The Turkish police on Monday detained Ferhat Encü, the İstanbul provincial co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and at least 35 others who gathered to make a statement on yesterday’s police brutality against Encü, Artı Gerçek reported.
Encü was slapped by a policeman on Sunday during a protest in İstanbul’s Kadıköy district against human rights violations in Turkish prisons. A cameraman of Artı Gerçek was also detained, while a correspondent of the same outlet was battered by the police during the protest organised by the families of prisoners.
A group, including former HDP MP Encü, gathered on Monday in front of the HDP’s district headquarters to read a press statement condemning the police brutality against Encü and the relatives of prisoners.
However, the district governor of Kadıköy banned the reading of the statement and the police attacked the group after HDP co-chairs entered the district headquarters.
Some members of the riot police also entered the building, while the police moved the press away from the area, Artı Gerçek said, adding that the police officer who slapped Encü a day earlier was also among the intervening security forces.
The police closed all streets surrounding the HDP Kadıköy headquarters and blockaded it, while detaining Encü and at least 35 protesters. According to the Mezopotamya News Agency, the number of detainees reached almost 100, including the other İstanbul provincial co-chair and some senior executives of the HDP.
Despite the police blockade, HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan gave a speech.
“I want to say dear friends, but our friends are not with us. I want to say dear members of the press, but members of the press are not with us,” she said. The blockade today will remain as a black stain on Turkey’s democracy, on Turkey’s justice, on Turkey’s law,” she added.
Buldan said that the police officer’s assault on Encü was also an indicator of the intolerance to the will of the people in İstanbul, and in Roboski, a village in the southeastern province of Şırnak where Encü was born and where 34 unarmed people were killed by the Turkish jets in 2011.
Reminding that the anniversary of the 28 December Roboski Massacre is only days away, Buldan said that the police who slapped Encü were encouraged by the government and the country’s Interior Minister.
“It is not just a slap,” Buldan said. “It is a sign of hostility against Kurds. It is a sign of hostility against the HDP. It is the sign of unfairness and unlawfulness against democratic politics,” she continued.
“This is the picture of the government’s fear,” the party’s other co-chair Mithat Sancar said about the police blockade. “Why are they afraid? Because they have created a criminal empire. The reason they want to block the HDP and its components and alliances, who are giving the most effective, the most determined, the most uncompromising struggle against this criminal empire, is that they know the power that can change this picture lies here,” he added.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), denounced the police blockade against Sancar on Twitter.
“Under no circumstances should political party chairs be made subject to police blockade under orders. I condemn this disgraceful act against Mithat Sancar,” Kılıçdaroğlu wrote.