Minister on harassed student: I won’t allow pressure on police over a woman with a Gülenist father

Turkish Minister of Interior Affairs Süleyman Soylu said on Wednesday that he would not let the police be pressured over a university student whose apparent sexual assault by a police officer during a protest on Saturday was caught on camera

Defending Ankara law enforcement, Soylu reiterated a police statement issued on Monday claiming that the student’s father is a purged Gülenist and her brother is linked to the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).

Turkish Interior Minister
Süleyman Soylu

The minister tweeted that he would not allow anyone to pressure the police force and added that such rough handling was the result of resisting the police during an illegal protest.

The young woman on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint against the police officer.

Speaking to the Artı Gerçek news website on Monday, the student, Merve Demirel, said she was sexually harassed by a police officer during a protest demanding the release of lawyers under arrest in Turkey. The moments of the alleged assault were captured on camera.

However, in a statement on Monday, the Ankara Police Department rejected the harassment allegations and even accused the woman of being the daughter of a father who has links to the Gülen movement.

In the statement posted on its website, the Ankara Police Department said Demirel’s father was a teacher who was removed from his post in 2016 due to his ties to the Gülen movement. He was fired because he was a member of a Gülen-linked labor union, according to the statement.

When asked on Tuesday about the Ankara Police Department’s claim concerning her father, Demirel said: “He [her father] has never been prosecuted. He was just removed from his post and then submitted a petition to [Parliament’s] Justice Commission about his ordeal. That is it. He was neither detained nor arrested [over Gülen links].”

Since July 15, 2016  around 150,000 civil servants have been purged under government decrees. According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, more than 500,000 people have been detained in countrywide police operations and some 30,000 are currently behind bars for their alleged ties to the movement after the abortive coup attempt.

In the complaint Demirel claimed she was intentionally harassed by the police officer who was trying to detain her. The woman attached the photos of the alleged sexual assault to her petition.

Demirel asked for the identification of the police officer as well as his arrest for violating his duties as a public officer. (SCF with

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