A total of 16 pedestrians, including nine children and a disabled person, have died after being hit by government vehicles since 2018, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the findings of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV).
Forty-one individuals, including 13 children, were injured in similar incidents during the same period.
The killing of civilians by armored vehicles is common in Turkey’s Southeast, where there is a heavy military presence due to ongoing clashes between the Turkish military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Mihraç Miroğlu, a 7-year-old boy, was hit by a police vehicle in the predominantly Kurdish-populated Şırnak province on the evening of Sept. 3. He was riding a bicycle when he was hit by an armored vehicle and was taken to İdil State Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to Mehmet Emin Tümür, co-chair of the Diyarbakır branch of the Mechanical Engineers Chamber, armored vehicles are too heavy and too large for residential areas.
“These vehicles have too many blind spots, and it’s very difficult to sense your surroundings,” he said. “If these vehicles are driven above the speed limit, it becomes very difficult to control them.”
Tümür said the vehicles need to be fitted with better sensory devices if they are to be used in cities. He added that it was quite dangerous for them to be used in city traffic and pedestrian areas because they were developed to be used in fields and warzones.
The police officer who caused Mihraç’s death was freed after testifying to a prosecutor. In his statement, the police officer claimed he was not driving the vehicle very fast and that he regrets the tragedy.
A police accident report concerning the incident found the child to be the primarily negligent party.