Former co-mayor of Şemdinli says he fears another attack is being planned against him

Seferi Yılmaz said that he fears another attack on him is planned and added that his apartment in Şemdinli was spied on. In 2005, his bookstore "Umut" was blown up by a state killer squad.

Former co-mayor of Şemdinli (Şemzînan) Seferi Yılmaz, suffered a serious attack when his bookstore “Umut” was bombed in 2005. Now, he said he fears another attack is planned against him. As he told the Mesopotamia Agency, on 15 August, an unknown person was seen checking out the area around his home. Camera footage showed the man observing the home from a nearby wooded area and disappearing after being noticed.

Yılmaz said: "My nephew told me about a man he spotted checking out my house. He called the police at the same time. But the police didn't come to look that day. Presumably, preparations are being made for a new attack."

Yılmaz, recalling the attack on his bookshop, said that, at that time, too, he was being observed by the assassins, a three-man death squad commissioned by the state. A floor plan of his shop was drawn up by the squad. The former co-mayor said: "I am not safe and nothing is being done to protect me. I will not give up and prevent the incidents from the past from repeating themselves. The person spying on me can be seen on the camera recordings. It will turn out who he is. We informed the police that he was preparing something in the area, but still no investigation has taken place. We can't check it ourselves because it's too dangerous. There is obviously something sinister about the incident. It is very clear that he was planning an attack."

Who is Seferi Yılmaz?

Seferi Yılmaz comes from Şemdinli and is said to have been there when the guerrilla commander Mahsum Korkmaz (Nom de Guerre: Egîd) fired the PKK's "first shot" in the city of Dih (Eruh) on 15 August 1984, thus starting the armed liberation struggle against the Turkish occupation forces.

For this, Yılmaz was imprisoned for 15 years. After his release in 2000, he opened the bookshop "Umut" (Hope), the first bookshop ever in Şemdinli. In 2005, the shop was attacked.

In 2006, he was arrested again for supporting the PKK and was imprisoned for over a year. In 2014, he was elected co-mayor of Şemdinli and arrested again in 2016. In his place, a trustee was appointed by the Turkish Ministry of the Interior. After almost two years, Yılmaz was released again. In 2020, while carrying out spring cleaning, he discovered a bug in his kitchen.

Bomb attack on bookstore commissioned by the state

On 9 November 2005, when Yılmaz was in his bookshop and about to sit down to eat with his two employees, a three-man special commando unit from the Turkish military special forces carried out an attack.

Yılmaz took a few steps towards the door when the first hand grenade was thrown into the store. He was just able to shout "bomb" to warn his colleagues. Then he ran out and started chasing the perpetrators. His employees were at the back of the bookstore at the time. One was killed by shrapnel and another seriously injured. Seferi Yılmaz survived.

The people of Şemdinli saw everything, and angrily pursued and caught the perpetrators, stopping their gateway car. The people secured a large amount of documents such as death lists, assassination plans, hand grenades made in Germany and a large number of other weapons. Then they handed the men over to the police. The perpetrators were named as Ali Kaya and Özcan İldeniz, both members of the Turkish military with the rank of sergeant, and Veysel Ateş, a member of the counter-guerrillas. Another incident occurred when the crime scene was inspected: security forces shot into a crowd from a moving car, killing one Kurd and wounding 20 others.

Since it was clear that the attacks had been carried out by state forces, the population of Şemdinli was in turmoil for weeks. Three other people were shot dead by police during the protests.

The trial ended with the perpetrators being acquitted

The perpetrators were arrested. A civil court sentenced them to long prison terms, but the trial was then referred to a military court. The then Chief of Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt set the course of the case, praising the killers as "good guys". The trial was delayed and the murderers released. A newly rolled out trial ended in December 2021 with acquittals for all the accused. The verdict has now been confirmed by the highest court.