Born 1986 Van/Turkey
Çukurca, Hakkari Province, Southeastern Turkey
8-15 September 2009
In September 2009, on a day between 8 and 15 September, Turkish soldiers discharged chemical warfare agents into a cave near the town of Çukurca, Hakkari Province. This killed the PKK combatants Rızgar Askan, Aziz Özer, Ramazan Yıldız, Kahraman Şêx Ali, Yahya Musazade, Salih Güleç, Aliye Timur and Hanife Ali.
Current legal situation
A delegation from the Federal Republic of Germany was in Turkey in 2010. It consisted of staff of members of parliament and human rights activists. A series of photographs taken shortly after the autopsy of the bodies of the eight victims was handed over to the delegation. The expert in forgery of pictures, Hans Baumann, carried out an expert assessment. He found no evidence of manipulation of the photographs. Lighting conditions, details of the corpses and camera data were consistent and practically impossible to falsify in this form. 10 eyewitnesses told the delegation that they saw soldiers bringing gaseous substances into the cave and a short time later brought the eight victims out motionless. Some of the already lifeless bodies were then additionally run over by armoured vehicles and/or shot at.
The photographs were submitted to a forensic doctor in Germany. In an interpretation of the pictures, he repeatedly mentioned the possible “exposure to chemicals” or the possible “impact of a chemical substance” and injuries such as those caused by heavy vehicles due to over severed limbs are detected. This confirms the eyewitness reports.
It is not possible to make any further findings at this stage because the Turkish authorities have not yet completed the post-mortem reports and keep files on the case confidential. Also public demands from the parliamentary area in the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Parliament for an international investigation were rejected. There are factual and serious grounds for suspecting that a war crime has been committed in accordance with § 12 para. 1 no. 2 VStGB exists.
In military operations, the use of prohibited – chemical – means of warfare is a war crime.
Turkey is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This means that every use of highly toxic gas or tear gas for wartfare use is prohibited.