Ekmekçiyan's body delivered after 32 years

Executed in 1983, Levon Ekmekçiyan's body is delivered to his family after 32 years. İHD (Human Rights Foundation) referred to the violations of rights during Ekmekçiyan's trail process and pointed out that Esenboğa massacre remains concealed.

İHD Istanbul Branch held a press conference on the delivery of the body of Levon Ekmekçiyan, who was caught injured in Esenboğa Airport on August 7, 1982 and executed in Mamak Prison on January 28, 1983. 

Levon Ekmekçiyan was executed because he was allegedly the perpetrator of the clashes in Esenboğa Airport during junta regime. According to the official authorities, 9 people were killed and 72 people were injured during these clashes. 

Put into Mamak Prison, Ekmekçiyan was executed the next morning after he was sentenced to capital punishment. 

Speaking at the press conference held by İHD, Ekmekçiyan family's lawyer Eren Keskin stated that Ekmekçiyan was sentenced to capital punishment in accordance with the laws of junta regime. 

Reminding that the first application for receiving the body was made by Ekmekçiyan family, Keskin said, “An old mother wished to receive her son's bones and though this process would normally take 2 days, they made us struggle for 2 years.” 

After Keskin's statement, İHD Vice Chair Meral Çıldır read the statement released by İHD Committee Against Racism and Discrimination. 

İHD Vice Chair Meral Çıldır told about what happened during process of reaching Ekmekçiyan's grave. 

Stating that the process started 2 years ago with the application of Ekmekçiyan's mother, Çıldır said that they were faced with many obstacles caused by ministries of interior, justice and foreign affairs which are not included in the regulations of this process. Normally, the approval of Provincial Directorate of Health and the location information provided by the Directorate of Graves is enough to complete this process. 

"He was buried without a coffin"

Çıldır also said: 

"There was no sign, stone or wood that marks Ekmekçiyan's grave. It was a flat piece of land covered with grass. That section was spared for Armenians. After digging for one and half hour, we found the bones. According to the beliefs and traditions of Armenians, the deceased should be buried with a coffin. However, Ekmekçiyan was buried without a coffin.

“We put the excavated bones to white bags and we put these bag to a chest equipped with protective materials. We handed this chest to a plane to Paris with Eren Keskin. On the same day, we were informed that the family received the body. Thus, the most natural human right is fulfilled. A mother and siblings got the right to bury their loved one in accordance with their beliefs and traditions and to have a grave to be visited after 32 years.”

“He had no lawyer, he couldn't have defended himself”

“Considering the legal process, Levon Ekmekçiyan's sentence and execution was carried out even against the laws of junta regime. He had no lawyer, he couldn't have defended himself. The only official document was a statement which was taken by questionable ways. Since he had no lawyer, the ruling of the court couldn't have been appealed.”

“He was executed despite his repentance statement”

“Most importantly, that questionable statement was a repentance statement in official sense and according to the laws of those times, a person who gave a repentance statement shouldn't have been executed. However, Ekmekçiyan was immediately sentenced to capital punishment and executed. 

Ekmekçiyan was hurriedly executed, one day after the ruling of capital punishment. Were they afraid that Ekmekçiyan might speak about the what really happened in Esenboğa and what they had done to him? Is this the reason why they haven't allowed him to benefit from repentance law? These questions should be answered.”

“The massacre remains concealed”

“It is true that fascist junta regime suspended the laws, but they treated Levon Ekmekçiyan badly even for a junta regime, because state thought that he is not only a “terrorist”, but an “Armenian terrorist”.

Another important aspect of this issue is the fact that this event, which is officially called “Esenboğa Massacre”, remains concealed. The crucial details of this event were covered up and concealed because of government security. However, in recent years, witnesses began to spoke within a small circle and we are able to reach unofficial information. Yet, the state hasn't revealed what happened that day. We don't know whether they had done autopsies, carried technical survey and determined the guns used in killings.”

A witness claiming that he made an eye contact with a police officer 

In 2004, in “Esenboğa Raid” episode of a documentary series on CNN Turk channel, a witness, who was held hostage that day, spoke for the first time. He said that he made an eye contact with the police officer who shot him with an automatic weapon, as he managed to escape by breaking a window and he can never forget that moment. He was shot by a police officer. So, it must be declared how people died there. The truth must be revealed.

Right of burial

“As İHD Committee Against Racism and Discrimination, we made a mother's wish come through, whose son was executed in Turkey 32 years ago. All the people who haven't been considered “human” by Turkish state today and in the past are human for us and they have rights. All the people whose right to burial have been violated by Turkish state today and in the past deserve to be be buried in accordance with their beliefs and culture and they should be respected.”


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