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Questions raised over suspicious death of Kurdish conscript in Turkish army

CONCERNS have been raised by the family of a Kurdish soldier conscripted into the Turkish army, who was alleged to have died of a heart attack while on duty in a prison in the coastal city of Izmir on Saturday.

According to a report from the Izmir Forensic Department, Osman Ozcalimli fell from the third floor of the prison after suffering a cardiac arrest. His body was found at five in the morning, authorities claimed.

But doubt has been cast on the official narrative, with Mr Ozcalimi’s family hinting at foul play.

His father Ahmet Ozcalimi explained: “One day before his death, Osman called me and told me that he was being threatened because of his Kurdish identity.

“He said that he was being discriminated against. They are said to have called him a ‘traitor to his country.’ I then called the prison and spoke to a staff sergeant named Abdullah.

“I told him the content of the conversation with my son and he replied that I should not worry. The next morning I was told Osman was dead.”

It is compulsory for men to complete 12 months of military service in the Turkish armed forces after they reach the age of 20, with the option of paying €2,000 (£1,800) as an exemption fee.

Kurds suffer widespread discrimination in the Turkish army, with the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity with the Oppressed claiming that suspicious accidents involving Kurdish conscripts are commonplace, with most deaths recorded as suicide.

According to a report by the human rights group some 90 per cent of conscripts that are alleged to have committed suicide are Kurdish.

In 2018 Fethi Aydemir suffered severe head injuries and required brain surgery after he was attacked for singing in Kurdish at the military base in Agri where he was stationed.

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