ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Turkish authorities demolished a cemetery with heavy equipment in the Kurdish province of Bitlis which comprised of the graves of 267 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters fallen in clashes at various times and locations with the army, a lawmaker revealed on Friday.
Bitlis MP Mahmut Celadet Gaydali of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said during a press conference at the Turkish Parliament that the government had begun "targeting the dead" after ending the 2013-15 peace talks with the PKK.
Gaydali explained that the cemetery in his home city's Yukariolek (Oleka Jor) village was built collectively by families of fighters killed and there was no intervention or obstruction by authorities when they did so in 2013.
The MP said the father of one of the fighters buried there contacted him, complaining that he learned of the destruction by local military officials, reported Kurdistan 24's Ankara bureau.
The father said his daughter, a member of the US-backed People's Protection Units (YPG) was killed during the 2014 Islamic State (IS) siege of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani on the border with Turkey.
Her remnants along with those of others were then transferred from the area under curfew to Istanbul's Forensic Institute, officials told the father according to the MP.
"The regime has started mistreating even the dead. It has rotten and crossed all moral lines. Humanity has died [under that rule]," said a press release on the website of the HDP condemning the Turkish government.
It accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party of engaging in oppression that "did not occur to other tyrants."
The pro-Kurdish that braces a now year-long state crackdown also said the AKP government was hypocritical in its harsh responses to Israel for occupying Palestinian lands and Myanmar for driving out the minority Muslim Rohingya people.
"Even the most barbarian armies did not ignore the right to be buried, something that does not require any written laws," read the statement signed by Ayse Acar Basaran.
"What kind of mental state it is that [Turkey] arranges funerals for the Anzacs who came to invade but destroys graves in Bitlis," HDP Spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen asked on Twitter.
He was referring to annual commemorations in western Turkey to honor the memory of British Empire's Australian and New Zealander soldiers who died fighting the Ottomans in Gallipoli front during World War One.
Turkish army regularly bombs and destroys PKK fighters’ graves and cemeteries in Kurdish provinces, and targets them in the mountains of the Kurdistan Region in neighboring Iraq where the group is headquartered.
In September, troops acting under orders of an Ankara-appointed governor in the Kurdish province of Bingol demolished the grave of a Peshmerga volunteer, Sait Curukkaya, who was killed during the Kurdish-Iraqi offensive to capture the then IS-held city of Mosul in 2016.
Curukkaya's brother then penned an open letter to the Turkish President Erdogan to protest the act.
Editing by Sam A.