Turkey Bar Association slams police intervention against Islamist group as violation of ban on torture

The Turkey Bar Association (TTB) has said police violence at a protest held by members of the Islamist Furkan Foundation in the southern province of Adana violated a ban on “torture” and “mistreatment," with the Ankara Bar Association filing a complaint against police officers involved in the intervention.

Duvar English

The Turkey Bar Association (TTB) has said police violence carried out against members of the Furkan Foundation in the southern province of Adana violated a ban on “torture” and “mistreatment” during a protest held by the Islamist group on March 20.

The TTB said the right to assemble and march was protected by the constitution as a basic right and freedom.

“Restricting this right cannot be left to the arbitrariness of the authority. When the opposing view combines the police treatment that we witnessed and that hurt the public conscience, it indicates an authoritarian state,” it said in a written statement.

The TTB added that the intervention had amounted to the violation of the ban on torture and mistreatment.

It said they were expecting a thorough investigation to be carried out and the suspects and those responsible to be punished.

The Ankara Bar Association filed a complaint against the police involved in the intervention with the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Members of the Furkan Foundation, including its leader, Alparslan Kuytul, gathered on an avenue in Adana’s Seyhan district to demand the release of eight of its volunteers currently jailed on March 20.

Videos of the intervention show police beating protestors and they reportedly used batons, pepper spray and rubber bullets.

“The Adana police department intervened against us with batons and tear gas as if they lost control. They have confined us to a market for four hours and are not letting us leave. We have become victims and we can die here from lack of air,” Kuytul said in a tweet on March 20.

“This is the Turkey of [Interior Minister] Süleyman Soylu! They said you can hold a press statement and march. They intervened to this extent against us even when we said we would hold a press statement and gave up on our right to march,” he said in a separate tweet.

Former prime minister and current Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu, former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, currently the chair of the Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party, and Islamist Felicity (Saadet) Party head Temel Karamollaoğlu slammed the police intervention.

"They are beating the person who has fallen to the floor inhumanely! There can be no explanation of these images before laws. They are adding tyranny to their tyranny. Law will eventually come to this country. Süleyman Soylu, give an explanation to this tyranny immediately!" pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said on March 20. 

"The Kuytul supporters, who have carried out illegal protests every week for many years, held an illegal protest simultaneously with Nevruz in Adana today despite all the warnings. Our security forces have patiently reacted towards the Kuytul supporters in the face of all their provocations, insults and harassments for a long time," Soylu said on March 20, while adding in another tweet that the police should not have used disproportional force during the protest. 

He said the Adana Governor's Office launched an investigation into the incident.