Recent testimonies by political activists reveal that kidnappings by the police and intimidation accompanied by beatings have become a standard police treatment in Turkey and that such illegal practices are being sanctioned and covered up by senior officers and left unpunished.
Youth members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK), an umbrella organisation for various political parties and groups in Turkey, said that they were kidnapped, illegally kept in custody, and beaten, MA reports.
The two young activists held a press conference at the Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul Office and detailed what happened to them.
Murat Çoral, an activist of the People’s Democratic Congress, said that he and two of his friends were stopped by police in an armoured vehicle after they had attended a protest on 13 August.
Emphasising that they were members of a legal party, he explained how they were then physically forced into the armored vehicle and were beaten while in the vehicle that was in motion.
“They drove us around Sancaktepe for half an hour. Then they drove to a forested area in Sarıgazi,” he said. “First they took a friend out of the armoured vehicle and tortured him. Then they took myself and the other friend out. They asked us what we were doing in the neighborhood. We were beaten and tortured. We were insulted and threatened.”
HDP Youth Assembly member Özcan Gökçur said that he was called to the Küçükçekmece Police Station on 12 August. He explained how two cars stopped next to him while he was waiting at the bus stop and how he was forced into one of the cars, his eyes were blindfolded.
“They drove for about an hour. Then they took me to another car, still blindfolded,” he explained. “After asking a few questions they took the blindfold off. The man facing me said he was a police officer; that he was the state himself.”
Züleyha Gülüm, a member of parliament for the People’s Democratic Party indicated at the press conference that there was a growing number of similar incidents lately.
“They are protected by the authorities; rewarded with impunity,” she said. “Although the victims file criminal complaints, the prosecutors do not even consider these worthy of any investigation… All these lead to a continuation of kidnappings and other incidents of criminal nature.”