Istanbul: Authorities said on Saturday that 10 suspects had been taken into custody in connection with the murder of seven members of a Kurdish ethnic family in Turkey’s central Konya province.
Members of the Dedeoglu family were killed in a brutal gun attack on Friday. Officials said they have not yet arrested the gunman.
A statement from the Konya prosecutor’s office said preliminary evidence points to an ongoing fight between two families living in the same area.
But the family’s lawyer and the pro-Kurdish opposition party said the killings were ethnically motivated. After an attack in May, a family member – who was among Friday’s victims – told reporters he was being harassed and attacked for being Kurdish.
Lawyer Abdurrahman Karabulut said family members were worried they would be attacked again.
years of friction
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the two families had animosity as of 2010. Two fights led to an investigation in 2021; Those investigations led to two people in custody, but the other suspects were released. The statement rejected the claim of a racially motivated attack.
Few details were given about those arrested, but media reports said the other family was not Kurdish.
The co-leader of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said members of the ethnic Kurdish family were killed by hate speech and linked it to a rise in racist attacks. Mitat Sankar accused the government of targeting the HDP and Kurds in general.
Media reports said that the family’s house was set on fire after the attack.
Turkey has been fighting a Kurdish insurgency since 1984 and the conflict has killed thousands, including civilians targeted by car bombs in 2016 and 2017 that were blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The decades-long conflict has also included discriminatory state policies and a racially charged environment. Kurds are the second largest ethnic group in Turkey.
Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu said the allegations of ethnically motivated killings were provoking against the unity of the country.