Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has deplored a tweeted image of a corpse tied to the back of a security vehicle being dragged along a street in southeast Turkey where security forces are battling militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“It is not possible for us to approve images of a terrorist organization member who was neutralized while attacking police with rocket launcher in Şırnak,” Davutoğlu said early Oct. 5. “Required legal and administrative instructions have been given about this incident,” he said in a message posted on his official Facebook account.
As of Oct. 4, the Interior Ministry announced that it has launched an investigation into possible human rights abuse after the image was posted earlier that day. The photograph was posted on Twitter and shared by Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The corpse belonged to HDP Şırnak deputy Leyla Birlik’s brother-in-law, Hacı Lokman Birlik, who is said to have been killed during clashes between police and members of the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), the youth wing of the PKK, happening in downtown Şırnak since Oct. 1.
“These extremely wrong behaviors cannot be accepted, first of all, by our security organization who fights against terror within rules of the state, governed by the rule of law by risking their lives and who show utmost care for not having even once harmed a civilian while doing this and who has been on duty day and night for the security of the region’s people,” Davutoğlu said.
While sharing the photograph on his account, Demirtaş said: “Look at this photograph carefully. It was taken in Şırnak the previous day. Let nobody forget, because we will not forget.”
The Interior Ministry statement said claims of abuse would be investigated fully. It also said Turkey was determined to press ahead with its fight against PKK militants “within the principles of a state ruled by laws.”
Violence between Turkish security forces and PKK militants reignited this summer, shattering a fragile peace process following a two-and-a-half-year de facto non-conflict period.