A Turkish shepherd was reportedly shot and killed by border guards on Wednesday after illegally crossing into Armenia to retrieve his sheep said to have gone astray.
Turkish media reported on Thursday that the 35-year-old man, Mustafa Ulker, grazed his livestock in Turkey’s eastern Kars province bordering Armenia. It quoted the provincial governor, Eyup Tepe, as saying that Turkish authorities are now trying to recover Ulker’s body.
“The Armenian side wants to return the body. Our brigade's assistant commander and the district governor are at the border,” Tepe said, according to “Today’s Zaman” daily.
“This incident took place when he returned to retrieve the animal,” “Hurriyet Daily News” quoted the district chief, Osman Ugurlu, as saying.
Tepe blamed the incident on “Armenian soldiers” who he said reacted disproportionately to what he described as an unintentional borer violation. He said that the shepherd was not armed.
Armenia’s closed border with Turkey is protected by Russian border guards backed by Armenian personnel. Their spokesman, Sergey Grechin, was quoted by Armenian and Russian news agencies as saying that an “incident” did occur at the border and is now being investigated. Grechin declined to comment further.
Turkish herdsmen have reportedly crossed the Turkish-Armenian frontier on a number of occasions in the past. They all were detained and deported without any bloodshed.