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May 2022
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Diyarbakir Military Court Resumes Trial Investigating Death of Turkish-Armenian Soldier



On January 25, a military court in Diyarbakir province resumed the trial of Kıvanç Ağaoğlu , the alleged killer of Turkish-Armenian soldier Sevag Balıkçı during their compulsory military service on April 24, 2011.

Sevag Balıkçı was killed in Batman, southeastern Turkey where he was serving his last 23 days as a conscripted private. Official military reports have consistently claimed that the Armenian was killed unintentionally during a “friendly prank”.

The lengthy trial has had many twists and turns and conflicting testimony from witnesses.

During the trial’s ninth hearing in November 2012, defense lawyer İbrahim Gök motioned for a media ban on all further hearings, arguing that the trial was becoming “politicized” and that the case has nothing to do with the events of 1915. His request was denied.

Garo Paylan, an activist from Justice for Sevag Initiative, said Turkey’s main forensic institution issued a report proving that Kıvanç Ağaoğlu’s rifle was shot in parallel to the victim, a fact that might refute claims of an accident.

“The advocates of victim’s parents pointed out the contradiction in the testimony of witnesses. They demanded witness testimonies before the court and a new investigation. The testimony process might have been flawed because they were all taken in different cities,” Paylan said.

He also reminded the court’s order to decide on the testimonies according to the upcoming expert report.

“Turkish state feeds hatred against minorities”

The Turkish Armenian civic group Nor Zartonk and the Justice For Sevag Initiative made a public statement prior to the January 25 trial and raised the issue of recent attacks against elderly Armenian women in Samatya. ,

“For over 150 years, the authorities in this land always sacrificed individuals and groups which they could not assimilate. Just like in 1915, the crimes against Armenians in Turkey still go unpunished. Racism and chauvinism is fed by state authorities to be used against minorities,” the statement reads.