Prominent Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer Killed in Diyarbakir

Diyarbakir Bar Association Chairman Tahir Elci Shot During Public Speech

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—Prominent Kurdish lawyer and president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association Tahir Elci was shot dead on Nov. 28 in the Sur district of Diyarbakir during an attack that took place at around 11 a.m.

Tahir Elci at the 2014 Hrant Dink Commemoration Program
Tahir Elci at the 2014 Hrant Dink Commemoration Program


Elci was giving a public briefing before the press, calling for an end to the war in the Kurdish regions within four-months’ time. The press conference was taking place near the four minarets and the historic Diyarbakir wall, a symbol for the city. Elci died from a gunshot to the head.

During the press statement, Elci had noted, “In this common site for humanity, we don’t want weapons, conflict, and armed combat.”

Police block the crime scene for the press.
Police block the crime scene for the press.


Last month during a televised debate program, Elci had argued that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organization. Following his statement, he became a target of the pro-government media; he was arrested, then released pending trial.

In a press release, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) blamed the incident on the government, adding that it was a planned assassination.

Elci was a human rights activist. In 2013, he worked on a program commemorating the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The event was organized by the Diyarbakir Bar Association and the Diyarbakir Municipality. In 2014, he spoke at the Hrant Dink Commemoration event in Diyarbakir.

Armenian Weekly correspondent Gulisor Akkum filed this report from Diyarbakir.

Gulisor Akkum

Gulisor Akkum

Gulisor Akkum is a journalist based in Diyarbakir. She received her sociology degree in 2003 from Dicle University. She has written articles for the Armenian Weekly since 2009, and is the Weekly's correspondent in Diyarbakir since October 2012.

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