Turkey's PM condemns a video purportedly showing militant's body dragged by car

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned a video purportedly showing militant's body dragged through the streets by an armoured police vehicle.
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned a video purportedly showing militant's body dragged through the streets by an armoured police vehicle.PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's Prime Minister condemned dissemination of a video purporting to show a dead Kurdish militant dragged through the streets tied by the neck to an armoured police vehicle, images that could further inflame tension in the country's south-east.

"It is unacceptable to treat any corpse this way, even if it is a dead terrorist," Mr Ahmet Davutoglu said, while not explicitly confirming the veracity of the video and photographs widely posted on Twitter.

Mr Davutoglu, whose AK Party faces national elections in November, was speaking in a live interview with HaberTurk TV about the video.

It was apparently taken in the province of Sirnak, focus of clashes since a ceasefire between the army and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) broke down in July. "Our Interior Ministry ... will conduct a comprehensive investigation, not into the incident itself, but into the way in which this incident was reflected to the world," Mr Davutoglu said.

More than 120 members of the security forces and hundreds of militants have been killed since July, leaving a three-year-old peace process in tatters and raising concern about the security of a parliamentary election in November.

The AKP will be seeking to regain the overall majority it lost in June elections, partly as a result of the success of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) elected to parliament for the first time.

Turkish fighter jets on Monday bombed PKK targets identified by drones near the southeastern town of Semdinli, security sources said, with air and ground operations continuing and special forces being deployed by helicopter.

Two soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Gaziantep and Osmaniye on Monday (Oct 5), the army said in a statement.

Video footage purporting to show the dead militant first appeared on social media. It showed a body in a red shirt and dark trousers, a rope around the neck, being dragged through darkened streets. Part of the video appeared to have been filmed from inside the vehicle.

Mr Selahattin Demirtas, the HDP leader, retweeted one of the images.

"Take a good look at this photo. It was taken the day before yesterday (Friday) in Sirnak. No one should forget, because we will not forget," Mr Demirtas said in the tweet on Sunday (Oct 4).

HDP spokesman Cem Bico said the dead man had been identified as the brother-in-law of a party lawmaker.

Two investigators have been sent by the interior ministry to Sirnak, the state-run Anadolu Agency said on Monday.

The PKK has been fighting for greater Kurdish autonomy for more than three decades, and is listed as a terrorist organisation in Turkey, Europe and the United States.

Braving nationalist anger, the government introduced tentative reforms on Kurdish rights and in 2012 launched negotiations to try to end a PKK insurgency that has killed 40,000 people since 1984.

A fragile ceasefire had been holding since March 2013, but ended after violence erupted following the election that deprived the AKP of its single-party majority.