Kurdish teenager found dead in Turkish police target practice area

Kurdish teenager found dead in Turkish police target practice area
2 min read
27 March, 2022
The boy's death may have been caused by an explosive device he found on the site, which is used by the local police for training.
The victim's body was found in the rural Sanliurfa province in eastern Turkey. [Getty]

The body of a Kurdish teenager was found on Thursday in Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province in an area used by the local police for shooting practice, the Turkish daily Ahval reported on Sunday.

Sixteen-year-old Muharrem Aksem went missing on Wednesday and his body was found on Thursday by his relatives, who had gone out searching for him in the surrounding countryside.

Aksem was shepherding a herd of animals on the day he disappeared.

His body was found, riddled with wounds, in an open area used by local police unites for shooting practice.

Residents of a nearby village told Turkish daily Mezopotamia that another shepherd had been injured in the area - which is not fenced off - three months prior, and that they had seen unused grenades on the site.

Local residents say they had raised concerns with local authorities in the past about the site being unsafe, but were ignored. 

In a press release, the office of the Sanliurfa governor confirmed that the area where the body was found had "been used as an official shooting and training ground by the provincial police since 2005".

According to the statement, no bullet wounds were found on Aksem's body, leading authorities to consider that he died "as a result of the explosion of an object that he could have found in the field".

Turkish authorities have opened an investigation into the death.

Sanliurfa province is located in southeastern Turkey near the border with Syria. It hosts a majority of Turkish Kurds and large Turkish and Arab minorities.