Families of fallen guerrillas to pay damages

The relatives of fallen guerrilla fighters are being attacked by the Turkish state at all levels. In addition to the desecration of corpses and the destruction of graves, the families are being sued by the state for compensation.

The attacks on the bodies and graves of fallen guerrilla fighters are a central means of psychological warfare by the Turkish state. The will of the families and the population is wanted to be broken in this way. A new practice of the regime directed against the families of the fallen is the path of civil lawsuits.

Families to pay "damages for damage to state property"

The families of fallen guerrilla fighters are being sued for damages for actions in battles or actions in which their sons or daughters are alleged to have participated, according to intelligence information. The claim is for "damages for state property". The families are also to be held civilly liable for injuries to soldiers and security forces. Lawyer Muhittin Muğuç is entrusted with such a case and explains the regime's approach.

Precedents for a new repressive practice

The lawyer tells that a while after the death of their sons or daughters, the families are sued by the Ministry of Interior or the Gendarmerie Command (Military Police). The proceedings taking place at the moment are precedents, he said and continued, "After the sons or daughters of these families die, lawsuits are filed against them for property damage caused by battles in which they are said to have participated. This is because armored vehicles or similar equipment may have been damaged in an explosion or battle. Relatives are also sued in the event of injuries, deaths, or necessary treatment of military personnel who participated in these battles. This procedure has been instituted without notice."

"Proceedings are based on conjecture and speculation"

Muğuç explains that the action violates the Rules of Procedure: "In order to open a case, an unlawful act must be presented. Moreover, it is necessary to base it on hard and precise facts. In the case I am handling, there is nothing concrete. It is more of a lawsuit based on conjecture and speculation. It is a very new practice. Such cases have been opened only in the last three to four years. Now everyone is actually asking, 'How can it be that compensation is demanded from the family of a deceased person after his death?' There is such a thing in the Turkish Code, but until today it has never existed in practice, so we consider the procedure unlawful."

"We will continue to object"

About the amount of the demands, the lawyer says: "There are three families in our proceedings and I represent only one of them. At the moment, 13,000 liras (about 1370 euros) are being demanded from them. However, this amount will increase later when additional costs are incurred, such as covering legal fees and so on. The file is being reviewed at the moment. The appeals of the legal counsel of the other families are also being examined. There is no question of a wrongful act, a specific crime, or causation. We will continue to appeal. No decision can be made based on conjecture and commentary."