Turkish police kills Kurdish boy in armoured vehicle incident

An armoured police vehicle hit seven-year-old Mihraç Miroğlu in Turkey’s southeastern Şırnak province on Friday. The boy lost his life in the hospital in the evening the same day.

The funeral was held later in the night, with locals and officials from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in attendance, Mezopotamya Agency reported.

“Deaths involving security forces and the vehicles they drive in Kurdish provinces are no accident, but a massacre,” the HDP said in a tweet. “How many children, women, old people have died? Enough!”

Miroğlu was among at least 40 civilians, 20 of them children, killed by armoured vehicle collisions in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern regions in the last 13 years, Mezopotamya said. In 92 incidents since 2008, 52 people were injured as well.

Most of the drivers, members of either the police or armed forces, have not been convicted over the deaths, the agency said. According to Mezopotamya, several cases were dismissed upon intervention by politicians, and others concluded in fines when families pursued them further.

HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu submitted an inquiry to be answered by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, asking how many members of security forces continued on duty after causing death via armoured vehicle, Mezopotamya reported.

Gergerlioğlu also asked whether the ministry launched an investigation on the matter, whether the officer was still on duty, and why armoured vehicles were using routes near children’s parks.

“The main reason is the government’s policies for Kurdish cities and the security practices,” HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar said in a visit to the family on Saturday, according to Mezopotamya.

“Impunity policies of the government took another child from us, a seven year old playing on the street,” HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said in a tweet. “These deaths occurring in city centres, in residential areas are never accidents but murders. Those responsible must face trial.”

The seven-year-old was riding his bicycle when the armoured vehicle hit him. Witnesses said the vehicle was speeding at the time.

Residents of the İdil district told Mezopotamya that the armoured vehicle had come from a police station that was installed by removing a medical centre that served the Turgut Özal neighbourhood.

The police station was installed after the İdil district and many others were put under months-long uninterrupted curfews in 2016, following the resurgence of the conflict between Turkey and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). There is an elementary school in the same block as the station.

The police continue patrols in the armoured vehicles until 05:00 a.m., according to residents speaking to Mezopotamya.