Far-right party member targets rights lawyer, claiming she carried out İstanbul attack

Banner by Human Rights Association (İHD) saying that: ''Stop targeting human rights defenders! We stand by Jiyan Tosun and Eren Keskin''

Kurdish lawyer and member of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Jiyan Tosun was targeted by Adem Taşkaya, a member of the far-right Zafer (Victory) Party, immediately after a bombing in İstanbul on Sunday, falsely claiming that Tosun was the perpetrator of the attack, Turkish media reported.

A powerful explosion rocked the popular İstiklal shopping street in İstanbul on Sunday, killing six people and injuring 81. The Turkish government blamed the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the attack; however, the PKK denied the accusations and said the group had nothing to do with it.

Tosun was in another part of İstanbul with one of her clients at the time of the explosion. Later, she was briefly detained by the police after Taşkaya tweeted, “The perpetrator of the heinous attack in Taksim is a PKK lawyer named Jiyan Tosun.”

Taşkaya’s deleted tweet (“The perpetrator of the heinous attack in Taksim is a PKK lawyer named Jiyan Tosun.”

Taşkaya deleted his tweet a few minutes after he posted it, admitting that “the photo of the perpetrator was correct, but the information was false.”

The police on Monday arrested the alleged perpetrator of the explosion, a 23-year-old Syrian woman named Ahlam Albashir.

After her release, Tosun said she received dozens of death threats due to Taşkaya’s tweet.

Tosun went to court on Sunday evening to file a criminal complaint against Taşkaya and waited until morning at the courthouse because she didn’t feel safe due to the countless death threats she had received.

Eren Keskin, a lawyer and co-chair of the İHD, also received death threats after the blast. Eren said she received calls from Turkey and abroad threatening her with death and rape. Keskin said even if the tweet had been deleted, the false information had been circulated. “I don’t know why we were singled out, but neither I nor Jiyan have life insurance now,” Keskin added.

Taşkaya said he might apologize to Tosun and Keskin, stating, “Let’s wait until the attacks against me stop. I will write something. It is not just an attack against them. I’m in the same situation.”

”We give the number of every person who calls to threaten us to the prosecutor’s office. We pursue them to the end,” Keskin said at a news conference at the İHD’s İstanbul office on Monday.

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