The trial of the man accused with the murder of Deniz Poyraz started on Wednesday in Izmir, Turkey, with a large group of lawyers representing the family of the victim attending the session. As hundreds, mostly from political parties and NGO representatives were admitted to the courtroom, hundreds were also denied entry.
Deniz Poyraz, a member of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was killed by an armed assailant at HDP’s Izmir office on 17 June, and the assailant Onur Gencer was captured red-handed right after the incident at the scene of crime with his gun.
Although there were reports on Gencer’s involvement in Turkey’s military operations in Syria as well as his own social media posts showing him posing with assault rifles and sharing notes that read ‘back from mission’, he is the only person indicted in the case.
It has been reportedly unnerving at the initial session of the trial for the audience to witness police officers guarding Onur Gencer having a warm friendly chat with him, and the accused looking into the eyes of the attendees in a display of arrogant self-confidence as he was brought into the courtroom.
The session was attended by the HDP co-chair and MP Pervin Buldan, chair of the Workers Party of Turkey and MP Erkan Baş, deputy chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and MP Gülizar Biçer Karaca, with also a group of other MPs, chairs of bar associations, officials of human rights organisations, women’s rights organisations, Alevi organisations and many political parties without parliamentary representation.
As some police officers reportedly made attempts to video-record the audience in an act of intimidation, lawyers representing the victim’s families intervened and the recording was prevented.
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan showed her reaction to the way Onur Gencer was being treated at the court by intervening when the judge calmly asked him what his educational status was.
She got up and addressed the judges, saying, “You can’t ask this question in such a calm manner, he’s a murderer.”
“This man got training at Manbij. This man got training from the Islamic State,” she said, referring to Gencer’s alleged service in Turkey’s military operations in North and East Syria.
During the session, as the lawyers voiced their complaints over the lack of a full inquiry into the whole investigation process starting from the very beginning, the judges interrupted by asking the lawyers ‘to be brief’.
The trial was postponed until 24 January.