Daughter: Death of Turkish writer who fell from balcony during police raid suspicious

Mustafa Hikmet Kayapalı, a 59-year-old theologian and author.

Şeyma Ölmez, the daughter of Turkish writer Mustafa Hikmet Kayapalı who passed away after allegedly falling from a three-storey-building in the Balıkesir province in May 9, 2017, said police officers may have had a role in her father’s death.

Kayapalı fell to his death, state-run Anadolu agency (AA) reported and alleging that the 59-year-old author writer attempted to escape a police raid as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement on May 9. AA did not elaborate on the incident further but said the iron bar he was holding was broke off and he fell to the ground from the third floor.

Mustafa Hikmet Kayapalı, 59-year-old theologian and author died after allegedly falling from the balcony of an apartment’s third floor, as he was allegedly attempting to escape from a police raid.

Kayapalı’s passing away marked the second suspicious death early May where victims died in the same way, raising allegations that police may have been deliberately involved in the incident. In a similar incident, Gültekin Payat, a 41-year-old teacher with an outstanding arrest warrant issued against him as part of another investigation into the movement, died after falling 10 meters from a balcony, as he also reportedly attempted to escape from police officers. Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

In a statement shared on Twitter on June 5, daughter Şeyma Şlmez has detailed the police raid, adding that police may have played role in his father’s fall.

“We were sipping our tea in the kitchen with the whole family at around 22.30 on a Tuesday night on May 9, 2017. My father stood up to prepare for his prayer, told my husband that he would be waiting for him to pray together, and left the kitchen. My husband followed him after a while. Then got up my mother to take care of my daughter.

“Meanwhile, our door was knocked (no bell ringing). They never rang the bell. I’m underlining this part for a reason. Because my father has been able to hear only in one ear for the past 30 years. He would always ask people to talk loudly even when they sit just near him. So, it is not possible for him to hear the police knocking the door. Even I did not know that it was police knocking at the other side of the door.

“…Everyone was busy with something and I opened the door. As soon as I opened it, nearly 10 plainclothes policemen broke in,” Şeyma said adding that they gathered everyone in the living room and seized all cellphones at home.

“Meanwhile, a voice came out of from inside. After a few minutes, someone shouted: ‘He is running away, he is running away.’ And a few police officers went outside after a while. The remaining police officers did not let us move. None of us including me, my husband and my mother were not able to witness what happened in that room. We only heard some voices.

“Then they told us that they would carry out a search at home. They searched the home for 2 hours and none of us were let go out of the room. In the interim, a policeman told us that father was taken to hospital with his legs broken.

“…The search was completed at around 01:30 in the morning. My husband was taken outside for testimony. Meanwhile, I had a chance to take a look at outside, and I saw my father lying on the ground in blood. There were some people around my father. I went back to my mother but couldn’t tell him what I saw as she has psychological problems. I just kept silent. I couldn’t even cry.

“The hour of the father’s death was recorded as 23:50 pm. We did not hear any ambulance siren. We only know that he was taken in an ambulance. Nobody even told us that he died. Only my husband was told at around 01.30 am.

“…Now I believe I have a right to ask some questions:

“1. Would a 59-year-old man who is not even aware of an arrest warrant against him, jump off the balcony only because he saw some plainclothes people?

“2. The hour of his death was recorded as 23:50 pm. It was already 01:30 am when we found out that. Did they make us wait in a room under pressure and fabricated an explanation for their crime?

“3. It was around 23:00 pm when they raided our home. My father is reported to have died on 23:50 pm. I saw my father in blood on 01:30 am. Didn’t any ambulance come during this period? Didn’t they call one?

“4. If an ambulance was ultimately dispatched, didn’t they carry out immediate treatment?”

Seyma also tweeted: “All the happenings back in that nigh! I want this issue resolved. I will be following it.”

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has reported in its recent study titled “Suspicous Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention. SCF has compiled 79 cases of suspicious death and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) June 21, 2017

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