Kurdish construction worker Özkan Tokay, who was shot dead the day before in the western Anatolian province of Afyon, has been laid to rest today.
The funeral in Erciş district of Van was accompanied by intensive police and military measures. By order of the governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez, who was also present, only the closest family members of the victim were allowed to attend the ceremony.
Many people protested in front of the cemetery, including HDP member of parliament Murat Sarısaç and members of the HDP Van provincial branch. Correspondents from Mezopotamya news agency (MA) and JinNews were also prevented from covering the funeral.
The racially motivated attack took place on Sunday evening at about 7:30 p.m. local time when 25-year-old Özkan Tokay was on a construction site in the Dinar district together with his brother Fırat (15) and five co-workers. A local resident, who has since been identified as Ömer A., is reported to have complained to the workers about “dust generated by the construction work”. There erupted an argument, and suddenly the man pulled out his gun and shot 15-year-old Fırat with it. Özkan Tokay intervened and was killed by Ömer A. with several shots. 28-year-old Emrah Ö. was also shot. While the four other construction workers who witnessed the events remained unharmed, the perpetrator is now being searched for.
The relatives of the Kurdish construction workers, who had left Van in the evening to go to Afyon, were denied entry to the village. According to HDP MP Murat Sarısaç, the entry ban was ordered by the mayor of Afyon, the police chief and the attorney general.
It was understood that the ban was not implemented to keep the attacker out, but rather to punish the family members for being Kurdish. The order given by the Mayor stated that “Persons whose birthplace is Van will not be allowed.”