Ali Rıza Arslan: I felt the whole of Diyarbakır falling on my head

Ali Rıza Arslan, whose son Hakan Arslan's bones were delivered to him in a bag, said: "I did not expect such a thing, at that moment the whole of Diyarbakır fell on my head. But what should I do? No one hears my voice."

Reactions are growing for the delivery of the remains of Hakan Arslan, who lost his life in clashes during the curfew declared on 2 December 2015, in Sur, to his father in a bag after 7 years. While Diyarbakır Bar Association filed a criminal complaint against this inhumane practice, Hakan Arslan's father Ali Rıza Arslan, summarized what happened to ANF as "the end of the word".

‘No one hears our voice!’

Arslan said that he has been trying for 7 years to recover his son's remains. He added that his son's remains were taken out of Sur in February 2021, and then taken to the Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK), where he was kept for 9 months.

Arslan said that he has been suffering a lot especially for the last 1.5 years, and added: “DNA tests were performed twice. We waited in ATK for 9 months for autopsy procedures. At the end of this process, I went to Diyarbakır Courthouse. An officer, whom I later learned was the prosecutor's clerk, handed me my son's bones in a box in a plastic bag. I didn't expect anything like this. Diyarbakir fell on top of my head. They gave me my son, who would be 28 years old today if he were alive, in a box. At that moment, I had a hard time holding myself back. I don't even remember how I got to Erzurum. What can we say, I'm devastated, but no one hears us, I can't find words to say anymore."

Arslan said that his wife got ill as soon as she learned what had happened. She was taken to the hospital and given serum, father Arslan said that she could not attend the condolences tent as she was lying in ill.

Arslan family lawyer Ferhat Kılınç is preparing to file a criminal complaint against the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor. He said that they struggled for 7 years to find the body and added that by convincing the prosecutor himself, he entered the security zone accompanied by special operations police, were excavations were carried out. Hakan Arslan's body could not be reached. Explaining that the fate of Arslan's remains was learned after a news item appeared in a newspaper, Kılınç said: "We believe that the body was caught in the bucket at a point where excavations were made in Sur. In fact, there were reports that the body had bullet marks on its skull. I haven't been able to reach the autopsy report yet, but when I do, we will file the necessary criminal complaint. Because there is no claim, evidence or proof that Hakan Arslan is a member of an illegal organization. According to the file, he is a civilian who lost his life.”

'We have not see the autopsy report yet'

The lawyer said that the fact that Arslan’s body was kept in ATK for 9 months was due to the attitude of the prosecutor, and added that because it was reflected in the news that Arslan had a bullet mark on his skull, the first thing to do was an autopsy. He explained that the prosecutor first awaited the results of the DNA samples taken from Arslan's father and mother, then sent the body to Istanbul ATK for autopsy, and that the autopsy report had not yet reached them.

Kılınç said that the curfew and clashes date back to 2015, and that more than one body was taken from Sur. Hakan Arslan's mother and father also submitted DNA samples, along with other families, within the scope of the investigation at that time. However, Kilinc said that because Arslan's body was not found in 2015, a match could not be made, "A separate investigation was opened in 2021. In that investigation file, the father was supposed to provide a DNA sample. Unfortunately, there is no DNA bank in Turkey for those who lost their lives and whose identity could not be determined, or for those who fell victim to unsolved murders, so a separate DNA test is required for each file opened"

Procedure completed, remains delivered in a bag

Lawyer Kılınç said that the remains should be handed over to the family in a coffin according to the Hifzi Sanitary Law and added: “A death certificate was given by ATK, but a transfer certificate was not issued. In such cases, it is the duty of the municipality to provide the funeral transport vehicle. Under normal conditions, the bones are taken to the morgue, left to the officer and the family is transferred to the prosecutor's office. The family also receives the death and transfer certificate from the prosecutor's office and requests a transport vehicle from the municipality, so that the body is buried by the family within 24 hours. However, these procedures were not carried out. By the order of the prosecutor, the bones were handed over to the family in a bag."

Underlining that this is a practice against the conscience of humanity, Kılınç announced that they will file a criminal complaint against the prosecutor and the responsible judicial authorities.