A Kurdish woman and her husband, both Turkish citizens, were beaten by customs officers as they crossed back into Turkey from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on Monday. Videos posted on social media show Yıldız Özdemir being kicked on the ground by the officers.
The couple had brought back a kilo of tea, five kilos of rice, and two kilos of sugar, as the customs officers discovered upon a search and interrogation. The goods were confiscated, leading Özdemir to protest.
The officers also confiscated several articles of clothing the couple were bringing back for their children, husband İrfan Özdemir told BBC Turkish. When she objected, Yıldız Özdemir was slapped and kicked around the head and body, and kicked again when she fell to the floor. “You are all animals,” one of the officers said to her.
Other officers later attempted to dissuade the couple from pressing charges. “Let’s not make a fuss for nothing, our friends made a mistake,” İrfan Özdemir recalled them saying.
Incidents like this occur frequently at the border gate, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Şırnak Nuran İmir said in a tweet. The HDP will follow this case up.
Şırnak Governor’s office announced on Tuesday that two officers had been suspended while the matter is being investigated.