Uğur and Ahmet Kaymaz, killed in 2004, remembered

12-year-old Uğur and his father Ahmet Kaymaz were shot dead by Turkish security forces in Kızıltepe, Mardin. Thirteen bullets hit the fifth-grader and eight hit his father. The authorities claimed they were terrorists.

On November 21, 2004, twelve-year-old Uğur and his father Ahmet Kaymaz were shot dead by Turkish security forces in the Kızıltepe district of Mardin. The murder took place in front of the family's house. Uğur was wearing slippers on his feet at the time of his death. An autopsy revealed thirteen bullets in his body, nine of which had been fired at close range at his back, according to the forensic medical report. Eight bullets were found in his father's body.

After the murder, the governor claimed that Uğur and Ahmet Kaymaz were terrorists who were planning an attack. To support this claim, a Kalashnikov was placed next to the bodies and the scene was photographed. The weapon was almost larger than Uğur's body. The Human Rights Association (IHD) recorded what happened that day in an investigation report based on Makbule Kaymaz's account:

"My husband Ahmet is a truck driver. We carry out transport with our own truck. My son Uğur was born in 1992. He went to 5th grade of elementary school. He occasionally accompanied his father on the trip. One day before the incident, my husband wanted to go to Iskenderun for transportation. Therefore, he prepared for the trip. Around 4:30 p.m. on the day of the incident, we set the table and served the food. My husband was busy with my son carrying blankets and mattresses to the truck. Both of them were wearing slippers. Afterwards, we were going to eat. Our truck was parked about 40 to 45 meters from our home, on the main road. When my husband and son went outside to get the things there, we heard gunshots a short time later. I was home with my three other children and my mother-in-law. We were startled and went over the balcony to the terrace of our neighbors, who are also our relatives. From there, I saw my son Uğur kneeling in front of the truck and bending his head forward. I recognized him by his white pants. The shooting was repeated at certain intervals. After some time, the police came to search our apartment and we were taken to the prosecutor's office for questioning. Later I learned that my son and husband had been killed."

Only through the efforts of the family and the IHD was a preliminary investigation initiated. The first trial date took place on September 21, 2005 in Mardin. However, the Kurdish public's great solidarity with the Kaymaz family-thousands of people from various cities had traveled to Mardin- led the Ministry of Justice to move the trial to Eskişehir in western Turkey "for security reasons". After three years of closed-door proceedings, the accused police officers were acquitted on April 18, 2007. The verdict stated that Uğur and his father had been "terrorists" and that their killing was considered justified.

"When it comes to extralegal executions of Kurds, it is common for the perpetrators to be protected by the judiciary," said Salih Kuday, co-chair of the HDP provincial association in Mardin, during a visit today to the graves of the victims. The politician was accompanied by board members of his party and the DBP, as well as activists from the Peace Mothers’ Assembly and the Association of Relatives of Martyrs (MEBYA-DER). "If the murderers of Uğur and Ahmet Kaymaz had been punished, if they had been held accountable, other children who were killed might still be alive today. But whether children, young people, women or the elderly; if Kurds are extra-legally executed in this country, no prosecutor or judge can be found to administer justice," Kuday said.

After personal expressions of sorrow to the Kaymaz family by those present, a prayer was said together. After a few moments in silence at the graves of Uğur and his father, the mourners left the cemetery in a collective walk.