After a 19-year-old university student lost her unborn baby as a result of police violence, her lawyer filed a criminal complaint against the police. The student had attended a protest action against the Higher Education Council (YÖK) during a meeting of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with university rectors in Istanbul on 5 December. She lost her unborn baby because she was beaten by policemen.
Lawyer Zeliha Kabataş from the Students Youth Union (Genç-Sen) held a press conference together with Süleyman Çelebi, President of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK). Kabataş emphasized that this incident also showed the sexist character of police violence.
Kabataş: Severe injury and torture
The lawyer explained that on 7 December they filed a criminal complaint against the police officers on duty in the region (Dolmabahçe Palace on the European banks of the Bosporus) on the day of the incident. Kabataş pointed out that they wanted to impose a publication restriction on the name and the photograph of her client. She described the incident as a "disgrace of democracy", including the discussion whether the imposed police violence was proportional or not. She announced that the complaint was based on charges of "severe injury" and "torture".
Çelebi: Prime Minister confused incident with football match
DİSK President Çelebi emphasized that an investigation had to be launched into the issue of who was to hold responsible for the incident. He said that there was no difference between the attack on the university students and the raid of the Israeli military on the Mavi Marmara vessel. "Attacking unarmed students with tear gas and truncheons is not less brutal than what the Israeli military did", he claimed.
Çelebi reminded that the prime minister had said he would not meet "students who threw eggs" and continued, "Dear Mr. Prime Minister, you probably confuse this incident with the football match between Beşiktaş and Bursa. He talked about cleavers and knives. Our friends did not carry such items and nothing similar. They exhibited an entirely democratic reaction".
SDP: The Prime Minister cannot define limits of democracy
The Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) condemned the prime minister's statement that backed up the police violence. Erdoğan had said, "Did you come because we invited you to this meeting?" The SDP criticized that the statement "lacked any connection to democracy and freedom".
The SDP Central Steering Board emphasized that the limits of democracy and freedoms in this country could not be defined upon an invitation by the prime minister.
PSAD: Condemning the attitude that approves of violence
Fevzi Gümüş, President of the Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association (PSAD), condemned the applied police violence in a written statement.
Gömüş indicated that memories were still vivid of protesting Tekel workers in Ankara who were thrown into pools in winter and exposed to water cannons. "We condemn the intolerant attitude against the use of democratic rights by disadvantaged sections of society, by people who claim their rights, workers and young people. We condemn the applied police violence and the political power that approved of this attitude", Gümüş announced. (EÖ/VK)