Turkish human rights lawyer may have been killed by a cop, high-tech independent investigation shows

For The Los Angeles Times


When Turkish human rights lawyer Tahir Elci was gunned down during a news conference in the embattled Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir, at least four cameras were rolling and dozens of witnesses were looking on in horror.

But more than three years later, nobody has been arrested. Police officers, chasing two men who had just killed a pair of cops around the corner, were seen firing in Elci’s direction. But authorities have apparently never investigated whether one of them may have, on purpose or by mistake, killed Elci, who was struck by a bullet to the head.

The tragedy accelerated a breakdown in a two-year cease-fire between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a separatist group that has waged an insurgency since the 1980s. At least 4,258 people have been killed in the conflict since July 2015, including 464 civilians and 1,140 security personnel, according to the International Crisis Group.

With the stall in efforts to determine who killed the prominent attorney, a high-tech independent investigation was launched by the Diyarbakir Bar Assn., which Elci used to head — and it has identified three police officers who could have fired the lethal round.

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