ISTANBUL—A Turkish Shepherd who was shot dead after crossing the Turkish-Armenian border earlier this month reportedly shot at the Russian border guards stationed at the border, reported the Turkish Taraf newspaper.
Sources told the newspaper that the shepherd allegedly made two attempts to attach the border guards.
According to Taraf, Turkish authorities completed an investigation into the death of the shepherd, Mustafa Ulker, concluding that the problem started when Turkish authorities warned the Armenian side of possible infringement of the border by herds of cattle being shepherded very close to the Armenian border.
The Armenian border guards then warned Turkish authorities to ensure that no one crosses the border. Reportedly, shepherds, including Ulker, did not heed the calls by Turkey’s border guards and continued to cross the border with Armenia, prompting Armenian border guards to confiscate the cattle.
The cattle was returned to Turkey after negotiations with Armenian authorities.
Evidently, according the investigation, some of the cattle belonging to Ulker sustained injuries during the exchange, prompting Ulker to dress up as a soldier and cross the border and shoot at the Armenian border guards. He escaped without injury but re-entered the Armenia a second time on July 31, at which time he was shot and killed by the border patrol.
Following the incident on July 31, Turkey sent a diplomatic note to Armenia strongly condemning the fatal shooting. The Turkish Foreign Ministry insisted at the time that Ulker entered Armenian territory to recover his livestock that went astray.
A Russian news report at the time claimed, however, that Ulker carried a weapon and opened fire at Russian border guards patrolling the frontier before being shot and killed by them on Wednesday. Citing “preliminary data” from Russia security sources, the Itar-Tass news agency said that the 35-year-old man tried to “advance deeper into the republic’s territory.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry referred to Ulker as an “innocent Turkish citizen” who “crossed the Armenian border to round up his livestock.” “We strongly condemn the shooting and killing of an innocent Turkish citizen for a simple border violation which we understand to have had an innocent purpose. There is no explanation for the Armenian party’s use of disproportionate force in such an incident which may typically occur at the border,” the ministry said in a statement.
“This and other similar incidents reveal once again the need for a complete, sustainable and comprehensive normalization in the South Caucasus region and the prevalence of common sense in Armenia’s relations with its neighbors,” added the statement.