Human rights defenders react to the police violence in Turkey

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) Chairwoman Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Human Rights Association (İHD) Chairman Öztürk Türkdoğan evaluated the police violence cases for Evrensel.

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) Chairwoman Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Human Rights Association (İHD) Chairman Öztürk Türkdoğan reacted to the incidents of police violence from various parts of the country. Over the past few days, videos posted on social media showed police officers beating citizens in İstanbul (Kadıköy, Sultangazi, Eyüp, Zeytinburnu), Tekirdağ (Çorlu), Edirne (Keşan), Ankara (Etimesgut), Mardin (Nusaybin), Şırnak (Cizre) and Adana.

Fincancı said that when the Minister of the Interior, Süleyman Soylu has a similar attitude and sees the right to insult the citizens who pay their salaries from their taxes. These insults have no consequences but are legitimized when citizens are convicted for exercising their right to criticize, thereby justifying authoritarianism. Those that are violently detained have investigations against them on the grounds of resisting police which is a widespread form or intimidation.

Stating that these events occurred because those who authorized the police did not apply the brakes, Türkdoğan said, “There is a state of unconstitutionality, not an authority. The Speaker of the Assembly, the Minister of the Interior should make a statement saying, “The police cannot do this,” but we do not hear this.  Someone has to say stop to the police”.


TİHV Chairwoman Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı evaluated the violent images to Evrensel.

Fincancı said, “I think that the police practices in Istanbul Kadıköy, which started with Çorlu, are important in terms of showing how the law enforcement officers perceive their relations with the citizens, and that the information about the violation of the curfew according to the statement in Çorlu is just as important. Outbreak conditions; Unfortunately, allowed the authority, which started with voluntary abandonment of rights, to become widespread, and thus to legitimize authoritarianism.”

“The informer understanding which is a growing trend in society along with the discourse hostility of politics should not be forgotten. The police violence starting in front of the garden door with no lead to the street, witnessed and recorded by another citizen as a hopeful action, is met with threat and verbal intervention which is regarded as a consequence of the impunity of law enforcement violence in Turkey”. Said Fincancı and continued as follows:

“It is also a common intimidation practice to open an investigation against those that are detained on the grounds that they resisted the police. In the İHD (Human Rights Association) 2019 report, the number of investigations opened against resistance to the police is over 163 thousand. This figure shows that 1 in every 500 citizens have resisted the police when in fact the reality is the unjust detentions and police violence, met with legitimate resistance from people. It is the aim to prevent such lawsuits as a means of intimidation”.

Recalling the violence in Kadıköy, Fincancı said, “While a police officer was shouting at a citizen and saying ‘because I made that decision’, he is acting above law imposed on him and he should know this, however,  the Minister of the Interior himself had a similar attitude towards citizens that pay his salary through their taxes. When they find the right to insult the citizens, these insults are legitimized through judicial convictions which take away the right for people to criticize. It seems that there is a need to rethink citizen and bureaucracy, to establish institutional relations in place … ”.


İHD Chairman Öztürk Türkdoğan said, “The main reason behind the police violence in Çorlu is this: Police say, “I am the state”. Nobody that receives a salary from the state can say this. He President cannot either because he has limited powers. The primary duty of the police is to protect the life safety of the citizen. However, if the police endanger the life safety of the citizen, there is illegalness here”.

However, Türkdoğan stated that these incidents occurred because those who authorized the police did not hit the brakes. The Speaker of the Assembly, the Minister of the Interior should make a statement saying, ‘The police cannot do this’, but we do not hear about it. Someone has to say stop to the police”.

In addition, Türkdoğan pointed out that the curfew could be taken as a state of emergency and quarantine, and that the government did not do both. However, Türkdoğan stated that there are districts and villages in which quarantine decisions were made and said that the curfew decisions were based on the authority of the governorships and therefore there was already a legal problem.

Stating that citizens have already complied with the measures taken by the government, Türkdoğan said, “Therefore, there is no need for detective measures. Despite this, perhaps more than a hundred thousand people were fined fees. These penalties need to be forgiven because you have made a decision with a legality problem to people. In addition, you have to warn people who do not comply with the curfew once, and give fines when they repeat”.

Translated by Dilan SEÇGİN

Source: Evrensel Daily

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