Six-year-old dies after being hit by Turkish police armored vehicle

A six-year-old from Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province lost his life after being hit by an armored vehicle belonging to the Turkish police on September 11, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reported on Friday.

The incident reportedly took place on the Emek street of Diyarbakir’s Baglar district, where Efe Tektekin was hit by an armored vehicle and was critically injured.

Following the incident, Tektekin was sent to the Dicle University Medical Faculty Hospital, where he lost his life late on Thursday despite doctors best efforts.

Body of the six-year-old was brought to Selahattin Eyyubi State Hospital for autopsy procedures.

Soon afterward, the boy’s funeral was held at the Yenikoy Cemetery in Diyarbakir.

“The police vehicle killed my child in public. My son was only six years old. He was not a fly. What does that armored vehicle have to do there? How didn’t that huge police vehicle see him?” MA quoted Ahmet Tektekin, the boy’s father, as saying while waiting in front of the hospital.

“Only one year ago, my father was killed by a water cannon vehicle that ran a red light,” the father added.

Mehmet Tektekin, the 85-year-old grandfather of Efe Tektekin, was also killed when he was struck by a water cannon vehicle used by Turkish police in Diyarbakir on June 6, 2018.

Police officer Ugur K., who was convicted of killing Mehmet Tektekin, received a sentence of two years, nine months and 10 days in prison.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakir MP Semra Guzel on Thursday submitted a parliamentary question about the deaths caused by armored vehicles to be answered by Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

Guzel asked: “Did your ministry launched an investigation into the incident, if not, when will the ministry do it?”

“Is there a detention order issued for the officer who was driving the armored vehicle that killed Efe Tektekin? Is that officer still employed?” the lawmaker also questioned.

The heavy military presence in Turkey’s southeast, as a result of clashes between the Turkish army and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), makes the deaths of civilians by armored military vehicles a common occurrence.

The PKK, which is an armed group regarded as a terrorist organization by Ankara, has been fighting for self-rule in the predominantly Kurdish region southeast of Turkey since the 1980s.

According to the data of the Diyarbakır Bar Children’s Rights Commission, 16 children have lost their lives as a result of being struck by armored vehicles belonging to the Turkish police or soldiers in the province within the past 10 years.

A recent statement by the Human Rights Association (IHD), a non-governmental organization for advancing human rights in Turkey, emphasized that what paves the way for the deaths caused by armored vehicles to continue is “not punishing those members of the police force who do the killings.”

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