Turkish police officer threatens to kill youth amid worrying pattern of violent arrests, beatings

A police officer beat and threatened to kill a youth in the western province of Aydın amid a visible increase in human rights violations by the police across Turkey. Following the incident, the youth attempted to get a battery report, but the relevant police officer prevented him from doing so.

Duvar English

A video footage shared by journalist Barış Yarkadaş has shown a police officer and night watchman committing a serious abuse against a youth in the western province of Aydın.

Yarkadaş said that the relevant footage was sent to him by a citizen living in the province.

The police officer is seen slapping the youth and then threatening “to kill him” in the video. In the meantime, the watchman holds the youth, helping the police officer to commit the abuse.

“The policeman and watchman slap a youth. The policeman comes back after a while and tells the youth 'I would kill you.' The torture is now on the street. Look at the audacity of the police. He is very relaxed since he knows that there is no more law!” Yarkadaş wrote on his Twitter.

The Aydın Governor's Office released a statement with regards the incident that happened in Efeler district at around 10.30 p.m. on Dec. 6.

The governor's office said that the incident had occurred after a motorcycle driver had attempted to flee a regular police inspection and was determined to have taken alcohol.

It also said that an administrative investigation was launched into a deputy police chief and a neighborhood watchman as their “inappropriate behaviors were seen towards our citizen.” It also said that security officers had been warned to be “kind, temperate and respectful” towards citizens.

Online news outlet Medyascope later revealed the name of the abused youth as Argüman Erkan, who said that he had been targeted by the police officer and watchman in question for not slowing down as their car was passing by. 

"They have later followed me. I went into the neighborhood and parked the motorcycle. I was smoking with my friends. They came and conducted an alcohol test," Erkan told Medyascope in an interview.

“The images tell everything. I have raised my voice, but they have slapped me; so I couldn't help but raise my voice. As a civil servant, they had no right to hit me.” 

Erkan said that the violence was not limited to the images in the video footage, as the police also handcuffed him behind his back. Following the serious abuse, Erkan went to the hospital to get a battery report and go through an alcohol detection test, but the policeman and night watchman followed him all the way to the hospital and prevented him from doing so.

“They got me into the car, telling me that we would speak about something. They have talked with me not to file a complaint,” Erkan said. "If I did not have evidence in hand, they could have done worse than this. If this is how justice is maintained, then there is no more justice left."

The new footage came amid a worrying increase in violent treatment by police officers in Turkey. Rights groups have been emphasizing that there is a marked resurgence of police torture and ill-treatment in custody in recent years. They highlight that a lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations leads to a widespread impunity for security forces.