1 September Peace Day rally in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district was targeted by Turkish police on Thursday, with more than 100 people taken into custody, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) announced on Thursday.
More than 70 of the detainees were women. HDP’s district offices also said that their co-chair Koray Türkay had several ribs broken in police custody. Türkay was hospitalised, after reporting torture and mistreatment.
Kurds in Turkey and progressive allies gathered in the Kadıköy district upon the call of the Labour, Peace and Democracy Forces platform, and were met with a heavy police presence. Women walking towards the rally assembly points were surrounded and prevented from entering the area by the police. Many were detained in this first altercation.
The police also attacked about 200 people who showed solidarity with members of the Peace Mothers group, who have been advocating for a resolution to the Kurdish issue by building bridges between women on both sides of the conflict.
Detainees were handcuffed behind their backs, which Turkish law stipulates should not be done without reason or for prolonged periods.
“Coming together to demand peace on World Peace Day is not a crime,” the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) İstanbul branch said in a statement, reporting on the arbitrary detention of dozens after the police intervention.
HDP Istanbul provincial chapter announced that co-chair İlknur Birol, central executive board member Elif Bulut, Women’s Council members and Peace Mothers were beaten up while being taken into custody. “They are afraid of peace because they feed on war,” the party said.
Women’s rights organisations also reacted to the arrests. Women’s Time Association reported the arrest of their chairwoman Dilek Başalan and said, “We will stand against women being murdered daily, corruption, and being dragged into war! Release our friends.”
The detainees were released in the morning after being held in police headquarters overnight.