21/10/2022 | Writer: Yıldız Tar

Esat-Eryaman case, which has been going on for sixteen years, was postponed on November 21. The attorneys urged upon a criminal enterprise targeting trans women, once again at the 7th hearing.

Esat-Eryaman case, which could never create a splash at Police Department, was postponed once again! Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

The seventh hearing of the case, in which four people from the gang are being judged on the grounds of assault trans women in Ankara, in 2006, was held today (October 18). The case, which has been shuttling between Supreme Court and the other courts for more than 10 years and resulted in a sentence against the attackers, is being heard again following the reversal of the judgement by the Supreme Court.

The trial at the 30th Ankara Criminal Court was held in the great hall upon the request of the attorneys of trans women. About fifty LGBTI+ right defenders followed the hearing with the call of Pink Life LBGTI+ Solidarity Association beside the representatives from Delegation of European Union to Türkiye and embassies of the United States, Germany, Denmark and United Kingdom,

 “This is the file, in which Dilek İnce, who was murdered in 2009, made a complaint about”

Beside the attorneys of trans women Senem Doğanoğlu and Evrim Demirtaş, lawyers from Ankara Bar Association Center for LGBTIQ+ Rights also were present at the hearing. Lawyers from the associations like May 17, Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) and UNiKuir also attended to the hearing as observers.

The hearing started with Att. Senem Doğanoğlu’s declarations on the merits. Reminding that it was hard to sum up 16 years Att. Doğanoğlu said: “There is a lost time at the Supreme Court. We are aware the danger of time out, and the prescription regarding a part of the crimes has already been. The verdict given by the Court of First Instance before the reversal was operational due to deficiencies. As you recall, the Supreme Court said that ‘the existence of the criminal enterprise is uncertain’, however existence of the criminal enterprise was the main issue within the scope of the case. Unfortunately, this is the file, in which Dilek İnce, who was murdered in 2009, made a complaint about.”

“The case could never create a splash at the Police Department”

Emphasizing that Şammas Taşdemir attacked to trans women firstly in Eryaman and then in Esat, with the group of people called by him, Att. Doğanoğlu said: “The Supreme Court is nonauthoritative to make this kind of in-dept and abstract analyses regarding especially criminal looting or crime of plunder. However they did it, just because the complainants are transgender.”

Att. Doğanoğlu reminded that there has been a tamper with the evidences for sixteen years and said: “The case could never create a splash at the Police Department.” Doğanoğlu also called up that Pink Life LGBTI+ Solidarity Association was founded as a result of gang attacks and continued as follows:

 “Information Technology and Communications Authority (BTK) revealed the constant communication between Şammas Taşdemir and Ayhan Günay, who were claiming that they didn’t know each other. Organizing a crime syndicate for the purpose of generating monetary profit is one and targeting especially trans women is the other dimension of the crime. The Court of First Instance had judged only four members of the gang since only four of them could be found. They may be the weakest links of the gang, who knows! We don’t know because somehow the Police Department was not able to determine the other members of the gang. There is a phone travelling from hand to hand among the defendants and extortion of trans women are obvious.”

Att. Doğanoğlu, remarked that the evidences, which were obtained after the decision of the Supreme Court, revealed the existence of criminal enterprise and the committal of the criminal plunder and the criminal attempt for plundering.

“There is an obvious hate crime targeting directly trans people”

Then Att. Evrim Demirtaş from Pink Life LGBTI+ Solidarity Association, emphasized that there is crime against humanity. Reminding that the attacks went on systematically, Att. Demirtaş said: “Although the number of the members of the criminal enterprise is four, there are at least 30 people within the scope of the file. These people attacks trans women just because of being trans.”

Remarking that although there are no hate crimes in the legislation, Türkiye is the part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Att. Demirtaş said: “Even if it doesn’t take part in the legislation, Türkiye reports hate crimes to OSCE as a member of the forum. In consequence of being water under the bridge, that is to say 16 years, the decision may seem insignificant to you, however it is the first file where the hate crime, whether we call hate crime or not, was defined. If I had been living there back then, I would also have been targeted. There is an obvious hate crime targeting trans people.”

The prosecution requested additional time to prepare the final opinion. The case was postponed to November 21, at 14.00 pm.

What happened in the case?

In April 2006, a gang attacked trans women in Eryaman, Ankara. Many trans women were forced to leave their homes in Eryaman. Some of them changed cities, some moved to the Esat District of Ankara. The attacks continued in Esat.

The establishment of the Pink Life Association was an attempt of an organization against these attacks. The trans women who were attacked filed a criminal complaint, charges were pressed. The case that was monitored by lawyers Senem Doğanoglu and Hakan Yıldırım was concluded in 2008. One of the defendants, Şammas Taşdemir, was sentenced to 45 months for wounding with a weapon during a raid on a hairdresser that was frequently used by trans women; The other defendants, Harun Çardak and Ahmet Günay were sentenced to 40 months each, and Ahmet Günay for 34 months for wounding with a weapon against trans women in the Kurtuluş District of Ankara.

The court ruled that the attackers were qualified as gangs, but sentences were all from the lowest limit. There was no sentence for the allegations of pillaging. The verdict was appealed.

Since 2008, the judicial process has turned into a labyrinth. The Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the verdict in 2011. In the meanwhile, the courts that handled the case changed. With the changes in the Criminal Procedure Code, the case went back and forth between the courts. Finally, in 2018, the case went to the Supreme Court of Appeals, again.

Verdict to overturn stated the attackers should be investigated on their gang qualifications, and demanded an investigation regarding the phone call records. The 30th High Criminal Court also complied with the Supreme Court of Appeals' decision and asked the Information Technology and Communications Authority (BTK) for information on whether the attackers communicated with each other.

The case will be re-heard, but the case is in danger of being timed out.

Endless chase of justice: Eryaman-Esat case

The Eryaman-Esat case has become an endless game of chase due to the changes in the judicial system. The attackers were sentenced in 2008 for extortion, wounding, and wounding as part of organizational activity, but were not convicted of looting. The decision included the definition of 'a gang that came together with thoughts triggered by social prejudices'.

Both the attackers and the trans women who were attacked appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court overturned the decision, saying that 'the court has to make a judgment on looting'. The process after the Supreme Court's overturn decision is a complicated story. With the changes in the legislation, the case has been going back and forth between the courts for years. Att. Doğanoğlu explains this process as follows:

“There were courts authorized with Article 250 of the Turkish Penal Code, but they are now removed. Then they said that it was necessary to appeal to the general court, then those established with TPC Article 10 came into force, and it was said that they have the authority. The case went back and forth too many times. At the end of 2018, with a very absurd justification, the case was returned to the 30th High Criminal Court of Ankara. The reason was that a defendant was not notified. They returned the case because they couldn't locate a person's procuration. After all those transfers the case probably is not intact now. After years, we filed the procuration again, and the case was back on the Supreme Court of Appeals. Then the Supreme Court overturned the decision and the trials began from the beginning…”

What happened in Eryaman and Esat?

Senem Doğanoğlu explains the attacks on trans women and their forced migration as follows:

“The reason the case is called Eryaman is that the events did take place in Eryaman, but in fact, the case that we're talking about right now includes the events that took place in Esat. The construction industry was on a rise in Eryaman, and organized gang attacks against trans women living there began. Over time, the men hired by these construction companies increased attacks on trans women as a gang, in cooperation with the police. After a while, the paramilitary force started saying 'you will pay tribute to us'. But the main goal was to exile. Many of the girls fled to Mersin when the attacks on the houses began. Another group settled in Esat.

“We were able to make a case about Şammas Taşdemir in Eryaman. Dilek İnce, who was killed in 2008, was among the complainants. We also monitored a case in which Şammas Taşdemir was tried for property damage. Şammas was sentenced, but it was converted into a fine. He paid. The decision was finalized and over. He was sentenced to a criminal sentence and the motivations of the attackers were not investigated.

“Law enforcement did not take any action for a very long time when the Esat events started simultaneously. It turned into a process where every night someone gets hurt, properties are getting damaged, people were getting threats over phone calls, and that's the time when the shroud demonstrations started. 'If this violence is not prevented we are going on hunger strike,' they said.

“Silent protests began where LGBTI+ organizations and women's organizations participated, and after a while, the police of Çankaya District of Ankara called us. In short, it was a process in which social pressure was very effective, without social pressure, no one would have instructed The Çankaya police on the issue.

“They were assaulting, wounding people. There were raids on hairdressers. Again, damaging vehicles was very common. There were a lot of incidents at night where they get out of their vehicles with machetes on their hands, run onto the girls, and wounding them. We gathered all these incidents together. Complaints were collected from the victims one by one. Then the perpetrators were all picked up. They've been arrested and the trial process has begun.

“The case was first filed in the general court. It was subsequently transferred to the High Criminal Court due to the allegations of looting. At the first trial, most of the girls came and reported their complaints. They talked about the incidents in detail. In the first trial, we explained that it was an organized crime and that they were a gang. We also changed the face of the courthouse at that time. It was important to see the subject there, to see a subject seeking their right, to see what was legitimate.”

Translation: Selma Koçak

Tags: human rights, women