Turkish watchmen have been arbitrarily detaining trans people and taking them to police headquarters, online news portal T24 reported on July 19.
Those detained are accused of acting immodestly solely because of their identities, in practices that are reminiscent of Turkey's dark decade of the 1990s.
In one instance, a trans woman sitting on a bench in Istanbul's Taksim was detained by watchmen, who cited no reason for doing so. She was handcuffed and forced to walk to the police headquarters on a crowded street.
In another, a trans woman getting on a taxi to head to her sister's henna night was detained.
Although none of those detained had engaged in any criminal activity, police questioned them on the accusations of immodest behavior. Their lawyers said that they will file complaints against the officers.
Trans people in Turkey are very frequently targeted by hate speech and the watchmen's arbitrary detentions are perceived as a reflection of it. It was also the case in the 1990s.
At the time, Beyoğlu police chief Süleyman Ulusoy became the symbol of mistreatment against trans women, mainly due to torturing them in police headquarters and ordering raids on their houses completely arbitrarily.