Witness says senior lawyer killed by ‘shot from trenches’

Eyewitness says bullet that killed head of Diyarbakir bar association Tahir Elci was ‘fired from trenches in the street’ from behind him

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Head of Diyarbakir bar association Tahir Elci making a press statement agaist destruction of historical buildings in the city minutes before he was shot and killed in Diyarbakir on November 28, 2015

Updated Nov 29, 2015

Head of Diyarbakir bar association Tahir Elci was killed on Saturday with shot fired from trenches behind him, according to an eyewitness account.

An eyewitness speaking to Al Jazeera Turk said that “There were shots being fired from the trenches in the street behind the four legged minaret. I saw Tahir Elci being shot in the back of his head.”

“I saw him reaching for his gun while falling to the ground. He took his gun but could not use it,” the witness said.

Security forces have reported that Elci and two policemen have died during clashes between PKK terrorists and police officers in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir.

A preliminary autopsy report also suggests that head of Diyarbakir bar association Tahir Elci was killed by being shot from behind in the head, causing instant brain damage.

Deputy head of Diyarbakir bar association Cihan Ipek, who was present during the autopsy said “Elci was killed by being shot in the back with a bullet that was fired at him from a long distance.”

The witness said two people were coming from the other end of the street firing shots before Elci was shot dead with gunfire that was shot from behind him. 

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 going 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 civilisations," before the attack took place.

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 found in the streets.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack and said “This incident shows that Turkey is right to fight terrorism. We will proceed to fight against terrorism with determination.”

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

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Tahir Elci's wife and offered his condolences.

Davutoglu said there are two possibilities for Elci’s death. It is either an “assassination attempt against Tahir Elci” or he might have just been caught in crossfire.  

“This incident will definitely be clarified. We do not let crimes go unsolved,” Davutoglu added.


TRTWorld and agencies