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Outrage as Turkish soldiers drag dead Kurd through streets

HDP leader Demirtas has called on the Turkish interior minister to resign [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 October, 2015

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Turkish activists are expressing outrage after a video and images surfaced on the Internet allegedly showing Turkish soldiers dragging a dead Kurdish man through the streets by his neck.
The apparent dragging of the corpse of an alleged Kurdish militant through the streets of a Turkish city by security forces has outraged activists, with the main Kurdish party leader calling on the interior minister to resign.

Haci Lokman Birlik, brother-in-law of a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party [HDP], was killed during clashes between Turkish security forces and the youth wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] overnight on Friday in the south-eastern Sirnak province.

    

If the interior minister had any dignity, any honour, he would resign

- Selahattin Demirtas

Images on social media appeared to show the body of the 24-year-old actor being dragged by the neck behind an armoured vehicle through the streets of Sirnak.

HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas called on the interior minister Selami Altinok to resign, calling the act "inhumane and barbaric."

"If the interior minister had any dignity, any honour, he would resign," Turkish media quoted Demirtas as telling reporters in Istanbul on Wednesday.

"At least if he resigned, it would mean that he had taken a stand against such barbarity. But they have no honour," he said.

Video footage also emerged on Sunday purporting to show the body of Birlik being pulled while one police officer is heard swearing at the victim and the other congratulating his colleague for killing the man.

Pro-government media, which initially questioned the authenticity of the images, claimed that the body was being "checked for bombs."

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he disapproved of the images despite the fact that the victim was a "terrorist who attacked the police with rocket launchers."

"It's unacceptable to treat any corpse this way, even if it is a dead terrorist," Davutoglu said, promising an investigation.

"Our interior ministry will conduct a comprehensive investigation, not into the incident itself, but into the way in which this incident was reflected to the world," Davutoglu told The Guardian.

The Turkish government has been waging a relentless offensive aimed at crippling the PKK, which has staged a string of attacks in Turkey since a two-year-old ceasefire fell apart in late July.

More than 140 soldiers and police have been killed in PKK bombings and shootings since the return to open conflict, compared with around 1,700 militants, almost all from the PKK, state-run Anadolu News Agency said Tuesday.

The HDP says dozens of civilians have been killed in police and military operations - charges denied by the government.

The escalation comes ahead of snap parliament elections on November 1.

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