A delegation of six people including members of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), the Human Rights Association (İHD), the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Employees (KESK) prepared a preliminary report on the incidents in Hopa regarding allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
The delegations talked to district officials and to 13 people who experienced torture and ill-treatment in custody after the anti-government demonstrations in the city on the eastern Black Sea coast on 31 May. According to the report, the people in the city suffered a significant trauma. They demand the release of the arrested protestors and the immediate withdrawal of the riot police forces from the city.
The report is based on talks held on 6 and 7 June and also includes medical findings. Furthermore, the delegation spoke to the Hopa District Governor, Abdullah Akdaş, the Mayor of Hopa, Turan Kasımoğlu, and Deputy Chief of Police Hüsrev Salmaner.
"Will they take us in as well?"
TİHV member Ümit Ünüvar evaluated the aftermath of the protest and the massive police intervention in an interview with bianet.
"The people show solidarity to each other but they are still in shock and the tension on the streets is still tangible. The people are worried because the riot police forces have not been withdrawn from the district yet. (...) They are very confused by the police attack that happened during a peaceful protest. They are insecure on and constant alert; they are afraid of being taken in as well".
"We talked to the victims, to the people who experienced torture. Subsequently, we also met the district governor and the mayor of course. But after having heard the people beforehand, the talks with the officials were not satisfying. We also talked to the family of Lokumcu [who died in the course of the incidents]. They have not taken any legal steps yet but they are thinking about opening a trial" Ünüvar summarized their visit to Hopa.
"Prime Minister owes apology to people in Hopa"
The report of the delegation listed the following complaints voiced by the people in Hopa:
* Riot police teams and plainclothes police officers from neighbouring districts filed into the city on the day of the protest. The district governor talked about 200 additional police officers, the people claimed it was thousands of policemen. Gas bombs were even thrown to the emergency unit of the state hospital and to a primary school.
* The people of Hopa criticized the injustice that was done to them. They denied allegations put forward by Prime Minister Erdoğan that Molotov cocktails had been thrown. No according proof was found. The people claimed that it was tried to put all the blame on the people of Hopa by saying in the media and in public that they threw stones and Molotov cocktails and that they were "bandits".
* The people of Hopa did not let Minister Hayati Yazıcık into their district one month ago. They feel they were punished by Prime Minister Erdoğan because they stood up for their river and streams and labourers by protesting against hydroelectric power plants. They criticized the lack of respect towards the people and the family of deceased protestor Lokumcu and underlined that the prime minister failed to express his condolences. "The prime minister owes an apology to the people of Hopa. Tension and a 'state of emergency' are still continuing although a whole week has passed", the report stated.
"Release our arrested friends"
The public voiced several demands: the release of the arrested people; a guarantee that the people "wanted" will not be arrested; the immediate withdrawal of more than a thousand riot police officers; open a trial on behalf of deceased Lokumcu.
Doctors of the TİHV and the TTB examined ten male and three females aged 20 to 45 years old. They summarized their findings as follows:
"The medical examinations were done five days after the incident. Nevertheless, marks of brute beating could be determined. Six people developed signs of psychiatric illnesses; existing symptoms increased for one person who was sick before the incident. According to the results yielded by these indicators, the symptoms of anxiety and sleep problems are closely related to the environment of ongoing fear and insecurity in Hopa". (AS/VK)