Armoured vehicles kill 20 in accidents in past year in Turkey – HDP

Twenty people have been killed in Turkey by security forces’ armoured vehicles in accidental collisions or shooting incidents, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen told the Turkish parliament in a speech on Thursday.

Bilgen’s speech came the day after 32-year-old Sedat Polat was killed in the southeast Turkish province of Şanlıurfa when a police armoured vehicle accidentally opened fire on the bus he was a passenger on as it stopped at a checkpoint.

In the past year around 20 people aged between four and 80 years old have been killed by security forces’ vehicles that have gone out of control and crashed into homes, failed to brake at junctions and crashed into civilians, or when they have opened fire without provocation, Bilgen said.

The deaths in 2018 followed another year with a high incidence of accidental deaths caused by armoured vehicles in 2017.

The Turkish news portal Artı Gerçek reported in June 2017 that 25 people had been killed by armoured vehicles since a state of emergency was called on July 20, 2016, and the majority of the deaths had again been caused in accidents.

The state of emergency was brought in after factions in the Turkish army attempted a coup on July 15, 2016. However, the coup attempt had been preceded by curfews and heavy fighting throughout large parts of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, where groups associated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) resumed decades of armed conflict with Turkish security forces when a ceasefire broke down in 2015.