Turkish police who allegedly beat man filing a complaint still on the job

Police officers in Kocaeli province who were accused of beating a man in March are still on the job with no apparent consequences, one more example of the impunity with which law enforcement operates in Turkey.

The case was brought to public attention by Kocaeli MP from the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) and human rights advocate Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who submitted a parliamentary inquiry.

A 32-year-old man, identified only by the initials D.I., was allegedly beaten by police officers at the Darıca Central Police Station in Kocaeli on March 26, Kocaeli Gazetesi had reported on April 2.

D.I was complaining of harassing calls made to his spouse’s phone. Upon discovery that the person behind the calls was a fellow police officer, D.I. alleges that he was beaten by other officers at the station.

D.I. managed to record the incident on his mobile phone but later stated that officers forced him to delete the footage.

Shortly afterward, D.I.’s wife arrived at the station and realized her husband had been beaten. She then confronted the officers, declaring their intent to file a complaint.

Upon hearing this, the police filed their own charges against D.I. for obstructing an officer and insulting a public official.

D.I. was subsequently taken to Darıca Farabi State Hospital. D.I. claims that police officers had spoken with the doctor prior to his examination and that police intervention led to the inaccurate documentation of his injuries.

The medical report from this visit reportedly only noted “marks on his wrists due to being handcuffed.”

After being detained for about 16 hours and taken to the prosecutor’s office, D.I. was released and went to Tuzla State Hospital to request a new medical report. The second report contained numerous statements indicating that D.I. had been subjected to violence.

In response, Gergerlioğlu, posed a parliamentary question to Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya seeking confirmation of the incident, the status of any investigations into the officers involved in the beating and harassment and whether a statement would be issued about the assault.

Police mistreatment cases in Turkey are on the rise. The number of people who filed complaints alleging police mistreatment and brutality in 2022 increased by 22 percent in comparison to the previous year, according to a report prepared by the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV).

The youngest recorded victim of police mistreatment was just 3 years old, while the oldest was 76. Most complaints came from men, and 4 percent were from the LGBTQ community.

While the majority of complaints were filed in Istanbul, the number of complaints filed in the southeast of Turkey had dramatically increased. Allegations against police officers involved sexual harassment, rape, beating, insults and death threats.

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