ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkey's Interior Minister on Friday defended the torture by Turkish troops of an elderly man in a village under military curfew in the Kurdish province of Mardin, alleging he was aiding "terror."
"The man you call elderly was hosting terrorists that our security forces neutralized," said Minister Suleyman Soylu in response to two opposition lawmakers who demanded answers regarding a picture of the villager identified as Abdi Aykut (57).
The Turkish army has blockaded Aykut's village Korukoy (Xerabê Bava in Kurdish) of about 500 people since February 11 when Mardin's Ankara-appointed Governor's office announced an indefinite curfew there and in nine other villages, citing presence of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters.
Soylu repudiated neither the authenticity of the picture nor the allegation of torture itself.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP and the party's new spokesperson Osman Baydemir took the issue to the Parliament, carrying a picture of the visibly tortured man, reported Kurdistan24's Bureau in the Turkish capital.
"What kind of intelligence information, what reason can justify torture that the family of humanity has deemed a crime," Baydemir asked the Parliament, calling military officers responsible "despicable."
Soylu, speaking in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, accused the tortured man of having collaborated in recent, deadly PKK attacks across Turkey, according to the government-funded Anadolu Agency.
Deputy leader of the secularist opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Sezgin Tanrikulu also protested the treatment Kurdish villagers have received at the hands of Turkish Army.
"Are you going to investigate the case of Abdi Aykut who we are told faced torture after his arrest," Tanrikulu asked Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Twitter.
Upon that, the Interior Minister accused Tanrikulu, a Kurd, of disseminating "terrorist" propaganda and called on the CHP's leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu "to harness his men."
Numerous HDP delegations, and human rights teams have been denied access to Xerabê Bava where government has announced the killing of at least two alleged high-ranking
According to HDP's sister party Democratic Regions Party (DBP), five villagers were missing in Xerabê Bava, as 45 others were under military detention as of Thursday.
It was not clear if Aykut was among the missing or detained, but he has not been heard of since Wednesday when he was taken to a local hospital.
Editing by Ava Homa