Conscript in Turkish army 'lynched' for singing in Kurdish, MPs say

Another one was beaten up last month for keeping a picture of jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A conscript in the Turkish army was “lynched” by his superiors for singing in Kurdish and had to be hospitalized, opposition lawmakers said on Thursday.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Lezgin Botan told Kurdistan 24 over the phone that the conscript, who he identified as Fethi Aydemir, suffered severe head injuries and required brain surgery at a hospital in the Kurdish city of Igdir.

The lawmaker said Aydemir was attacked two days ago at the military’s Altinordu 9th Company outpost in the neighboring province of Agri where he was serving.

“After beating him nearly to death near the cafeteria, they took him to the hospital in Igdir because of injuries to the head, arms, and internal organs,” Botan said.

Another HDP lawmaker, Mehmet Emin Adiyaman of Igdir, said on Twitter that he visited the soldier in the hospital and met with his family who filed a lawsuit against the military and perpetrators.

Conscript Fethi Aydemir, seen on a hospital bed after a brain operation, was severely beaten by his superiors for singing in Kurdish, his family and opposition lawmakers said. (Photo: HDP)
Conscript Fethi Aydemir, seen on a hospital bed after a brain operation, was severely beaten by his superiors for singing in Kurdish, his family and opposition lawmakers said. (Photo: HDP)

Botan reminded of a case last month of another conscript whose superiors had also beaten for having a picture of the former Co-leader of the HDP and a candidate for Turkey’s upcoming presidential elections, Selahattin Demirtas, on his phone.

Botan said he had then submitted a written question to Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli at the Parliament about the case but received no answer, and no action was taken.

Compulsory military service for 12 months applies to men who reach the age of 20 in Turkey.

The lawmaker stated in his question that conscripts were facing arrest, detention, violence, harassment, insults, or discrimination for merely listening to Kurdish music, singing, talking in Kurdish or speaking on the phone with family members who did not know Turkish.

“Commanders usually cite propaganda for terrorism to justify their misdeeds,” he noted.

HDP lawmaker Mehmet Emin Adiyaman (second from left) visited conscript Fethi Aydemir who underwent surgery at a hospital in Igdir after he was beaten up for singing in Kurdish while serving in the Turkish army. (Photo: HDP)
HDP lawmaker Mehmet Emin Adiyaman (second from left) visited conscript Fethi Aydemir who underwent surgery at a hospital in Igdir after he was beaten up for singing in Kurdish while serving in the Turkish army. (Photo: HDP)

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany