25/10/2022 | Writer: Selma Koçak

LGBTI+s and women, who were exposed to police violence in Kadıköy, made a press statement at IHD İstanbul Branch. HDP MP Züleyha Gülüm and representatives from SPoD, ÇHD, and IHD LGBTI+ were present at the press conference.

“We reject the state violence, our existence is not a utile for your election campaign” Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Photograph: Gözde Demirbilek / Kaos GL

Right defenders held a press conference against harassment to LGBTI+s and women in Kadıköy, İstanbul, police torture at the stations and ongoing violence, at the İstanbul Branch of Human Rights Association (IHD).

CLICK – LGBTI+ hostility boiled down to police torture in İstanbul Yeldeğirmeni!

Gülseren Yoleri, Chair of IHD İstanbul Branch said: “This torture took place among the other incidents in which the harassers are backed and living spaces of women and LGBTI+s are restricted, as another sample.” Reminding that many incidents including attacks and violence were experienced Yoleri continued as follows:

“We are always in need to remind the responsibilities of the state. No matter how much the government and the President deny it, they have responsibilities. Protecting the right to life, and preventing the violence, discrimination and torture are among their main responsibilities. Our expectation from the judiciary is clear, that is to say to take an active role in punishing perpetrators of violence and harassment.”

Click to watch the video recording of the press conference.

Never ending police violence!

Ameda Karakuzu, one of those who were exposed to torture on the night between October 12 and October 13, told their experiences:

On the way back to their homes on Kadıköy Halitağa Street, two of our women friends were first verbally harassed by two men and then a vehicle was driven on them. A man got out of the vehicle and inflicted physical violence on women. With the self-defense of the women who were subjected to violence and the involvement of their friends who witnessed the harassment, the harassers got into their vehicles and drove away by driving the vehicle back on them.

While our women and LGBTI+ friends wanted to move towards their homes after the harassment they were subjected to, they saw one of the men who harassed them and a policeman running. At the same time, 3-4 police vehicles came to the point where our friends were. Violence began when a civilian-clothed person, who was unclear, punched one of our friends in the head and several policemen handcuffed upside down to another friend. The police detained our friends by torturing with kicks and punches, pepper spray, they sprayed at close range, and reverse handcuffs. During the torture, the breasts of our two female friends were opened, and our friends who realized this said, ‘Take off the clamps, we want to cover us’, the police did not care in any way, on the contrary, they recorded our friends in that way. 4 of our friends were brought to the İskele Police Chief (Rıhtım Police Station) with reverse handcuffs. A friend of ours, who has asthma due to pepper spray squeezed at close range, has fallen ill. Although we requested the asthma medicine in our friend's bag, the police did not give the medicine. At that time, our friend's consciousness was closed and collapsed in reverse handcuffs.

Our 4 friends, three of them are LGBTI+s, who witnessed the police torture to which our friends were subjected, came to the police station. After our friends objected to the torture of the police and said, ‘We are videotaping the torture footage’, a police chief said ‘take these too’ and our friends were detained with torture. As a result of the long-term police torture inside the police station, a friend's arm and a friend's tooth were broken, a friend's lip was splatted, one of them had a broken ear cartilage while the other had gotten into a head trauma. In addition, bruises and swelling due to the bottlenecks occurred in the body of all our friends.”

 “We don’t accept increasing police and state violence against queers and women”

While women and queers are harassed, raped, subjected to violence and killed, the police, who did not come to the scene for hours, come to the scene within 5 minutes to intervene in the harassed women and attack women and queers!

Neither the detention of queers who want to make a press statement in Yeldeğirmeni, the first Sunday of the pride month nor the detention of queers who were subjected to physical violence with the shouts of ‘we will clean up fags from this neighborhood’ by ‘neighborhood brothers’ in July, nor the detained women and nor the reverse handcuffing against LGBTI+s are discrete. We know the gentrification project that the male state and its pawns are trying to carry out in Yeldeğirmeni from Ülker Street, Esat/Eryaman. We will not be defeated by you. We will not leave our neighborhoods. We do not accept increasing police and state violence against queers and women. Our existence is not an utile your election campaign. Anyone who remains silent about the violence we are subjected to is as responsible as the perpetrators of this violence.

