Investigation launched into dog fighting ring on Istanbul’s Büyükada

The police department on the Prince’s Islands in Istanbul has announced it has taken into custody members of an underground dogfighting ring on the largest of the islands. Island residents reported they found dogs abandoned, abused, and chained to trees on the island.

Duvar English

Several members of an underground dogfighting ring on Istanbul’s Prince’s Islands have been taken into custody following social media posts that showed the dog fights. Island residents reported that they found dogs chained to trees with their ears cut off following the fights.

The Prince’s Islands, and in particular Büyükada, where the fights took place, has been at the center of the debate over animal rights in recent years. Cars are not allowed on the islands, and rapid transport used to primarily occur by horse-drawn carriage. After reports that these horses were neglected and abused, the horses were removed from the island and the carriages banned. 

Now, people are organizing violent dog fights on the island, according to social media posts and island authorities. A video posted by a man named A. shows two chained dogs fighting each other, with owners egging them on. 

An investigation was launched by island authorities into the dog fighting ring to find the culprits. A man named Mehmet was allegedly making the dogs fight, while A. and another man identified only as C. were also involved. 

The Prince’s Islands Director of Agriculture, Dr. Feramis Çifçi, has condemned the dogfighting, saying the instance will be investigated fully. The Prince’s Islands’ public prosecutor has begun criminal legal procedures against the men involved. 

Island residents, including journalist K. Murat Yıldız, reported finding dogs abused and chained to drive them “wild” in the forest.

“We brought two dogs to the shelter whose ears were cut off, whose ears were infected, and who were tied starving to trees so that they would go wild in the forest,” Yıldız wrote on social media.

According to Turkish law on animal abuse, it is illegal to force animals to fight. The person who forces an animal to fight can be punished by three months to two years in prison and a judicial fine. If violence is carried out by another person on an animal, both that person and the animal’s owner are subject to punishment.