Skip to content

KHRP | Kurdish Human Rights Project

narrow screen resolution wide screen resolution Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color brown color green color red color blue color

Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

You are here: 
Skip to content

Charity Awards

Charity Awards

Gruber Prize


Gruber Justice Prize

Akin Birdal on his way to recovery after assassination attempt

T U R K E Y : The Chairman of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), Akin Birdal, who was shot six times in a failed assassination attempt at the Association's office in Ankara on Tuesday, is reported to be on his way to recovery.

The head doctor of Sevgi Hospital in Ankara, Tevfik Ali Kucukbas, said the damage caused by the bullet wounds to Mr Birdal's chest had been repaired, although Mr Birdal still had difficulty moving the fingers of his right hand.

It is anticipated that Mr Birdal will be be moved from the intensive care unit within a few days. Earlier reports that bomb threats had been received by the hospital for treating Mr Birdal were confirmed by the Turkish Daily News, but these threats had now stopped.

Mr Birdal has been able to receive visitors since Wednesday, and speaking to the Turkish Daily News, Mr Birdal's daughter said that her father had been using her to pass on messages to the outside world. "I feel in my heart the voices of friends who are lending us their support. I love you all," Evrin Birdal quoted her father as saying.

The attempt on Mr Birdal's life has received massive exposure in the world press, and messages of support and outrage towards the perpetrators from political leaders and other representaives both within and outside the Republic of Turkey have been extensive.

Britain's ambassador to Turkey, David Logan, has already sent a personal message to Mr. Birdal and to the Human Rights Association, expressing his concern regarding the assassination attempt. "I know that you will be determined to carry on your brave work to further the cause of human rights in Turkey despite this outrageous and cowardly act," the message states.

In Strasbourg, the European Parliament approved a resolution condemning the armed attack against the IHD chairman and urged that the attackers be brought to justice, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs, John Shattuck, sent a letter quite simply stating:

"I am not alone in believing Turkey owes you a debt of gratitude for your courageous work on behalf of human rights in Turkey.
Your group and human rights NGO community at large in Turkey play a vital role in promoting greater democracy. We continue to urge the Turkish Government to foster an atmosphere where such groups can operate freely and openly without fear of intimidation so that democracy in Turkey can flourish".


U.S. State Department Press Statement 12 May 1998

Human Rights Association (HRA) President Akin Birdal was shot repeatedly in the chest by unknown gunmen just before noon on May 12 at the HRA offices in Ankara, and is in critical condition in an Ankara hospital. A group calling itself the "Turkey Vengeance Brigade" has claimed responsibility.

The U.S. strongly condemns the apparent assasination attempt against Akin Birdal, one of the foremost human rights advocates in Turkey.

We note Prime Minister Yilmaz' condemnation of this attack, and urge the Turkish authorities to move swiftly to bring to justice the perpetrators of this reprehensible attack.

Akin Birdal has dedicated himself to improving Turkey's human rights situation. The U.S. strongly supports the vital role of non-governmental organizations in democratic society and calls upon Turkish authorities to create an atmosphere where these groups can flourish.