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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Turkish police beat, threaten to rape detainees

From Hurriyet Daily News, during the Gezi demonstrations, but I don't recall seeing it anywhere:
What you will read below is extremely disturbing. It is the firsthand impressions of a Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University student who was detained by police in connection with the Gezi Park incidents in Istanbul.

The entry you will read below came through the Internet. It was on the Facebook page of the person narrating. It was also in Hürriyet columnist Yalçın Bayer’s web version of his column. It was sent to Yalçın Bayer by Professor Işık Aytaç, again from Bosphorus University, as the account of her student Erkan Yolalan, who shared his story on his Facebook page.
...

“Last night (June 3, 2013) around 9 p.m. I was detained in Beşiktaş, at traffic lights on Barbaros Avenue. I was not involved in any action like swearing or throwing stones. They took me in bending my arm the moment they saw me. Some friends of mine saw on TV how I was taken into custody. Then hell began.

“After crossing the lights in the direction of the seaside, while I was at the edge of the platform where the IETT bus stops are at the seaside, any policeman who was there and any riot police squad member (çevik kuvvet) who saw me started kicking and punching me. For about 100-150 meters, in other words, all the way to the Kadıköy ferry station, whoever was present there was kicking and punching. Insults and curses such as ‘Are you the ones to save this country, mother f***, sons of ****,’ never ended. I could not count how many people hit me before I reached the detention bus.

“Just as I was taken near the buses, a few policemen called from behind a bus, ‘Bring him here.’ They took me behind the bus and started kicking and punching me there. I learned later that because of the cameras they took me behind the bus to beat me.

“When I was inside the detention bus (İETT) the lights were out, and I heard a girl’s voice begging inside the bus: ‘I did not do anything, sir.’ I could not even see who was hitting me as I was taken inside the bus and after I was in the bus. The only thing I was able to do in the dark was to cover my head. Curses and insults continued. I sat. Everyone who was passing near me was hitting me. I got up and went to a corner. They wanted me to take a seat again. I told them everyone who passed by was hitting me when I was seated.

They again swore, slapped and punched me and made me sit.

“They were hitting the girl and throttling her. A civilian policeman whose name is İsmail said exactly this to the girl, ‘I will bend you over and f*** you right now.’ [He – Erkan Yolalan- later added that this policeman İsmail also said, “Now that it is dark and the lights are off I will ****”]

“And the response of the girl was heartbreaking. With a low voice, she could only say ‘Yes, sir.’

“And next, we, the three people present at the bus, were forced to shout: ‘I love the Turkish police. I love my country.’ They made us yell this again and again ordered us to make it ‘louder, louder.’ The insults and beating did not come to an end.

“The atmosphere seemed a bit calmer, but this time they brought another young person. The guy’s nose was broken. When I asked him why he didn’t protect his face, he told me ‘Two people held me by force and a third person punched my nose three times.’ From time to time there were others brought in.

“A young person named Mustafa from Bahçeşehir University was brought then. Twenty policemen from the riot squad had attacked him, and he looked too weak even to stand up. Slapping and punching him near the detention bus was not enough for them, they hit his head with a helmet. That was not enough either, they hit his head on the bus window. They took him inside the bus while continuously hitting him. His hands were cuffed from behind; his head was bleeding; they made him sit on the floor.
[...]

“Once we were at the police station, an army of lawyers was waiting for us. And the policemen now were talking to us on polite terms.
The columnist goes on to predict what will happen:
Note to international readers: Do you know what will happen? This person Erkan will be terrorized with scores of lawsuits filed against him by the policemen in question, all testifying that he attacked them first. The public prosecutor will process these cases much faster, even before the cases against them begin. Collecting the evidence will take ages. The guy and all the others on that detention bus and any others testifying for him will be found guilty and will be given jail sentences. Earmark this paragraph for future reference.