Family of Gülistan Doku battered by police and detained in front of Justice Ministry

The family of Gülistan Doku, a young Kurdish woman who went missing on January 5, 2020, was battered by the police yesterday and detained in front of Turkey’s Ministry of Justice, Turkish media reported.

The family was staging a sit-in at the ministry since their request for a meeting with Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ was rejected. The family was released from detention a few hours later.

The family has been staging protests in front of a courthouse in Tunceli since July 2021, saying the police covered up the fate of their daughter and failed to do its job. Their protests have attracted police intervention.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) rejected a request from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Thursday to establish a parliamentary commission to investigate the fate and whereabouts of the missing young woman.

The request was supported by other opposition parties such as the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party.

Speaking about the inquiry, HDP deputy Şevin Coşkun said investigations into Doku’s whereabouts had not been effectively carried out.

“It is the responsibility of all of us to bring the fate and whereabouts of Gülistan Doku to light; an investigation commission should be established as soon as possible so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice,” she said.

Minister Soylu said on Twitter that the authorities had done everything in their power to find Doku.

However opposition deputies such as Sezgin Tanrikulu from the CHP have pointed out that the authorities were deliberately blocking investigations into the circumstances of Doku’s disappearance.

Doku, 21, went missing in Tunceli, where she was attending university. She was last seen arguing with her boyfriend, Zaynal Abarakov, in front of a bakery. Later, images of her sitting on a bridge over a reservoir emerged, prompting authorities to believe she had died by suicide and police searching the reservoir.

However, there was no sign of Doku’s body, and the family filed a complaint against Abarakov. According to the Tunceli Public Prosecutor’s Office there was no indication that someone had jumped into the reservoir at the time Doku was said to have been seen at the bridge. Doku’s family argued that this was a clear indication that their daughter had not died by suicide and that Abarakov could be responsible for her disappearance.

The Justice for Gülistan Committee, a civil society organization that is monitoring her case, claimed the police had failed to carry out its responsibilities. According to the committee, the testimonies of Doku’s friends were not taken for hours after they reported her missing.

One woman identified as Dilek said that after she spoke to law enforcement, the phrase “Gülistan said she would throw herself into the lake” was added to her statement without her knowledge. Police records also indicate conflicting accounts about the day Doku disappeared.

The committee believes Abarakov’s stepfather Engin Y., who is also a policeman, is involved in a coverup. Engin Y. was part of the investigation and was the first police officer to report that “an object had dropped into the lake” at the time Doku went missing. Engin Y.’s report informed the course of the investigation and the search of the lake.

Engin Y. is also currently under investigation for sharing confidential information and documents in the case with the press.

According to Doku’s sister, Aygül Doku, her sister and Abarakov had a disagreement the day before she disappeared. Abarakov tried to force Doku into a car, but she managed to get away. Doku’s family is demanding that the authorities conduct a thorough investigation and determine what happened to the young woman.

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