Investigation into murder of Vedat Aydın to falls into status of limitation tomorrow

The investigation into the murder of HEP Diyarbakır Provincial Chair Vedat Aydın, killed by JITEM, will fall into status of limitation on 5 July.

The investigation into the murder of People's Labor Party (HEP) Diyarbakır Provincial Chairman Vedat Aydın, who was taken from his home in Diyarbakır on 5 July 1991 and whose lifeless body was found under a bridge in Maden, district of Elazığ, two days later, will fall into status of limitation on 5 July. After the body of Aydın, who was kidnapped from his home by people in police clothes, was found, an investigation was launched by the Elazığ Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. As part of the investigation, a statement was taken from Aydın's wife, Şükran Aydın. She was asked for a description of the kidnappers.

After a while, Elazig Chief Public Prosecutor's Office sent the file to Malatya Chief Public Prosecutor's Office saying that he had no jurisdiction to continue. The murder file was spoken about in the report prepared after the Susurluk accident in 1996, which revealed the state-mafia-politics triangle, was kept on the shelves for 20 years.

Pointing out that there should be two important steps in the clarification of the unsolved murders, lawyer Mehmet Arif Altunkalem said: "The first of these is to enforce the law. The second is the political will. It is not possible to say that these two elements were actually present in dealing with this case. At the time of the kidnapping and subsequent killing, evidence was not gathered because there was neither legal nor political will to solve this murder."


Vedat Aydın was the head of People’s Labor Party (HEP) Amed (Diyarbakır) branch. He was a prominent figure and widely respected politician at that time. When he was taken under custody by the Turkish police on July 5th, 1991 it wasn’t big news for anybody. The Turkish state’s oppression against Kurdish politicians was immense and custodies or even torture was common at that time.

But things got complicated. The following day, Turkish officials denied that Vedat Aydin was in custody. There were reports of Turkish counterguerrilla units killings in Şırnak, Cizre and Mardin but no one was thinking that a prominent figure like Vedat Aydın would be targeted.

On July 7th an unidentified body was found under a bridge in Maden, a district of Elazığ province about 50 kilometres north of Amed. There were signs of extreme torture and multiple gunshot wounds on the body. Aydın’s family rushed to the morgue in Maden and identified the body.


This murder sent shockwaves through Kurdish community, especially Amed, Vedat Aydin’s hometown. Turkish authorities handed Aydın’s body to his family three days later. They were told that it was because of juridical processes. But it was something else. The Turkish state had its own preparations for the funeral. And when everything was set, they paved the way for the funeral.

More than a hundred thousand people attended the funeral. The ceremony was led by prominent figures of Kurdish politicians as well as human right defenders and intellectuals. Aydin’s coffin was brought to Sümer Mosque in central Amed. After prayers the crowd walked to Mardinkapi Cemetery for the burial.

The crowd was stopped before the cemetery’s entrance by the Turkish police. The police was saying that they won’t let such a large crowd enter the cemetery. As there were talks to remove the police barrier, shots were heard.

The masked so called special forces opened fire against the crowd. There was immense panic. Gunshots continued for 3-4 minutes. Four people were killed on the spot. Several were wounded and taken to the hospital.

After the first attack police removed the barrier and let the crowd move to the cemetery. The crowd gathered back again.

Aydin was buried after a short speech by his brother Deniz Aydın.


Everybody thought that it was over and the crowd dispersed and most people started walking to the city center. But the road was blocked by Turkish police again. This time there were more policemen, more special forces and armoured vehicles. The police let the crowd walk to city in small groups. After most people passed the police barrier, only a few thousand people were waiting for the police’s permission to walk to the city center.

First there were three shots. Then hundreds of armed policemen started to open fire on the remaining people. A helicopter and armoured vehicle were escorting the attack. People who were trying to flee the area were captured and beaten by Turkish police.

MPs Ahmet Türk, Orhan Doğan, Hatip Dicle and other Kurdish politicians were tortured along with journalists and human rights defenders.

The attack lasted around 20 minutes. It left 23 people dead and more than two thousand wounded. 19 were buried at night. Only 4 families were granted permission for a proper funeral.


No Turkish official or policemen appeared before the court for the killing of innocent civilians. The murderers of Vedat Aydın were never found.

The murder of Vedat Aydın was a beginning of an era. An era of political murders and extrajudicial killings. Between 1991-99 several thousand Kurds were killed, including MP Mehmet Sincar. About two million Kurds were forced to migrate, about 17 thousand villages were burned to the ground.