The Vartinis (Altınova) Massacre Case

Nine individuals, all members of the same family, were killed in the Vartinis (Altınova) hamlet of Korkut county in the Muş province on October 3, 1993, when their house was set on fire following allegations of having “aided and abetted the illegal terrorist organization”.

Immediately following the incident, Aysel Öğüt, the only person to remain alive from the burning house, said that the house had been set on fire by soldiers and filed in a criminal complaint; while the head of the Chief Public Prosecutors in Muş asserted that it was the PKK who had burnt it.

Upon a new and second criminal complaint by Aysel Öğüt in 2003, an investigation started, followed by a case in 2013 during which the following individuals were charged with ‘’purposefully burning down a house and causing multiple deaths’’: Gendarmerie Captain at the time Bülent Karaoğlu, Hasköy County Gendarmerie Commando Unit Commander Senior Infantry Lieutenant Hanefi Akyıldız, Muş Police Headquarters Special Operaitons Unit Chief Şerafettin Uz, Gendarmerie Gökyazı and Gendarmerie Police Station Chief Major Turhan Nurdoğan.

The case was transferred to Kırıkkale on grounds of security. During the hearing held there on the June 10, 2015, the prosecutor, in his opinion as to the accusations said, causing the death of 9 individuals due to negligence required a sentence of 20 to 25 years for each of the 9 victims, in other words a total of 180-225 years of prison sentence for each defendant.

Before the final hearing on March 1, 2016, when the judgment of the court was expected, the only remaining member of the family along with some friends and constituents of the Coalition Against Impunity held a press conference. In the final hearing held at the High Penal Court in Kırıkkale, the prosecutor, in a modification of his earlier judgment, asked for the acquittal of all defendants except for Bülent Karaoğlu while the court panel decided that all be acquitted with one vote against that of Karaoğlu.

Case Start Date

04.09.2013

Court Name

High Penal Court of Kırıkkale

Indictment

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Defendants

Gendarmerie Captain at the time Bülent Karaoğlu, Hasköy County Gendarmerie Commando Unit Commander Senior Infantry Lieutenant Hanefi Akyıldız, Muş Police Headquarters Special Operations Unit Chief Şerafettin Uz, Gendarmerie Gökyazı and Gendarmerie Police Station Chief Major Turhan Nurdoğan

Victims

Mehmet Nasir Öğüt, Eşref Oran, Sevda Öğüt, Sevim Öğüt, Mehmet Şakir Öğüt, Mehmet Şirin Öğüt, Aycan Öğüt, Cihan Öğüt and Cinal Öğüt

Documents

Legal Opinion of The Public Prosecutor About The Charges on The Merits