We, who are struggling to survive, are being clearly targeted because of our identities and political views, we just want to live and survive. We, as LGBTI+s and women, we have always existed and we will continue to live.”

Then attorney Düşün Altuntaş from the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), gave information about the legal dimension of the incident. Remarking that he fell upon a pair of shoes in the entrance of the station, Altuntaş told that their clients had been pounded up for an hour at the yard of the station. Emphasizing that the crime scene report had not been prepared for almost four hours, Altuntaş said: “Police officers waited changing of the shift. As soon as the next team arrived they tried to create an atmosphere as if they had not tortured for hours, hadn’t used pepper gas in the restroom of directorship. However there were clear evidences of beating on the bodies of the clients. Two of the clients were barefooted, lack of shoes. And one client had a broken ankle.”

“This attack targets all LGBTI+s”

Oğulcan Yediveren, from Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD), said “This attack targets all LGBTI+s. We want all to know that we will take stand against this attack all together. On the other side this attack contains connotations under these circumstances. This attack is the result of the hostility policy of the government resumed since 2015.

Yediveren, “Artık sürgünün ötesinde tamamen yok etme amacı güden saldırılarla karşı karşıyayız” diyerek özgür ve eşit olmak isteyen herkese seslendi: “Bugün buna karşı ses çıkartamazsak, buradan geri dönüş yok.”

MP Gülüm: We stand by our friends and we will struggle together

Reminding the ongoing torture and attacks particularly against LGBTI+s, at the streets and in the police stations, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) İstanbul MP Züleyha Gülüm said: “We have become a police state. We have been experiencing a period in which demands for right are exposed to oppression and torture. The torture in Rıhtım Police Station is an old story. We also witnessed a great deal of incidents. We know that the wave of attacks targeting especially LGBTI+s are originated from the government. There is a government that spreads hate speech and feeds on it, and points out people as a target. They have targeted both earlier on İstanbul Convention and at the withdrawal process of the Convention. They have been banning all activities and discourses of LGBTI+s. The attack at the police station does not bear on only that police station. There a wave of attacks encouraged and fed up by the government. This is a serious scheme. Our friends are attacked, are exposed to harassment and the investigators, who have to carry out an investigation upon the denunciation of the victims of the incident, take action upon the application of the perpetrators. Then they stand by the attackers and torture our friends instead of hearing their complaints. This is an obvious indication of the position of the police in Turkey, and the measure of our life safety, that is to say our lives are in danger. Therefore we have to stand against it all together.”

Reminding that the police took the statement down contrary to facts Gülüm said: “Our sole and exclusive remedy is to be shoulder to shoulder and strengthen solidarity. Unless we achieve this solidarity, we will face a greater wave of attacks. Fascism is trying to be institutionalized in this country.” Calling up the censorship law, Gülüm continued as: “While the fascism makes multi-dimensional arrangements, the powers for democracy need a stronger organization. We stand by our friends. We will struggle together.”

Reminding the Esat-Eryaman and Ahmet Yıldız cases, Tuna from İHD İstanbul Branch LGBTI+ Commission said: “We, as LGBTI+s are not an election material for anyone. Hate rallies, last Friday in Urfa and a month ago in İstanbul, were held in Turkey. We will continue to fight. We are not ill people. We have always existed and we will continue to live.”

Finally, Bülent Ateş from HDP İstanbul Provincial Administration, gave a message concerning making a common cause against oppressions. Remarking that they had witnessed torture against trans women in 80’s and also Ülker Street in late 90’s Ateş told: “These are old stories, they are constantly going on. We have sole remedy: Struggling together and being shoulder to shoulder. We will overcome fascism, I believe it."

Tags: human rights, women