Tahir Elçi

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Tahir Elçi
Tahir Elçi (cropped).jpg
Personal details
Cizre, Şırnak Province, Turkey
Died28 November 2015(2015-11-28) (aged 48–49)
Diyarbakır, Turkey
OccupationLawyer, activist

Tahir Elçi (1966 – 28 November 2015) was a Kurdish lawyer and the chairman of Diyarbakır Bar Association. He was assassinated in the Sur district of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey on 28 November 2015.[1][2] He was shot once in the head while giving a press statement beside the "Four-legged Minaret" of the Sheikh Matar Mosque calling for an end to violence.[1]

Elçi was detained several times and received death threats after saying the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) should not be regarded as a terrorist organization.[3] In October 2015, Elçi was detained by Turkish authorities on charges of disseminating "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the PKK.[1][4] On 23 March 2014, he was the lawyer of the Kuşkonar massacre case in the ECHR, in which Turkey was condemned for massacring Kurdish civilians and blaming the PKK.

Controversy surrounding death[edit]

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) called the shooting a "planned assassination," and protests erupted in Turkey after Elçi's killing.[1] Elçi's brother Ahmet Elçi was quoted as saying that his brother was "murdered by the state."[5] A Turkish official later issued a statement saying that "we aren't ruling out the possibility that a third party directly targeted him."[3] Turkish authorities claim that the PKK might be behind the assassination.[6] In June 2016, Turkish authorities claimed that a captured militant have witnessed PKK militants Uğur Yakışır and Mahsum Gürkhan open fire upon Tahir Elçi the moment he collapsed dead.[7][8][9]

Anti-government protests in Turkey with crowds shouting "You can't kill us all" followed the attack.[1][3]

The HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş claimed in his interview on IMC TV that according to their investigators, the bullet which killed Tahir Elçi was fired by a Turkish police officer.[10]

Investigation of Tahir Elçi's killing[edit]

Human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi was killed on 28 November 2015 in Diyarbakir and Turkish authorities didn't pursue a full investigation. Forensic Architecture conducted an independent investigation on behalf of the Diyarbakır Bar Association and analyzed the killing down to seconds and found 2 police officers as suspects.[11] The full video of the investigation was released February 7th, 2019.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Bozarsian, Mahmut (November 28, 2015). "Protests as top Kurdish lawyer gunned down in Turkey". Yahoo! News. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Tahir Elçi killed in clashes". Milliyet (in Turkish). November 28, 2015. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Pro-Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elci shot dead in Turkey". BBC. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  4. ^ http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/militant-claims-pkk-behind-murder-of-tahir-elci.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100130&NewsCatID=509
  5. ^ "Tahir Elçi'nin abisi: Net olan tek şey var; kardeşimi devlet katletti" (in Turkish). ANF. November 28, 2015. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  6. ^ http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Diyarbakir:-the-murder-of-lawyer-activist-Tahir-El%C3%A7i-fuels-conflict-between-Turks-and-Kurds-36016.html
  7. ^ http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/militant-claims-pkk-behind-murder-of-tahir-elci.aspx?pageID=238&nID=100130&NewsCatID=509
  8. ^ http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-foreign-snipers-among-pkk-militants.aspx?pageID=238&nID=94687&NewsCatID=341
  9. ^ http://www.milliyet.com.tr/foreign-snipers-shoot-ambulances-en-2187431/en.htm
  10. ^ ""Tahir Elçi'yi öldüren kurşunun polisin silahından çıktığı kesin" -". imc-tv.net. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  11. ^ Architecture, Forensic (2019-02-07), The Killing of Tahir Elçi - EN, retrieved 2019-02-08