DIYARBAKIR (Radikal)–The recent discovery of human bones in the Mutki district of Bitlis province has brought renewed attention to mass graves in eastern Turkey, where unsolved murders of Kurds have created a “mystical” culture around the deaths.
Local residents tell supernatural stories about ghosts and the bodies of relatives who went missing in the region years ago and have never been found. Some are believed to have been killed after being detained by security forces, while other unidentified mass graves are thought to hold the remains of murdered members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Human Rights Association (IHD) has been collecting information about places where mass graves might be located. One such tip came from Ahmet Muslum Sadioglu, the voluntary imam of the Baskale district of Van province. His father, mother, brother, uncle, aunt and cousin went missing while herding their livestock in 1994. Sadioglu, who was doing his military service at the time, was later informed by soldiers that the family had been killed by members of the PKK on Ciringiz Mountain.
“[Your family members] did not become village guards. Look what happened to them,” Sadioglu said the soldier told him. When he asked for the bodies of his relatives, he was detained and kept in custody for three days.
Background on the story can be read here.