Members of the Furkan Foundation, an anti-government religious group, on Sunday were beaten by police officers as they were trying to make a public statement in southern Turkey’s Adana province, Turkish media reported.
The foundation members wanted to protest the arrest of their president, Alparslan Kuytul, who was put in pretrial detention in early May in connection to the abduction of a businessman in the southern province of Adana last year.
The police intervened in the crowd with tear gas and beat protestors with batons.
Images on social media showed people sitting in the park with bleeding head wounds and heavily bruised faces.
Kuytul’s wife, Semra Kuytul, expressed outrage over the police brutality and said the officers also broke their microphones and insulted them. “Nobody has the right to damage private property,” she said.
Basın açıklaması yapmamıza müdahale ettiler.. Hoparlörün kablolarını aldılar, vereceğiz dediler, vermediler..
Haddinizi bileceksiniz diye bağıran müdür!!
Siz de haddinizi bileceksiniz!!
VATANDAŞIN HAKKINI DA MALINI DA GASPEDEMEZSİN!
— Semra Kuytul (@semrakuytul) May 22, 2022
Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu criticized the police mistreatment on Twitter, saying it was against the law.
Adana Emniyet’ine bağlı ekipler Alparslan Kuytul’a yakınlığı ile bildiğimiz Furkan Vakfı gönüllülerinin yapacakları basın açıklamasını engelledi.
Cop ve biber gazı kullanılarak dağıtıldı.
Kanunsuz emirleri artık yerine getirmeyin!#AlparslanHocayaÖzgürlükhttps://t.co/ABh4jwC9UI
— Sezgin Tanrıkulu (@MSTanrikulu) May 23, 2022
The Furkan Foundation is known for being critical of the Turkish government and for ardently advocating that religion and politics should not mix.
Kuytul, was arrested in 2018 for criticizing Turkey’s military involvement in northern Syria. He publicly opposed the government’s decision to send Turkish soldiers to Afrin, after which he was detained along with 28 other people from foundation.
They were charged with “abusing their religious power” and “organizing a terrorist organization.” Kuytul was acquitted in 2020, but raids on members’ homes and offices in various cities have repeatedly taken place since then.
According to recent data from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
(TİHV), Turkish police employed unlawful tactics including mistreatment and beating while detaining 13,935 people between 2018 and 2021.
In an earlier statement the TİHV said restricting or suspending the freedoms of assembly and demonstration was a way to narrow the scope of democratic citizenship and to gradually destroy democracy in Turkey.