bodies suspected of being booby-trapped.
It was later discovered that the body was that of Hacı Lokman Birlik, the brother-in-law of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Member of Parliament Leyla Birlik. Turkey’s Today’s Zaman newspaper said that Birlik was buried after a funeral on Saturday in the Dicle neighborhood in Sirnak, and that local HDP authorities including Leyla Birlik attended the funeral.
While the circumstances of Birlik’s death are still unclear, the HDP believes that Birlik was “executed by police,” as security forces attempted to fill in trenches dug by Sirnak residents who wished to keep police out.
During an interview with HaberTurk TV, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, “Our interior ministry…will conduct a comprehensive investigation, not into the incident itself, but into the way in which this incident was reflected to the world.”
“It is unacceptable to treat any corpse this way, even if it is a dead terrorist,” Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Reuters.
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas tweeted a photo of the incident with a caption vowing not to forget the atrocity that had taken place. “Take a good look at this photo. It was taken in Sirnak the day before yesterday. Nobody should forget this photo, because we will not,” read the caption in Turkish.
On Oct. 7, the HDP said in a written statement that the party’s lawyer had filed a complaint about the incident. The party also began the process of introducing a parliamentary motion condemning the act.