Villagers talked about their experiences after the tension that broke out when the gendarmes opened fire in the air during the detention of a citizen in the village of Esenyamaç (Xaşkan) in Başkale district.
Soldiers and police officers, who went to detain a citizen named Mehmet Emin Atlı, who had a search warrant within the scope of an investigation, opened fire in the air for several minutes, following the tension. With the emergence of the images of the event, the reactions from the social media grew like an avalanche. Many institutions, especially the Van Bar Association, went to the village and made investigations.
As Serhat News, we went to the village and handed our microphone to the citizens.
The 35-year-old woman named Dilber Atlı, who was seen lying unconscious on the ground in the footage, claimed that she was battered by the soldiers and said, “They threw me on the ground and dragged me away. At that time, I had my daughter in my arms, I tried to burn my wife’s feet as she fell to the ground. They beat me on the knee. I still have bruises on my legs. As a whole village, we have experienced great pain and sadness. I had a nervous breakdown and then passed out,” she said.
‘They didn’t let me drink water’
Afterwards, Atlı, who added that she wanted to drink water when she was unconscious, but that the soldiers did not allow it, said, “They did not allow me to enter the house to drink water. They made me drink the toilet water flowing from the stream here, so I came to my senses. Is this Muslim?” she asked.
Stating that she wanted the gendarmerie commander who came to the village to be dismissed, Atlı said, “I want the sergeant who came to our village to be dismissed. It scared our kids a lot. Many children were also beaten. They put a gun to the head of a small child. They broke my brother-in-law’s nose by hitting them with their fists. They beat the women. They did this when no men were present,” he said.
‘As the village people, we experienced a great shock’
she said to the soldiers, “If there is a fugitive person, come and catch them. Noting that she said “But don’t do this to everyone”, Atlı continued: “As the village people, we were in for a great shock. Our children cried with fear until the morning. The sergeant used to come and go to the village sometimes in his own car, sometimes in the car of the guards, and sometimes as a civilian. He was paying the public to whistleblowing. He has been coming to the village in civilian cars like this for weeks and disturbing us. It has become such that now our children get scared when they see a car that belongs to the state. Why are they doing this to us, we are Turkish citizens, what’s our crime?”
‘We have faced the same problems before’
Continuing her words, Atlı reminded that she had encountered such problems before and finally said: “In winter, he broke down my door and put a gun to my brother-in-law’s head. she asked me for tea. However, she said to me, ‘You may have put poison in my tea, drink it first’, so I took a sip of the tea. He still didn’t drink my tea.”
‘They didn’t let us wear anything’
Ayten Atlı, 21, residing in the village of Xaşkan and who was in the village at the time of the incident, said, “I was outside, I went upstairs to enter the house. There were soldiers at the door when I arrived. They came in the early hours of the morning when we were all asleep and we weren’t wearing any clothes,” and continued her speech by giving the following information: “Maybe as you can see in the photo, I didn’t even have shoes on, I don’t even remember what I was wearing, we were not even allowed to wear anything on our clothes. I went out and asked one of the soldiers there what was the problem, and he said he would call the house. I said show me your permission slip and call. He threw me and said ‘Get out’. You can also see this in the photos. I already stated that I had an operation on my back, but one soldier grabbed me by the arms and forced me, so I said how will you answer the state if something happens to me, he said, “What’s wrong with me because of your disease?” I hit my back when I fell and I passed out there.”
‘Women and children were battered by soldiers’
Defending that women and children were battered by the soldiers, Atlı said, “After that, I saw women pushing and hitting children, pushing my little cousin and throwing the child to the ground and the child’s face was bad, at that time someone kicked my mother’s foot and bruised her foot. We went down and they are coming towards us with panzers and we could not find a place to run, so we ran behind the cars because it was not possible to stop,” she said.
‘The bullets flew in the air’
Claiming that the soldiers came to the village to beat the villagers, Atlı ended his speech with these words: “Someone whistled, then the bullets flew in the air, someone was already dancing halay, they didn’t come to arrest anyone, they just came to beat us. I am calling out to everyone from here to defend our rights, it seems to me that these things always happen on the east side, are we in this situation because we are from the east, if there is no such thing as racism, I want them to defend our rights, my father is going to die without any evidence.