Controversial police chief known for harsh stance against protestors removed from key post

Istanbul Security Branch Manager Hanifi Zengin, who is known for his threats and abusive behaviors against journalists, women and LGBTI+ people during protests, was reassigned to another post with less central powers.

Hanifi Zengin threatens journalists during a protest.

Duvar English

After the new appointments in the Istanbul Police Department, Security Branch Director Hanefi Zengin, who drew reaction with his harsh attitude towards protesters during social events, was appointed as Başakşehir District Police Chief.

Since the appointment of Ali Yerlikaya as Interior Minister after Süleyman Soylu, names close to the latter have been removed from central roles both within the General Directorate of Security and in governorships. Zengin was one of the figures appointed by Soylu.

Zengin had previously assaulted protesters and journalists at women's protests, LGBTI+ pride marches, Saturday Mothers' vigils, and leftist youth protests. An investigation was initiated against Zengin for “threatening” and a criminal complaint was filed against him for harassing women protesters.

Istanbul Governor Davut Gül on Aug. 16 approved the new appointment list of senior police chiefs in the Istanbul Police Department.

As a result of his promotion to a higher rank, Zengin had to be relocated from the branch directorate. In other words, his re-assignment is not a demotion. 

Nonetheless, it is customary of being appointed as the deputy provincial police chief in charge of the security branch after being promoted to the rank above. However, Zengin was transferred to a district directorate instead of being made deputy police chief, according to online news outlet T24.

This might mean that authorities intended to withdraw Zengin from the public eye as he will not be responsible in a provincial post anymore.

Zengin's deputy Rıdvan Varlı was appointed as the new security branch director.