Four racist attacks on Kurds have been reported in the western provinces of Turkey over the past month – in Ankara, Afyon and Konya. A 43-year-old Kurdish seasonal worker Hakim Dal lost his life when he and his family were attacked by a group of people in Konya.
Another attack targeting Kurdish workers occurred on 19 July in the Dereçine town of the Sultandağı district in Afyon, where seven members of a family were injured. The families were forced to return to their hometowns afterwards.
Azize Tan and her 19-year-old son Ismail Tan, who returned from Afyon to Diyarbakır (Amed) after an incident, spoke to MA.
Ismail Tan stated that there had been a dispute in the hairdresser’s shop where his cousins had gone for a haircut. When they complained about others being served while they were kept waiting, even though they had arrived before them, the hairdresser reportedly insulted them, making racist remarks.
When they went to the police station to file a complaint, they were told that the legal process would take 4-5 years and it would be a waste of time. “So we decided to go back to our tent,” Ismail noted.
“Then, as my other cousins passed the hairdresser’s shop, the hairdresser came out with a pair of scissors in his hand, asking them why they were looking in. My cousins said they were not, and then the hairdresser tried to attack my cousins. People from two coffee shops joined him. I ran towards them. I saw the attack. But then we all tried to run away because there were 30-40 of them. We were separated when we were running and I got caught. They were swearing and telling me that I was a ‘terrorist,’ that I made a ‘victory sign.’ They were also recording it on video as they set about beating me. They yelled, ‘Bring some rope, let’s tie him up’, and I ran away, then got caught again.”
He detailed the way he was asked to change his statement in the police station. “When I said that some 20-30 people were involved in the attack, the officer wanted me to mention only a few names as the perpetrators. So I mentioned the names of the hairdresser, his father and a third person. Now, I realize that the reason they wanted me to mention just a few names was to file the incident as an occasional dispute. But it certainly was a racist attack.”
Azize Tan stated that as she was making a statement in the police station, she was told that some officials in town wanted them to leave immediately. “When I returned back, our things were already packed. They said, ‘Get out of here in half an hour.'”
“We were told that they had warned the people arriving in town to work before us not to speak Kurdish. I always thought that similar attacks I saw on the news were exaggerated. I thought so till we were ourselves attacked. They could have killed my children. What we have lived through is a not just a dispute in a hairdresser’s.”