25. Berjin Demirkaya

Berjin Demirkaya was born in 1977 in the village of Geçit in the Tekman district of Erzurum, Turkey.
Berjin was a founding member of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) in Tekman at the age of 28. Berjin overcame the feudal prejudices in Erzurum and convinced the society with her work. Berjin was sensitized to the situation of women and even more empathetic towards them. She concentrated on women’s studies and took an active role in the Congress of Free Women KJA. After working in Muş, Mersin and Diyarbakır, she came to Cizre. Her sister Mehtap reports that Berjin loved demanding times and says: “Berjin was very challenged in Cizre, but she never complained about it, she especially loved Cizre and Botan. We talked to each other during the time when the attacks were intense. The bombs were dropped, but Berjin never lost her spirit of resistance and had said that she would never leave Cizre under any circumstances.”

In the basements of Cizre, Southeastern Turkey


In January 2015, as curfews and operations continued, 31 civilians, including injured and children who had fled the conflict, sought shelter in the basement of an apartment building in the Cudi district of Cizre County in the province of Şırnak. Berjin Demirkaya, a member of the Congress of Free Women (KJA), which was banned under the state of emergency, was among those who sought refuge in the basement.
Among the corpses that were taken from the streets and houses after the days when the ambulance had to wait at a distance – in a burnt state – one was identified as belonging to Berjin. The Antep State Hospital requested that the corpses be autopsied before they were handed over to the relatives. The public prosecutor’s office rejected this request, however.

Current legal status
The Swiss Institute of Forensic Medicine (CHUV), after examining one of the remaining three parts of Berjin Demirkaya, who had remained in the basements of Cizre, found that the piece of metal discovered in the body part was most likely part of a cartridge, as it was made of the alloy used in cartridges. In the report of the institute, it was considered that the metal piece, which is called a bullet, the water loss in the body and the way people were burned here indicate that some of them were first killed and then burned.

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