Minor beaten up by alleged plainclothes police officers during Turkey’s Kurdish protests

A video that was widely circulated on social media following the eruption of post-election protests in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish provinces showed a minor being brutally mistreated by what journalists claimed to be plainclothes police officers intervening in the protests.

In the video taken from an apartment, the minor was intercepted while running through the street. He was then pushed to the ground and beaten up.

The footage led to a widespread outcry on social media, with many users questioning what the Turkish public’s reaction would be if the video was of a Palestinian being assaulted by Israeli security forces instead of a Kurd.

“It is very similar to what’s happening in the West Bank, isn’t it?” said academic Emrah Gülsunar. “Because both cases involve a people being treated as if it doesn’t exist and violently suppressed when it reacts.”

“This is what terror looks like,” said journalist Neşe İdil, in reaction to pro-government media reports that described the protesters as “supporters of terrorism.”

“The raison d’état of the 1990s has stepped in,” said human rights defender Eren Keskin, referring to a decade when the human rights situation in Turkey’s Kurdish regions was marred by torture and abductions allegedly perpetrated by security forces or clandestine groups acting on behalf of the state.

Journalist İsmail Arı said the scene was reminiscent of Ali İsmail Korkmaz, a 19-year-old man who was beaten to death by police officers during the nationwide Gezi Park protests of 2013.

The video emerged from the southeastern province of Hakkari after Turkish election authorities refused to grant a mandate to Abdullah Zeydan, the candidate from the pro-Kurdish People’s Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) who won the mayoral election in Van in a landslide.

The local election commission instead decided to give the mandate to Abdullah Arvas, the runner-up from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Protests erupted in Van and quickly spread to other Kurdish-majority provinces in reaction to what many saw as an assault on Kurds’ political rights, echoing the summary ouster and replacement of dozens of elected Kurdish mayors by the Interior Ministry after the previous local elections of 2019.

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