Seven members of a Kurdish family were killed by armed assailants in Turkey in an “entirely racist” attack, the family’s lawyer said.
According to Middle East Eye, the family of Baris Dedeoglu had long been living in fear after threats from Turkish locals, who allegedly told them that they were Turkish nationalists who “would not let Kurds live here”.
The hate crime occurred in the central Turkish city of Konya on Friday. The family’s murder is the second attack on Kurds this month in Konya.
The family’s lawyer Abdurrahman Karabulut told Arti TV that the members of the family had previously been seriously injured in an attack in May, but the suspected perpetrators were released from custody. Despite being left with severe injuries, including a brain hemorrhage and broken limbs, the family said the police effectively tried to pin the blame on them.
According to the lawyer, the “judiciary and the authorities” were responsible for allowing the perpetrators of the previous attack to go free.
“This was an entirely racist attack,” he adds.
Dedeoglu, who was killed in Friday’s attack, said at the time of the previous assault that the armed assailants told them to “call the police to come and help you”. But when the cops arrived, they instead questioned the family, asking: “what have you done to the men?”, according to the Duvar news site. “However, we were all injured and it was us who were attacked at home. Many members of the family who organised the attack on us were released later on,” Dedeoglu said.
Mahmut Togrul, an MP for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) condemned the attack, saying that the recent incident was an outcome of the anti-Kurdish policies and rhetoric of the government and its allies.
“The same family was attacked and those who carried out the attack were released. The murderers returned and have now massacred the entire family…The regime’s discriminatory, hateful language and anti-Kurdish attitude are the main causes of the murders,” he said in a statement.
According to Middle East Eye, until recently the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been seen as moderately in favour of Kurdish rights and enjoyed support among conservative Kurds in Turkey’s southeast. But after fighting broke out with armed groups in the Kurdish regions in 2015 it adopted a more overtly Turkish nationalist stance.
Since 2018, AKP has been in an official alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who are fiercely opposed to Kurdish rights.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, an AKP member but seen as close to the MHP, said in a statement that attributing the killing of the Dedeoglu family to anti-Kurdish racism was a “provocation” and said a years-long feud between different families was the cause of the violence. “This attack is not connected to the Turkish-Kurdish issue. Making a link to this is as dangerous as the attack,” he said on television, according to AFP news agecy.