Nizamettin Gökalan, one of the guerrillas buried in Kilyos, reburied in Amed

The body of Nizamettin Gökalan, one of the guerrillas buried under a pavement by the Turkish state in Kilyos,Istanbul, was delivered to his family and reburied in Amed.

The Xerzan Cemetery in the Oleka Jor village of Bitlis was brutally destroyed by earth-moving machinery on December 19, 2017. The remains of 282 guerrillas were removed from the cemetery and buried in plastic boxes under the pavement in Kilyos Cemetery in Istanbul. Despite repeated efforts and public backlash, most families could not receive the bodies.

The remains of Nizamettin Gökalan, one of the guerrillas buried in Kilyos Cemetery, were delivered to his family on December 14 as a result of relentless efforts by the family.

The family buried the former guerrilla in Amed, the city where he was born. A funeral ceremony was held for the fallen guerrilla in Yeniköy Cemetery in the central Bağlar district.

The Unity and Culture Association for Aid and Solidarity with Families that Lost Their Relatives in the Cradle of Civilizations (MEBYA-DER), the Association for Solidarity with the Families of Prisoners and Convicts (TUHAY-DER), the Mesopotamia Language and Cultural Research Association (MED DER), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and numerous religious scholars attended the ceremony organized by the family.

The Turkish police prevented the crowd from attending the ceremony at the cemetery. Only family members were allowed to participate in the funeral.

The family set up a tent to accept condolences in the Huzurevleri neighbourhood of Kayapınar district.

Last May, lawyers from the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) took the file to the ECtHR on behalf of the families in order to receive the bodies buried under the pavement in Kilyos.

The application submitted to the ECtHR emphasized that the “right to respect for private and family life” specified in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was violated.

While more than 20 families have been able to get back the bodies of their children, other bodies are still kept in Kilyos Cemetery. There is no reliable information about how many bodies have been delivered to their families and how many bodies are still buried in the cemetery in Kilyos.