Turkish police 'tried to obstruct justice in racist attack on Kurdish family'

Turkish police reportedly tried to obstruct justice in the case of a Kurdish family who got attacked by racists in the southern province of Mersin. The family from Iraqi Kurdistan was attacked by a group making a hand salute used by supporters of the far-right Grey Wolves.

Burcu Özkaya Günaydın / DUVAR

Turkish police reportedly tried to obstruct justice in the case of a Kurdish family from Erbil who was attacked by three assailants in the southern province of Mersin during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Members of the Turkish Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), the Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Diyarbakır Bar Association helped the family seek legal assistance, and two of the perpetrators were arrested as a result.

"Musthtaq Mahmood Kareem was in his car with his wife and three kids when they had a technical issue and had to pull over. He was pulled out of his vehicle, hit in the back of the head with a rock and threatened to be thrown off of a cliff," ÖHD Mersin co-chair Dicle Nas said. 

The association has taken statements from eyewitnesses and investigated camera footage of the attack, Nas noted, adding that the assailants also threatened Kareem's family and other eyewitnesses. 

The incident took place in the jurisdiction of the gendarmerie, but police officers still interfered and filed the attack as a traffic dispute, resulting in the governor's office informing the public as such, instead of a racial attack, Nas added. 

Kareem's family was made to give statements without legal representation, Nas noted, adding that police tried to obstruct justice by influencing the family to get help from not the ÖHD, but other legal representation.

The ÖHD said that Kareem and his family were attacked for their Iraqi Kurdish identities, and urged Turkish prosecutors to end their policies of impunity against racist attacks.