Tears, grief as Turkey bids farewell to slain sons

Funeral ceremonies were held on Thursday and Friday in the hometowns of the soldiers who were martyred in simultaneous Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacks in Hakkari on Wednesday.

A large group of people gathered in front of the house of Pvt. Mesut Kazanç (a Hakkari martyr) on Friday.

A large group of people gathered in front of the house of Pvt. Mesut Kazanç (a Hakkari martyr) on Friday.

There was grief, anger and tears at all the funeral ceremonies held across various provinces across Turkey. Third Lt. Bilal Özcan and Pvt. Eyüp Çolakoğlu, two of the victims of Wednesday’s attacks, were laid to rest at the Edirnekapı Martyrs’ Cemetery in İstanbul following funeral prayers at the Ataköy mosque.

A large crowd of people attended the martyrs’ funeral.

Sgt. Koray Özel was laid to rest in his hometown of Adana after funeral prayers held in the Adana Sabacı Central Mosque. Özel’s mother Elif tried to keep her calm at the funeral saying, “I will not cry, I thought I had only one son but I have seen that I have thousands of other sons,” she said.

Adana deputy Police Chief Mustafa Tunga warned a group of students who were chanting political slogans at the funeral to be on alert for provocations.

Master Sgt. İbrahim Geçer, another victim of Wednesday’s attack, was laid to rest in the Yazla district of Konya. Special Sgt. Halil Özdoğru was buried in his hometown of Sinop following funeral prayers. Pvt. Mesut Kazanç was laid to rest in his hometown of Erzurum on Friday.

Pvt. Ramazan Akın’s funeral was held in eastern province of Ağrı on Thursday. Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım was among the participants of Akın’s funeral. Pvt. Ahmet Tuncel was laid to rest in his hometown of Bitlis following funeral ceremonies on Thursday.

Wednesday’s attack was the deadliest PKK attack in 18 years and the fourth deadliest since the PKK started its campaign of separatist violence nearly three decades ago. The attacks came only a day after five policemen and four civilians, including a 2-year-old and a 10-year-old, were killed by a roadside bomb planted by the PKK in nearby Bitlis province.

Wednesday’s attacks also came only days after Turkish President Abdullah Gül visited troops in the region to boost morale in an area that has seen increased violence in recent months. On Thursday Parliament will hold an emergency session to discuss new measures against the PKK, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced after Wednesday’s terrorism summit.

PKK terrorist activities have been a central concern for Turkish governments since the organization took up arms in 1984 and waged a bloody war for autonomy, which has cost more than 40,000 lives in almost three decades. Despite fitful cease-fires, the terrorist organization organizes attacks from its bases in northern Iraq and as of July stepped up its attacks, which have claimed the lives of dozens of security personnel as well many civilians.



21 October 2011, Friday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL