Turkish exchange student 'murdered by PKK' in Poland

Turkish exchange student 'murdered by PKK' in Poland
A Turkish national has been arrested on charges of murdering a Turkish exchange student in Poland, in what some are claiming is a politically-motivated attack.
2 min read
13 March, 2019
Turkish media are claiming the attack was politically motivated [Getty]
A Turkish exchange student was stabbed to death in a Polish shopping mall on Saturday by a Turkish national, in a murky saga that Turkish media are claiming to be a politically-motivated attack, despite the alleged assailant being reported missing and potentially killed by the government last year.

Furkan Kocaman, an Erasmus exchange student from Konya, was reportedly eating with a friend in the shopping centre in Wroclaw when he was stabbed in the neck and died at the scene, according to a statement from his family members.

The assailant, confirmed by the Turkish Embassy as Muhammet Emektar, was caught by police while trying to flee the scene. Emektar is "a sympathiser of the PKK" according to Hüseyin Özgül, Kocaman's grandfather and the local head of Konya's Köprübaşı neighborhood.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is outlawed in Turkey and has been designated as a terrorist group since 2005, after waging a bloody insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in the country's east.

However in a murky turn of events, reports have surfaced that a Turkish human rights NGO reported Emektar missing in April 2018, claiming he had been killed by the government.

The Ankara-based Human Rights Association (IHD), which has ties to the pro-Kurdish HDP party, claimed 29-year-old Emektar had been missing since April 30, reportedly holding several press conferences in which it maintained he had been killed off by the government. IHD have not yet made a statement on Emektar's arrest.

Since the failed coup against Erdogan's government in 2016, over 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial in a far-reaching clampdown on suspected coup supporters, including Islamists and pro-Kurdish factions. Some 15,000 in the military have also been sacked.

The leader of the HDP party, Selhattin Demirtas, was also detained in 2016. The charismatic politician is charged with a string of offences, including terrorist propaganda, for which he faces up to 142 years' imprisonment. International bodies includes the EU have repeatedly called for his release.

The armed Kurdish insurgency began in 1984. To date, the conflict has killed approximately 40,000 people.

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