Relatives of a Kurdish family whose seven members were killed in a racist attack in the Central Anatolian province of Konya on July 30, said that they were battered by the police for attempting to see the house where the massacre occurred.
The Dedeoğlu family had long been living in fear, exposed to threats from Turkish nationalists in the Meram district. After an attack in May, one member of the family — who was among July 30 victims — said that they were being harassed and attacked for being Kurdish.
On July 30, armed assailants shot up the Dedeoğlu home and after killing seven members of the family, they set the house on fire.
Although several reports point to the attack being ethnically motivated, the prosecutor's office and government officials blame a long-running feud between two families who lived in the same area.
Members of the Rıfatoğlu family wanted to see the house where the massacre happened but were battered by the police. Harun Rıfatoğlu was even hospitalized at the Konya Hospital due to the risk of internal bleeding. He said that after receiving a medical report documenting the effects of the batterings on the body, he will file a criminal complaint.
“Those who have been massacred were my uncles and aunts. The house had been barricaded by the police [after the attack]. I wanted to see my uncles and aunts. They [police] hit me with two batons and I fell over and then stood up once again. When I reacted, 'Who hit me?,' 10-15 people have descended on me,” Harun Rıfatoğlu was quoted as saying by Mezopotamya news agency on Aug. 2.
“We have funerals but it is again us who are being battered and who are being handcuffed,” Rıfatoğlu said. “They are calling us 'terrorists' because we are Kurds. Seven people lost their lives. And they are saying nothing to those who are doing this, because they are Turks. But, even if I injure someone slightly, they would me call me a terrorist,” he said, adding that his belief in justice is over.
A nephew of the killed Yaşar Dedeoğulları said that he had been also battered by the police and afterwards placed in a police van. When the nephew told Konya provincial police chief Engin Dinç of the battering, he was told: “We apologize on their behalf.”
The police have been allegedly seizing the mobile phones of those trying to take images of the Dedeoğlu home and then deleting those images.