On 20 May, on the Pilur road of Dersim, a woman was put on the ground with a gun held to her head by Turkish soldiers on suspicion of being a suicide bomber. The incident happened in broad daylight in a crowded street.
Witnesses told the soldiers that they knew the woman well. Later, when it was understood that the woman was not a suicide bomber, two gendarmerie personnel were suspended.
Locals have expressed anger over the incident. İbrahim Talay, a witness, thinks that the authorities want to create fear. “They claimed the woman was a suicide bomber but it is not true, it was just an excuse. They just want to create fear.” Talay said that although the soldiers were suspended, they will not be sufficiently punished and will be able to start working again after the incident is forgotten.
Nuri Uçan, another witness, recalled the 1938 Dersim massacre, when thousands of civilians in Dersim were killed by the Turkish state: “Since then, the state’s treatment of our people has been oppressive, and they aim to assimilate everyone,” he said, adding: “We should never accept such treatment, whether it is a man or a woman.”
Serkan Çelebi was equally frustrated by the state’s heavy-handed policing: “Their goal is to control people with fear. It is enough, we are sick of being treated like this, all these pressures, threats…”