The Diyarbakır Specially Authorized Prosecutor’s Office which is conducting an investigation into the unsolved killings in the southeast perpetrated by illegal squads inside the gendarmerie and other security units, as well as by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has heard the testimony of Şemdin Sakık, a former PKK commander currently jailed in Diyarbakır.
JİTEM, an illegal unit formed within the gendarmerie in the ’90s which acted with almost complete impunity, executed thousands in the region. An investigation was launched last year into past cases of disappearances, which were rampant in the ‘90s. The investigation, which initially concentrated solely on state-sponsored executions, was later expanded to include executions carried out by the PKK of its own militants, following complaints from families and witness statements.
Kurdish politician İbrahim Güçlü recently testified in the investigation, describing some of the PKK’s executions. The latest person to testify was Şemdin Sakık, formerly the second most influential person in the PKK.
Sources said Sakık testified that the PKK killed about 2,000 militants for challenging the leadership of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in the ‘90s. According to Sakık’s testimony, most of these people were buried in the Bekaa Valley, in Syria, where the PKK was based at the time. Sakık said: “Öcalan’s strategy was to label anyone outside his close group a traitor, a spy or a collaborator. Over time, he became even more aggressive. First he started killing left-wingers, then Kurds. Tens of people were killed in this manner, such as Mehmet Şener, Resul Altınok and Çetin Güngör.”
Sakık was captured in northern Iraq 14 years ago and brought to Turkey, where he was sentenced to life for terror-related crimes.
Sakık said any ex-PKK members -- especially those who held senior positions -- who later denounce violence are on the PKK’s hit list. He also told prosecutors that members of different Kurdish or left-wing groups were assassinated by the PKK after disagreeing with Öcalan’s views.
Sakık recently authored a book on the PKK’s internal executions. He gives detailed information on the deaths of numerous militants.