Family of HPG member Mercan Erkol is fighting for 5 years to get daughter's remains

The family of HPG member Mercan Erkol, who lost her life in clashes that broke out on 16 November 2017 in Şenyayla, in the province of Kulp, has been waiting to collect the body of their daughter for 5 years.

The body of HPG member Mercan Erkol (Beritan Tolhildan), who died in clashes that broke out on 16 November 2017 in Şenyayla, on the borders of Kulp and Muş, has not been given to her family despite all the requests they have made for almost 6 years. On 17 March 2019, her identity was finally confirmed and her father, Hesin Erkol, applied to Diyarbakır Provincial Gendarmerie Command asking to collect the remains. Erkol went to Diyarbakır, together with soldiers and policemen, to Yeniköy Cemetery in Bağlar district. The prosecutor's office decided not to open the grave on the grounds that it was not known who the 3 bodies buried in the grave belonged to.

It has been determined that the 'expertise report' written by the Diyarbakır Biological Investigation Branch Directorate in 2019 and sent to the relevant gendarmerie and prosecutor's office, which determines the gender of the body, had been lost. The Erkol family, through their lawyers, made a written application to the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on 18 August 2020.

Upon the report, which was completed as a result of the family's application, the prosecutor's office requested a map of the cemetery. It turned out that there are 2 different graves in the "Cemetery of the nameless" section of the Yeniköy Asri Cemetery in the central district of Bağlar, and there are 3 HPG corpses in each grave. It was determined that the two graves in question were numbered as “Kulp Şenyayla 3 Men” and “Kulp Şenyayla 3 Body Pieces”. Based on the expertise and autopsy report made on 19 November 2017, it was determined that Erkol's body was in the grave named "Kulp Şenyayla 3 Body Pieces".

Body not delivered

After the grave and the location were determined, the only remaining process was to open the grave and deliver the body to the family, but the prosecutor, who followed the file, suspended the process, claiming that the relevant documents sent to the Cemetery Directorate by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office were outside his area.

Erkol’s family is still waiting

Erkol said: "Analyses have been done and the identity of my daughter has been confirmed. Yet they continue to act as if they don’t know. They know, but their point is to insult and persecute us. Their aim is to upset the families. But we don't get hurt by what they do. Our daughter is a martyr of the Kurdish people. It doesn't matter if our daughter is in Diyarbakır or Van. What we want is to have a grave to go to."