Seven members of Kurdish family killed in central Turkey

Seven members of the Dedeoğlu family were killed in an attack on their home in Turkey’s central Konya province, Mezopotamya Agency reported on Friday.

The unknown assailants set the Kurdish family’s home on fire after their shooting spree, it said. Firefighters have already put out the fire.

Unknown assailants killed three female and four male members of the family, who had been targeted in racist attacks before, according to the agency.

The first attack came in May, when a large group of 60 people attacked the Dedeoğlu home, beating them with sticks, brandishing knives and throwing stones at their windows. The family had reported death threats coming from the group, who they said identified themselves as members of the grassroots organisation of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, the Ülkü Ocakları.

One family member had suffered a brain haemorrhage in the attack, Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper reported.

Police have surrounded the house and are not letting anybody near it, journalist Hazar Dost said in a tweet, citing local authorities.

Co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are on their way to the village, the party announced.

“Racist attacks that have been forcibly flared up recently are starting to claim lives, and constitute a threat to every person who is different, starting with the Kurds,” HDP Spokeswoman Ebru Günay said. “These racist attacks are being encouraged. This perilous game must end.”

“Impunity has encouraged the racist attack,” the family’s lawyer Abdurrahman Karabulut told Yeni Özgür Politika.

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s Konya deputy Selman Özboyacı called the incident “a dispute between two families” in a tweet and said it had nothing to do with racism.

Ten people were detained and six of them were arrested at the time in relation to the case, but all were released due to lack of evidence. The court issued protection orders for all suspects, Mezopotamya reported in early July.

Following the release of two suspects on July 12, Barış Dedeoğlu said the family had been experiencing harrassment in the form of people in cars coming to the house in the Bahçeşehir village and hurling death threats and insults at them every day.

Barış Dedeoğlu, who is among the family members who lost their lives, had also told news website Duvar that their neighbours, the Keleş and Çalık families, had led the original attack, but were accompanied by “many strangers”. The family had lived in the same village for 24 years, and received varying levels of racist harassment for 15 of them, Duvar said.

On July 21, another Kurdish family was attacked in Konya’s Çarıklıköy village, where 43 year old Kurdish man Hakim Dal was killed in a racist attack against his family.

The Dal family at the time reported people coming to threaten them to sell their property and leave. One member of the family described the attack as, a large group of people “using a fight among shepherds as an excuse to arbitrarily attack us because we are Kurdish”, according to Mezopotamya.

The pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak said last week that the incident had been sparked when Dal entered the private fields of another villager for his animals to graze on. The conservative daily said the attack had been “provoked”, and accused bar associations in 15 provinces of terrorism for having issued statements against the attack.

“HDP couldn’t get the result it desired in Izmir and Marmaris,” Yeni Şafak’s Şahin Şen said, referencing two serious attacks on HDP offices in Turkey’s western coast.

“The efforts from the HDP, the NGOs that support it, and the bar associations to make the matter seem like a racist attack failed again,” Şen added.

HDP volunteer Deniz Poyraz was killed in Izmir when a gunman entered the party's provincial offices and opened fire, wishing to kill HDP executives who would have been in the building if a meeting had not been rescheduled.

A 28 year old man was detained on July 14 for shooting up the HDP offices in the tourist favourite Marmaris district of the southwestern Muğla province. The man opened fire in the building with a shotgun, causing extensive damage but not causing casualties as the building was empty at the time.

On Friday morning, local HDP officials discovered a second attack on the Marmaris offices.

Police detained a young man at 2 a.m. on Thursday night, Mezopotamya reported.

District co-chair Güven Göknar told Mezopotamya that there were people who wished to create an illusion that HDP was responsible for forest fires in Marmaris.

A forest fire that broke out on Thursday continued to rage on Friday in the district, according to NTV. A volunteer firefighter has lost his life during efforts to control the fire, which is dangerously close to residential areas.

The Marmaris fire has coincided with several others along the Turkish Riviera, leading to speculations of possible sabotage. 

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