ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—Turkey’s ruling and main opposition parties traded accusations on Friday, blaming one another for recently discovered mass graves in Eastern Turkey containing the remains of Kurds who mysteriously vanished between 1993 and 2003.
Turkey’s ruling and main opposition parties on Friday bitterly accused one another of being responsible for a series of unsolved murders and disappearances more than a decade ago following the discovery of multiple mass graves throughout Kurdish populated regions in Eastern Turkey.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) slammed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for rejecting parliamentary resolutions to investigate unsolved political murders from past decades. The CHP’s deputy responsible for human-rights issues, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, also criticized the AKP’s silence about the mass graves foundt near a gendarmerie station in the eastern province of Bitlis’ Mutki district.
The head of the AKP’s parliamentary group, Bekir Bozdağ, answered Tanrıkulu’s accusations and said, “the sensational assassinations and unsolved murders took place when the CHP and parties that are other versions of the CHP were in power.”
The AKP figure also said Parliament could not do anything about the mass graves because general elections were approaching in June. According to Bozdağ, even if a parliamentary commission were to be established on the issue, it would not be of practical use since the elections will dominate all the time of the deputies.
The bitter recriminations come two days after thousands of Kurds marched in eastern Turkey to protest the government’s silence on the mass graves uncovered in the area last month.
The demonstration, organized by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the Mesopotamia Association for Assistance to Families with Lost Relatives (MEYA-DER), gathered in Bitlis and then moved on to Mutki, where 12 skeletons were uncovered on January 5, and eight more found January 20, all near a dump site used by the local gendarmerie station.
Researches believe the location is just one of many mass grave-sites where Kurds were murdered and buried in the late 90s by a clandestine intelligence unit of Turkey’s Gendarmerie forces known as JİTEM.