Members of the fascist group Greywolves attacked a group of university students who performed the traditional halay folk dance to a piece of Kurdish music in Turkey's southern province of Karaman.
The attack occurred at the premises of Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey University on April 1, daily Evrensel reported on April 10.
Assailants who described themselves as “Karamanoğlu Mehmetbey Ülkücüleri” (Greywolves) reportedly locked the Kurdish students in a depot and beat them up. They seized the students' mobile phones and made them write “We apologize to the Turkish public due to our immoral behavior” on their social media accounts.
One of the beaten students has reportedly left Karaman and gone back to his hometown due to the trauma inflicted by the attack.
The attack was brought to the agenda of parliament by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. In an address to the General Assembly of parliament, Gergerlioğlu said the incident shows that the Kurdish issue has not been resolved in the country.
“When it comes to speaking, they say, 'We have solved the Kurdish problem in the country.' But look, a young man left his university and went back to Diyarbakır because he danced halay to a Kurdish song. Has the Kurdish problem been solved in the country; is this possible? This explicitly shows that the issue has not been resolved,” Gergerlioğlu said.
The MP also showed a social media post shared by the Greywolves members reading: “Welcome to the university where those who betray the country cannot hold a pen.”
The Diyarbakır Bar Association also released a statement on April 7 that they will follow up on the issue for an “effective investigation process to be conducted.”
In its statement titled “We condemn the racist attack against Kurdish identity and language,” the bar said that “discriminatory policies” and “the widely used polarizing language” are behind these attacks. “We remind judiciary authorities that an effective investigation needs to be conducted for such attacks not to occur again,” it said.
The Karaman Governor's Office announced that an investigation was launched after the parents of one of the beaten students filed a complaint to Presidency's Communication Centre (CİMER). The governor's office also claimed that “no incident or problem” had occurred on the university premises.
“After the halay images of the students were shared on social media, a group of 10-15 people, who were not dormitory students, came to in front of the dormitory at about 12 a.m. After the dormitory manager and dormitory security staff notified the police, the group was dispersed by the police without an incident. As it can be seen clearly, no incident or problem occurred at the dormitory,” it said.
Meanwhile, the university's rector Prof. Dr. Namık Ak on April 6 visited the Ülkü Ocakları (Greywolves) branch of Karaman.