Turkish Workers Party (TİP) deputy Barış Atay has said that he is on the side of rape victims, whereas Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu is on the side of rapists like Musa Orhan.
“Soylu is not a minister. Süleyman Soylu is the mob leader of the mafia-like system that has been established by the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] in the last 18 years. He is a handy apparatus. He is just a handy apparatus that is trying to use his power as a means of oppression to discard of Kurds, socialists, Alevis, leftists and everyone who thinks in a democratic way,” Atay said during a press meeting on Sept. 1 in Istanbul’s Yoğurtçu Park.
“The sides are very clear. We are on the side of victims like İpek Er, whereas Soylu is on the side of those like Musa Orhan,” Atay said.
Barış Atay was attacked in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district early on Aug. 31 by unidentified assailants following Soylu’s comments targeting him. After he was discharged from hospital, Atay said he would hold a press meeting on Sept. 1.
The attack came after Soylu said on Aug. 30 that Atay would be “a perfect rapist” following the deputy’s criticism of the minister over the release of sergeant Musa Orhan, who faces charges of raping a Kurdish woman.
The fact that Orhan was released prompted outrage among the public last week, with Atay saying that Soylu protected a rapist. In response, Soylu said that he doesn’t protect rapists, but that Atay is a rapist. “I can’t be a protector of rapists, but you would be a perfect rapist,” Soylu wrote on Twitter on Aug. 30.
Following the assault against Atay, several people, including opposition politicians, slammed Soylu, with the hashtag #BarisAtayYalnızDeğildir (which translates as ‘Barış Atay is not alone’) going viral on Twitter.
Atay on Sept. 1 thanked all the people who supported him, saying: “We are powerful. The only thing that they can do against a revolutionist is attacking them from behind in a dark street. And as you can see, we also overcome that.”
Atay was elected as a deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the June 2018 general elections. Three months later, he transferred to the TİP.
Meanwhile, pro-government daily Sabah reported on Sept. 1 that authorities have determined the identities of the four people who attacked Atay. The newspaper said that one of the suspects was detained.