Turkey: Military rules soldier’s death as suicide despite the evidence otherwise

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Photo of Mustafa Araz / Mezopotamya news agency
Photo of Mustafa Araz / Mezopotamya news agency

Mustafa Araz, a conscript in the Turkish Military, was found dead on 12th May. Araz was doing his compulsory military service at an air military base in the Babaeski district of Kirklareli, a city in northwest Turkey. The Turkish Military has ruled that the death of the 23-year-old soldier was a suicide. However, the family challenges the Military’s claim, saying their son’s body was covered in severe bruises and scars, as reported in the prosecutor’s report. They have filed a lawsuit at the prosecutor’s office for the incident to be investigated further. 

Hasan Araz’s father, Mustafa Araz, said to Mezopotamya news, “Our son had no problem whatsoever….His wrists had signs of having been tied. He had bruises all over his body; he had been battered. That is also what the prosecutor’s office wrote [in report].” 

Following their son’s death, Hasan Araz’s family was told that their son had committed suicide. However, the authorities’ statement is challenged by the family who has demanded a thorough investigation into the incident. 

The Araz family’s lawyer Cesim Parlak said that the death of the conscript was suspicious. Parlak also said that when he visited the Babaeski district to submit the family’s petition for a lawsuit and to talk with the eyewitnesses, his actions were closely monitored by the military personnel. 

According to Parlak, the general of the air force base in question is closely involved in the incident and conducted meetings with officials, including the prosecutors. “This raises the worry that an investigation cannot be conducted in a healthy way in such a small district. Also, security camera footages from the surrounding crime scene have not been still acquired,” he said. 

Source: Duvar English, Military rules soldier’s death as suicide, family questions bruises and scars on body, 8 June 2020; Mezopotamya Ajansi, 'İntihar etti' denilen asker için suç duyurusu: Öldürüldü, 8 June 2020

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