Young Turkish man beaten by police in quake-hit province after looting accusations

Muhammet Gündüz has filed a complaint after being beaten by the police for allegedly being a looter. While beating him, one of the police officers reportedly told Gündüz, “I will relieve my stress with you.”

Can Bursalı / Gazete Duvar

Many people were lynched for allegedly being looters in the past week, which became a big problem after the Feb.6-dated major earthquakes. One of those people was Muhammet Gündüz, who was beaten by the police in the southern quake-hit Hatay province. 

Gündüz, whose house was damaged in the earthquakes, said he went to the rubble in the Armutlu neighborhood to rescue his friend's family. Gündüz said that he helped in search and rescue efforts for two days and that he and his friend were looking for a place to use the restroom in the evening.

“We went into the entrance of an empty building. At that time, people who saw us going in there told the police in the neighborhood (because suspecting that they were looters). As soon as the police arrived, they started beating us.”

He stated they were directly beaten without even being frisked. Gündüz said that one of the police officers wanted to conduct a body search, but the other police officers did not allow him to do so and said, "First, let us beat you; and then we will frisk you."

Another police officer told him, "God sent you to me. Now I will relieve my stress." 

Gündüz said that the police contacted his relatives to confirm that they had participated in the rescue efforts and released them. He added that they were taken to three or four locations by the police during the beatings and that they were handcuffed behind their backs and subjected to violence. 

Gündüz said that he was taken to the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir by his family after being beaten and acquired an assault report there. Gündüz made a statement at the police station and filed a complaint against those officers who beat him.

Turkey's southeastern region was struck by two powerful earthquakes last week. Since then, videos have emerged showing the battering of people alleged to be "looters." 

Justice Minister Bozdağ on Feb. 12 said that 64 suspects were detained in 75 separate “looting” incidents, and 57 people were arrested.

Ahmet Güreşçi was taken into custody for allegedly being a "looter" in Hatay with his brother and lost his life while under detention on Feb 12. 

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)