Head of Diyarbakir bar association dies in PKK terror attack

Head of Diyarbakir bar association, Tahir Elci, dies along with police officer in PKK terror attack in Turkey’s Diyarbakir Province

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

A file photo dated October 20, 2015 shows Diyarbakir Bar Association President Tahir Elci as he speaks to media in Istanbul, Turkey.

Security forces have reported that the head of Diyarbakir bar association, Tahir Elci, and a policeman have died during clashes between PKK terrorists and police officers in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir on Saturday.

The clashes occurred in the Sur District of Diyarbakir after PKK terrorists opened fire on policemen who were escorting a group of lawyers including Elci who had gathered to give a press statement.

According to media reports, the lawyers were to give a statement opposing terror attacks by the PKK, saying they do great harm to the historical heritage of the Sur region.

Elci said to reporters during the press statement on Saturday that, "We do not want any clashes and weapons in this ancient region which hosted several civilizations," before the attack took place.

Earlier he had written on his twitter account that, "All bar associations in Turkey: Let security operations be less harsh, illegal armed groups leave the district and trenches be filled in."

Three other policemen were also injured during the clashes, along with a number of journalists.

Following the attack, Diyarbakir Governorate announced a curfew in the district to protect civilians as anti terror operations seized PKK terrorists and disarmed explosives they located in the streets.

Turkish media has also reported that an official delegation, which was conducting a crime scene investigation at the site of the incident, came under fire from unidentified assailants. Two policemen have reportedly been wounded as a result of the attack. 

Turkey’s Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag gave an official statement over the incident saying that a wide scale investigation was launched into the attack.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala said that all necessary security measures were taken in the region and added that the attack targeted the unity of Turkey.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Tahir Elci's wife and offered his condolences saying that, "Elci might be caught up by a cross fire situation," according to media accounts. 

The PKK, which is listed as a terror organisation by Turkey, the US and EU, have dug up trenches and set road-barricades in streets in many provinces, causing disruption.

The PKK has killed over 150 security officials and over 30 civilians since the PKK’s umbrella organisation, the KCK, unilaterally ended a two-year-long ceasefire with the government on July 11.

TRTWorld and agencies