* Photograph: Fatoş Erdoğan / Twitter
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On the fourth anniversary of Suruç Massacre, which claimed the lives of 33 people in Urfa, police intervened against the group who wanted to commemorate the deceased in Kadıköy, İstanbul on July 20. Among the group were also MPs from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
While several people were battered and detained, HDP İstanbul MP Erol Katırcıoğlu, HDP Muş MP Gülistan Kılıç-Koçyiğit and CHP MP Ali Şeker were wounded in the intervention. CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu was also taken to hospital as he was affected by the pepper gas used by the police.
MPs Erol Katırcıoğlu, Ali Şeker and Gülistan Kılıç-Koçyiğit have spoken to bianet regarding the incident:
‘They were determined not to let us march’
HDP MP Katırcıoğlu has stated that on the day of commemoration, he went to the Kadıköy District Directorate of Security to make a preliminary meeting in an attempt to prevent any unpleasant incidents that could occur.
Reminding that they did a sit-in protest in Halitağa before starting to march, Katırcıoğlu has continued as follows:
“We were going to first march to Süreyya Opera House, then to the Mehmet Ayvalıtaş Park. We were first told to march through the sidewalk, it was accepted. However, another tension arose afterwards. A person, whom I later learned to be vice security director of İstanbul, said, ‘Sweep them away’ in quite a determined way not to let us march.
‘They fired from one and a half meters’
“While I was negotiating with the senior police officers to prevent the intervention, a young police officer with a mask on his face pointed at me and said ‘Fire’. They fired for three times from a distance of one or one and a half meters. Undercover police officers provoked the situation as well. Such a violence was experienced despite the presence of MPs. I cannot imagine what could have happened if we had not been there.”
‘It is impossible to accept this violence’
Injured on his foot during the police intervention, CHP MP Ali Şeker has also stated the following about the issue:
“The police, who watched the massacre in Suruç happen, inflict violence here. It was known months ago that the Alagöz brothers were going to perpetrate this massacre in Suruç. All of this information is in the records of security authorities and those of the state.
“If the police had not just watched there and fulfilled their duties, those people would not be there that day to commemorate their losses. It is not possible to accept such a violence, which also involves five MPs.”
‘They used gas while we were trying to persuade’
HDP MP Gülistan Kılıç-Koçyiğit has also stated,
“Various pretexts were put forward to prevent us from marching. They said, ‘Do not block the road.’ We marched through the sidewalk. Flags and slogans were used as pretexts. No slogans were chanted. At last, we were told ‘There is a ban by the district governorate.’ While we were talking to senior police officer to persuade him, the police intervened with pepper gas.
“We were there as five MPs and plastic bullets were fired by specifically targeting people. Tens of people were taken into custody by being battered, even, by being tortured. An uncontrolled force was used. The district governor has just made a statement and said, ‘There are no plastic bullets in our inventory.’ I cannot know what to say. I just want to ask, ‘Then, what about the holes opened in our body?.”
The detained have been released
22 people in total were taken into custody during the police intervention. All of the detained have been released late in the night on the same day.
On the other side, as HDP MP Kılıç-Koçyiğit has also indicated, the Kadıköy District Governorship has made a statement afterwards and stated that “the police intervened within legal boundaries and there are no plastic bullets in the inventory of security units.” (RT/DB/SD)