Felat Bozarslan / Istanbul, February 25 () - A suspect arrested for killing 12-year-old boy Nihat Kazanhan during unrest in Turkey’s southeastern district of Cizre on Jan. 14 has been released, after claiming that a fellow police officer shot the boy dead. The new suspect, a special forces police officer, has now been arrested in Ankara.
The initial suspect police officer, identified only by the initials H.V., had been temporarily assigned to Cizre from Mardin’s special operations during the clashes. After being arrested he said another police officer, identified as M.N.G, with whom he was patrolling in an armored vehicle in the district, had opened fire on the boy.
Four officers were in the vehicle at the time, and along with their individual police weapons and tear gas guns H.V. was also carrying a pump action rifle, provided by Mardin’s special operations unit, he said.
H.V. and M.N.G. first intervened in the crowds on the street with gas canisters when a group of children began to throw stones at them. M.N.G. then took the rifle and fired it three or four times on the children without targeting specifically, according to H.V.’s testimony.
“One child fell after he opened fire. Me and our superior saw clearly that M.N.G. had fired and the child was shot. [The driver of the armored vehicle] also saw the child fall via the camera” H.V. said, adding that their superior had warned M.N.G. not to fire after witnessing the incident.
“M.N.G. later went back to the scene where Kazanhan was shot, collected cartridge cases fired from the rifle as well as the canisters, and buried them in the garden of the station” H.V. also claimed.
A meeting was held over the incident at the police station and the rifle was taken by other officers, along with the cartridge cases, H.V. said, adding that he had testified wrongly in an effort to protect his fellow officers in the team. He delivered the rifle to the depot after they returned to Mardin on Jan. 19.
He also expressed “regret” for not telling the truth, saying they did not expect anyone to be arrested in the probe over the killing of Kazanhan.
H.V. was released after giving his testimony.