This week CCTV footage was released of a Turkish military Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle crushing an elderly female who was on her way to the post office in the province of Diyarbakir Lice, a Kurdish populated area. The victim has been identified as 85-year-old Pakize Hazar who was going to collect her senior citizen pension when she passed in front of the vehicle. Many citizens nearby attempted to flag down the driver but the MRAP started up and drove off too quickly, the roads were closed to local traffic when the incident took place. The tragedy occurred in June of 2017 but the footage has only just now been made available to the public. Pakize Hazar’s body was left in the street until her family came to collect the remains personally — local police simply watched from the sidewalk.
The investigation and legal battle by Hazar’s family has been ongoing, their lawyers introduced the footage as evidence and claim that her death was not accidental but in-fact intentional, stemming from anti-Kurdish sentiments. This type of incident is not unique, there have been several instances of Turkish police and security forces hitting civilians while operating armored vehicles.
The MRAP has an extremely limited field of view and blind spots that make it very difficult to detect people that are too close to the vehicle. The driver of the MRAP sped away after crushing Hazar seemingly unaware of what had just happened. Turkish NGO, the Human Rights Association, reported that 23 people were killed by armored vehicles belonging to the Turkish government in 2016. Initially Hazar was said to be at fault but after a forensic medical report was released the driver was determined to be at fault. Identified as Special Sergeant S.K., the driver of the MRAP was “one hundred percent” responsible for Hazar’s death; authorities claimed that she was well within his field of view when she was run over. S.K. was detained for questioning after the incident but later released.
Prosecutors for the district have called for a six-year prison sentence due to negligent manslaughter by S.K. Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials have spoken out against the ordeal and claimed they will continually seek justice and restitution for Hazar’s family. At the time of the incident the Diyarbakir Bar Association stated that,
The fact that such a grave incident happened on a street where there was no traffic is a clear indication of the outrageous behavior of [the army] member using the vehicle. It should be noted that armored vehicles are now competing with police bullets in violations of the right to life.”
Viewer discretion is advised.
Featured image: Pakize Hazar by Voice of America [Public Domain]