Turckish Atrocities Suspected in Nusaybin’s Xeraba Bava Village

Turckish Atrocities Suspected in Nusaybin’s Xeraba Bava Village


February 2017: The Turkish Military has laid siege to another Kurdish village, this time Xerabê Bava (Koruköy) in Mardin’s Nusaybin district, near the border with Syria; in place now since the 11th February and still ongoing as of the 26th of the month.

All access to Xerabê Bava has been blocked. No one is let in or out of the village and residents are reported to be trapped inside with dwindling food supplies and allegedly subjected to sustained abuse by security forces. Soldiers are stationed on the outskirts of the village to prevent people from entering the area.

HDP deputies and human rights defenders have thus been camped at the entrance to the town as well as Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD) which has reported violations in the village.

Medialine, the American news agency, reported that Gülseren Yoleri, a lawyer with the Turkish Human Rights Association, “was barred from entering Koruköy with a delegation, but talked to several local residents who made similar claims of abuse.
‘We are of the opinion after combining our information that there’s a high possibility of torture, killings, and houses being burned down…One witness told us they put some people in a yard and tortured them. Some women saw this torture and had a heart attack or fainted…More than one witness told us [soldiers] set some houses on fire.”

Despite the lack of access to the village, pictures have been appearing via social media of houses on fire, a charred body lying on the street, a  soldier sitting in front of a dead body making the sign of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves (which has ties to the MHP Party). AKP member and current Turkish prime Minister Binali Yildirim recently made the same sign in parliament.
Osman Baydemir, HDP deputy speaking in parliament on Thursday, February 23, raised a picture of 57 year old Abdi Aykut who had been arrested and tortured. (Abdi Aykut has since been taken to the plastic surgery department of Mardin State Hospital.)
Osman Baydemir:
“What kind of intelligence, what reason can legitimise torture which is accepted as a flagrant crime against humanity? The implementers of this action are vile people… No regime can legitimise what is happening in Gaza either. Today, what is happening in Gaza is happening in Nusaybin.”

However Kurdistan24 News published Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Friday, 24 February,  defending the torture by soldiers, who said:  “The man you call elderly was hosting terrorists that our security forces neutralized…”

Kom News Foundation podcast, drawing on information from women who managed to leave the village and are now in hospital in Mardin, stated that after the entry of the soldiers into the village most of the young men were rounded up, 50 people were arrested and taken away, houses were taken over by the military and stories of sexual abuse and torture began to emerge. There are also reports that the men were stripped and forced to walk naked in the snow.

Turkish media during the last weeks has reported thousands of soldiers involved in a major operation against “PKK terrorists in the region”, admitting “4 deaths of PKK fighters, 2 of which were high ranking commanders…” The central government-appointed Governor’s Office in Mardin on Friday 24th February also declared the killing of two “high-ranking” PKK fighters, claiming one of them was a close aid to the group’s co-founder and commander-in-chief Murat Karayilan.
Al-Monitor also reported that the governorate of Mardin province, under whose jurisdiction Xerabê Bava / Koruköy falls, dismissed the allegations of ill-treatment. “Contrary to media reports, the operations against the PKK were carried out “in keeping with the rules of the state of law and the protection of civilian lives and property is a priority”, the governor’s office said in a statement.
Feleknas Uca, (one of the HDP MPs who attempted to enter the village): “’What is the state seeking to conceal in Koruköy?’ Uca told the independent ArtiGercek news portal that 65 families live in the village and that there were unconfirmed reports that at least 40 villagers had been detained so far. She also brought up claims that two teenage girls were being held hostage by the security forces. Graphic images said to be shot in Koruköy of the bloodied corpses of men, presumably PKK militants, circulated via social media accounts that were swiftly suspended.”
Resident of the village have called relatives in other parts of the country describing their ordeal. Sare Turk, who is from the village but lives in the western Turkish city of Izmir, said, “my cousin called me and said security forces had cut off the power to the village and had forced everyone to walk in the snow naked. They don’t even have access to food and water.” Four people have been confirmed killed since 11 February.
Xerabê Bava, which has a history of attack by the Turkish State, suffered extensive damage at the hands of the military in both 1994 and 1995.
Saturday 25th February, ANF News reported: HDP Group Deputy Chair Ahmet Yildirim, having met with villagers released from custody, has made the following statement:
“We are facing an unlawful siege under the name of curfew in the village of Xerabê Bava. Nobody should claim this to be fight against the PKK as the areas placed under curfew are civilian settlements where dozens of houses are located. It is not a PKK camp but a village, to which delegations of human rights organisations and lawyers are denied access.
The statements made by the AKP Group Deputy Chair, Mardin Governorate and Interior Minister refute one another. We know very well from the 90’s what sort of cruelty is perpetrated on the people for allegedly aiding and abetting the PKK.
The Interior Minister who responded to the reports of torture documented on a photograph has admitted the torture and crime against humanity in Xerabê Bava under the name of fight against the PKK. He also admitted that the person seen tortured on the photograph was a villager. We call upon all human rights organisations to report the Interior Minister to the International Court of Justice. The Minister has admitted and claimed responsibility for this torture which constitutes a crime against humanity.
If they want to realize the dream of a presidential system by placing the entire society under pressure, their atrocity will only enhance the rage of this society, their demand for a lasting and honorable peace, and their passion for democracy and freedom. They understood one thing though; that they will not be able to get the people’s votes with their consent.”
“We are witnessing a new Cizre in Nusaybin,” Ahmet Yildirim said in a press conference on Monday, 20th February referring to the 79 day military siege of the Kurdish town that began on December 14, 2015 where hundreds of civilians were brutally murdered.
séamas carraher

Sources & References (thanks to)

From KOM News:  Osman Baydemir speaking in parliament.

Turkey Minister defends torture of elderly Kurdish man

History (brief) (Source: Yitik Köyler (Lost Villages) – Zülküf Kışanak)
Tyranny and resistance not new in Xerabê Bava

The Cizre Report (HDP)
Birinci Bodrum The First Basement
By the Banks of the Tigris River

PODCAST: (recorded on Wednesday 22 February)

Tags assigned to this article:
KurdistanToptortureTurkeyTurkish ArmyXerabe Bava

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