Turkish police detain 185 people who participated in Suruç Massacre commemorations

Turkish police on July 20 detained 154 people in Istanbul, 13 people in İzmir, and 18 people in Ankara during Suruç Massacre commemorations using brute force. Lawyers who wanted to meet the detainees at the police station were also beaten.

Duvar English

Turkish police on July 20 attacked and detained 185 people in total in three major provinces during the commemoration of 33 people killed in a suicide bomb attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Suruç district of Urfa on July 20, 2015.

Families of the murdered students, Green Left Party (YSP) MPs, Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP) MP Sera Kadıgil, Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul Branch Chair Gülseren Yoleri also attended the commemoration in Kadıköy district of Istanbul.

Protestors hold the picture of those who ISIS murdered in the massacre.

Pointing out that the organizers of the massacre have not been found for eight years, YSP co-spokesperson Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar said, "The one-man regime has maintained its existence through these massacres, and the state officials did not prevent this massacre."

Suruç Families Initiative stated that families of ISIS members informed the state that their relatives joined the terrorist organization before many bomb attacks in 2015 and 2016, but no measures were taken. "After the Suruç massacre, a suspect, who had an ISIS flag in his bag at the scene was shaven by the police and released from the back door (of the station),” the families said. 

After the commemoration ended, the police attacked the dispersing crowd and detained 154 people using brute force and pepper spray. 

The police also prevented journalists from covering the protests and detained Artı TV reporter Umut Taştan. Taştan's finger was broken during the detention.

Lawyers who wanted to meet the protesters who were taken to the police headquarters were insulted, beaten, and thrown out of the police station.

The commemoration organized by leftist youth organizations in the capital Ankara was also attacked by the police before the gathering could take place. The police tore the banners and temporarily detained 18 people by force.

In İzmir province, representatives of various political parties and civil society organizations came together with the call of leftist youth organizations and held a press statement in the city center.

Afterward, the mass marched to leave carnations at the sea and was attacked by the police. Thirteen of the dispersed protesters were forcibly detained in the side streets.

Progressive Lawyers Association’s (ÇHD) İzmir Branch Chair was beaten while he was responding to the police attack.

A Turkish court on July 18 arrested six of 46 university students who were detained by the police while distributing leaflets in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district for the commemoration.

In 13 of the 18 months following the attack on the Peoples’ Democratic Party rally on June 5, 2015, there was at least one bomb attack with the loss of life across Turkey. Nearly 500 people were killed and thousands injured in the attacks. Either the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, or government officials said they were carried out by one of these organizations.

Some 33 people died and 104 people were wounded when ISIS bombed Amara Cultural Center in the Suruç district in 2015. ISIS targeted young people who gathered in the center with the SGDF’s call to deliver toys to children in Kobanê province of Syria, which was then under ISIS attack.

On October 22, 2021, the final hearing of the lawsuit about the attack came to an end. The only defendant arrested, Yakup Şahin, was found guilty and has been sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. He was responsible for the Ankara Train Station Massacre in 2015 and was already in prison during the trial. No other potential suspects were arrested.