Kurdish man in Turkey faces terror charges for attending his son’s funeral

A Kurdish man appeared at court on Friday over terror charges for attending the funeral of his son, who was killed in 2015 in the south-eastern province of Şırnak during Turkish military’s operations in southeast Turkey.

The prosecutors charge Hasan Birlik and nine other people of making terror propaganda by attending the funeral of Hacı Lokman Birlik, who Turkish authorities accuse of being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hacı Lokman Birlik’s killing caused a public outcry at the time as Turkish police officers took pictures with his dead body and dragged him on the street after tying Birlik to an armoured vehicle. Birlik was shot 28 times according to the autopsy report.

"I just attended my son's funeral," Hasan Birlik said at court. "What kind of crime might I have committed?" he asked.

The next hearing of the trial will be held in November.

Birlik’s lawyers also filed a legal complaint against police officers involved in the incident, which Leyla Birlik, a deputy of the predominantly Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and a relative of the Kurdish man, said was torture on a dead body.

Police officer Hacı Murat Dinçer, who ordered the dragging of a Kurdish man, resigned from the Turkish police’s anti-terror department to run in parliamentary elections last year as a candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

Police officer Dinçer also received an award from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his services in Şırnak.