Investigation against mourners at funeral of Mehmet Zeki Çelebi in Van

The Turkish state murdered Mehmet Zeki Çelebi in Sulaymaniyah and attacked his funeral in Van with water cannons, tear gas and batons. Investigations have been launched against his father and brother and 20 other mourners.

Mehmet Zeki Çelebi was shot in front of his restaurant in Sulaymaniyah on May 17, 2022. While the Kurd, who is originally from Van, had been living in Southern Kurdistan for twelve years due to political persecution and had also been threatened there several times, the Turkish intelligence service MIT is suspected to be the perpetrator. The suspected contract killers fled to the KDP-controlled city of Hewlêr (Erbil) and have not been caught to date. Çelebi's body was transferred to his birthplace of Van in northern Kurdistan and buried on May 27. The mourners, including HDP deputies Murat Sarısaç, Muazzez Orhan and Mehmet Sıdık Taş, as well as numerous representatives of civil society organizations, were attacked by Turkish security forces with water cannon, tear gas and batons, and several were detained. Only 15 relatives were admitted to the funeral, and they were also put under pressure not to speak out publicly.

The Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has now opened an investigation against 22 people, including family members. This was announced by the provincial association of the HDP at a press conference today. "Without any legal justification, we and family members have not been allowed into the cemetery. When we wanted to go to the family's house after the funeral and were on our way to our cars, we were stopped and water cannons and gas bombs were used against us," said Fikret Doğan, the co-chair of the HDP provincial branch. "Investigations have now been launched against Mehmet Zeki Çelebi's father, his brother, the HDP and DBP co-chairs in Van and other board members, a total of 22 people, for their participation in the funeral. The state is using enemy criminal law against us," said HDP politician Fikret Doğan.