Aynur Tekin / DUVAR

Seventy two criminal complaints have been filed against Burak Özdemir, a man residing in the Mediterranean province of Mersin, for blackmailing, threatening and sexually assaulting women after hacking into their social media accounts. In spite of the numerous complaints, Özdemir is not currently behind bars.

Özdemir allegedly hacked the Instagram and Facebook accounts of at least 43 women and proceeded to video call them and force them to undress after learning the addresses and phone numbers of their family members, using the resulting images as blackmail. He sexually assaulted and extorted some of his victims. Those who refused to comply with his requests were threatened with death. However, due to a “lack of evidence,” Özdemir has not yet been arrested. 

Serhat Deniz Çelikkaya

Serhat Deniz Çelikkaya, the lawyer of one of Özdemir’s victims, said that he has been the target of Özdemir’s threats for the past nine months, and that a woman from the city of İzmir filed a criminal complaint against Özdemir as recently as last week. 

“He continues to commit crimes, yet he is wandering around freely,” Çetinkaya said. 

Özdemir allegedly claims to his victims that he is a retired soldier, or he creates another fictitious occupation to gain trust, according to Çetinkaya, saying that if Özdemir’s next victim were a doctor, he himself would also claim to be a doctor. 

The complaints filed against Özdemir have come from women across the country, including the provinces of Mersin, Izmir, Konya, Istanbul, Samsun, Antalya and Muğla. 

Recordings of Özdemir mocking Turkey’s justice system to one of his victims were provided to Çetinkaya:

“Look, let me tell you, even if I get convicted, I won’t be arrested right away, I already know this. You think that the courts in Turkey are foolproof and are very important. Did you know that more than half of the judges are new?” Özdemir allegedly says in the recording. 

According to Çetinkaya, Özdemir is in possession of 20 different telephone lines, and is believed to own a telecommunications shop or have a friend who runs such a shop. 

“Not taking action against someone who has threatened a lawyer for months harms the freedom of people to demand their legal rights. There is unbelievable carelessness among the judges and prosecutors. For example, I am saying that I am being threatened with death, and the prosecutor says ‘if he comes to İzmir, we’ll take a look.’ If a judge or prosecutor [were threatened], this person would have been arrested long ago,” Çetinkaya said.