Turkish police to journalist: If you don’t speak, we’ll throw you off balcony

 

Turkish police have reportedly raided the house of journalist Buğrahan Aydoğan in Çorlu district of Tekirdağ province on Sunday night for the second time to detain him and allegedly threatened him before detention by saying that “If you do not speak, we will throw you off the balcony. And in the police report, we would write that when he saw the police, he jumped from the balcony and committed suicide.”

Aydoğan, who used to work as a provincial representative of a national newspaper before the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, was released after 160 days of imprisonment over an unfounded denunciation. After being released, he has reportedly been worked in various jobs including stall-holder in order to be able to adapt to his life.

However, a large number of police have reportedly launched an operation in Aydoğan’s house on Sunday midnight. Aydoğan’s family members have shared what they have experienced during the police raid on their Twitter account and wrote as follows:

“On February 25, 2018, at 00:30, Buğrahan Aydoğan opened the door without wasting time as the door was knocked very hard. He was very surprised to see the police again. Seven policemen entered the house with their shoes as they were insulting him at the same time.

“After locking Buğrahan in one of the rooms, the police officers searched the apartment. With the anger of being unable to find anything they handcuffed Buğrahan’s hands behind his back.

“The fattest police officer got Buğrahan Aydoğan on the ground and started to jump on him. The police started hitting his head with a laptop brought from the other room. They said something unclear such as ‘Talk to me! Where are the money you collected?’

“They said that ‘If you do not speak, we will throw you off the balcony. And in the police report, we would write that when he saw the police, he jumped from the balcony and committed suicide.’ When Buğrahan Aydoğan asked what the crime he committed, he was insulted as ‘triator, terrorist…’

“When all this happened, they didn’t take anyone from the family to the room. With the stream of insults they detained Buğrahan Aydogan.

“Buğrahan Aydogan is now in the custody of police headquarter in Çorlu district of Tekirdağ province and has not allowed to meet his lawyer. We are concerned about the ill-treatment for Buğrahan.”

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 240 journalists and media workers are in jails as of February 22, 2018, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 205 are arrested pending trial, only 35 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 140 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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