Guerrilla corpses kidnapped from Garzan buried under sidewalk

At the end of 2017, the Turkish government ordered the devastation of the Garzan Cemetery of Martyrs and deported the remains of hundreds of guerrilla fighters to Istanbul. It came out that they were buried in plastic boxes under a pavement there.

In December 2017, the Turkish state ordered the destruction of the Garzan Cemetery of Martyrs in the province of Bitlis in North Kurdistan. The cemetery is located near the village of Oleka Jor (Upper Ölek), where hundreds of members of the Kurdish guerrilla organisations HPG and YJA-Star and the YPG and YPJ were buried. Their bodies were exhumed after the destruction of the cemetery on the order of the Istanbul public prosecutor's office and taken to the local forensic department. They were then buried in the Jewish cemetery of Kilyos not far from the seaside resort of the same name at the European entrance to the Bosporus. The remains of Kurdish fighters were buried in a section for “the nameless”.

Until now, it was assumed that the bodies of 267 fallen fighters buried in Garzan were exhumed by Turkish security forces and taken to Istanbul. According to research by the Mezopotamya news agency (MA), the bodies turned out to be the remains of 282 people. Only 21 bodies were subsequently handed over to relatives. The bodies of 261 dead are still buried in Kilyos. However, not in regular graves, but packed in plastic boxes and stacked on top of each other under a pavement.

Respect for the rest of the dead is one of the fundamental values of humanity. The dignity of the human being has an effect beyond death. For the AKP/MHP government, which never tires of fighting even the dead of the Kurds, this seems to be a foreign word. Recent footage published by MA shows the full extent of the horrible treatment of the bodies of the fighters buried in Kilyos. In some of the boxes the bones of several dead people were stowed away.

On Thursday, a vigil was held by the Istanbul Provincial Association of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) at the Kilyos cemetery, with the participation of members of Anyakay, a solidarity association for families from Anatolia who have lost relatives. Erdal Avcı, the co-chairman of the HDP in Istanbul, said in a short speech: "Graves and places of worship are the oldest testimonies of human civilisation. The disturbance of the rest of the dead and a degrading treatment of corpses is a crime unworthy of humanity. The treatment of the dead from Garzan, who were buried under a pavement here in Kilyos, is disrespectful and abhorrent and reflects the mentality of the enemy. We demand that the attacks on our dead and their resting places finally come to an end."