A police officer has fired his gun into the air to disperse children playing on the street, before dragging a child with mental disabilities to an armored police vehicle to beat him in a province in the Kurdish-majority southeast.
Footage showed a police officer firing shots and shouting, "Don't run" to a group of children who run away, with 8-year-old Bahoz trying to cover himself near a wall out of fear in Mardin's Nusaybin district.
The officer then drags the child to an armored police vehicle and slaps him there, the footage dated April 24, which surfaced on social media late on May 9, showed.
Yer Nusaybin— Nuri Akman (@AkmNuri) May 9, 2020
Polis, sitede oynayan çocukların üzerine kurşun sıkarak gözaltına almaya çalışıyor. Polisten kaçmayan sarı tişörtlü çocuğun adı Bahoz ve zihinsel engelli. Bahoz’u zırhlı araca götüren polis, tokatlayıp bırakıyor.
Annesi, Bahoz’un saatlerce titrediğini söylüyor pic.twitter.com/2aAwupRLKd
The footage prompted outrage on social media, with thousands questioning the motive behind such police brutality.
A statement was released from provincial police force shortly after the footage became widely shared on social media, in which it attempted to defend itself by claiming that the children were throwing rocks at a group of officers and that a curfew was in place at the time.
The statement also said that the officer in question was suspended and an investigation was launched into him.
Thousands of Twitter users questioned why the police officers who saw the incident were not also suspended.
Politicians were among those who slammed the incident, with lawmakers of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) urging the interior ministry to release a statement.
“Kürt çocuklarına yönelen bu nefret hali iktidarın zihniyetinin sonucudur”— HDP (@HDPgenelmerkezi) May 10, 2020
Eş Genel Başkanımız Mithat Sancar, Nusaybin’de polis şiddetine uğrayan çocuğun ailesini arayarak dayanışma ve destek mesajlarını paylaştı, olayın peşini bırakmayacağımızı iletti.https://t.co/x6IYvd9nUG
A message was released from the HDP, saying that party co-chair Mithat Sancar met with Bahoz's father Mehmet Erdal.
According to the HDP, Sancar told Erdal that they will follow the case closely, while deeming the incident "an attack on the Kurdish identity."
"This mindset that incites and spreads such hatred among security forces in the Kurdish geography is that of the government. This hatred gets its power from the government's mindset and is aimed at the Kurdish geography and children," Sancar said.
Erdal, in return, said that Bahoz was traumatized by the incident and shook for days.