Vartinis Case dropped due to the prescription

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  • 17:11 4 December 2023
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ANKARA - Announcing its decision in the Vartinis Case, which was filed regarding the burning to death of 9 people from the same family in 1993, the court decided to drop the file on the grounds of prescription.

The case regarding the burning and murder of 9 people from the same family, whose houses were set on fire by soldiers on October 3, 1993, in the Vartinis (Altınova) town of Til (Korkut) district of Muş, continued to be heard at the Kırıkkale 1st High Criminal Court after the Supreme Court's reversal decision.

At the hearing, where Aysel Öğüt, the only survivor of the massacre, was present as a complainant, her husband Abdullah Öğüt, Peoples' Equality and Democratic Party (HEDEP) Mûş MP Sümeyye Boz, party's Law and Human Rights Commission Co-Spokesperson Nuray Özdoğan, Human Rights Association (İHD) MYK member Nuray Çevirmen, representatives of the Memory Center, Mûş Bar Association President Kadir Karaçelik, one of the lawyers on the case, lawyers who are members of the Ankara Bar Association and Özgür Yaldız, a member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD).


At the hearing, the prosecution presented its prepared opinion to the court panel. The prosecution stated that the fugitive defendant Captain Bülent Karaoğlu, who ordered the burning of the village in the operation in which a soldier lost his life, should not be considered to be the sole authority, and requested that the file be dropped due to the prescription.


Speaking after the opinion, Wan Bar Association President Sinan Özaraz requested to participate in the file. Özaraz stated that a crime against humanity was committed in Vartinis and that crimes against humanity do not have prescription, and said that the opinion should not be accepted. Lawyers from the Ankara Bar Association, who took the floor after him, made similar statements and emphasized that there would be no prescription in this file, and requested participation in the case. Evaluating the requests, the court rejected the participation requests of Ankara and Wan Bar Associations due to the stage the file had reached.


Aysel Öğüt, to whom the committee spoke against the opinion, said: “All I want from you is justice. May my family's rights be ignored. My family was murdered in front of my eyes, I want this murderer to be caught. I leave my rights first to God and then to you."


Kadir Karaçelik, one of the lawyers in the case, stated that there has been a 30-year search for justice. Karaçelik said: “We had a procedural discussion for five hours in the first hearing of this case. We need to look at what this case means to us as citizens, lawyers and legal organizations. How will we defend these human rights when children die and people are massacred? You can only encounter such a fiction in a war movie. Aysel and her family mean something different to us. What Aysel went through is not something that people living in this country can remain indifferent to. We all know what kind of tragedy happened in Vartinis. This case is a case to be heard in Nazi Germany. We need to condemn Bülent Karaoğlu in the public conscience. The perpetrator was not searched clearly and was said to have 'escaped'. We do not agree with the statute of limitations decision because the act and action fall within the scope of crimes against humanity."


After evaluating the prosecution's arguments after the defenses, the court panel stated that 2 months had passed since the prescrıptıon and decided to drop the case file.

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