Hakan Yaman and his wife also attended the demonstration near the Galata Tower at Istanbul's Beyoğlu district, Dec. 10. Photo courtesy of Amnesty International Turkey
Amnesty International activists in Istanbul organized a demonstration Dec. 10 to draw attention to the case of Hakan Yaman, a minibus driver who was severely beaten by police at the height of the Gezi protests on June 3 as he was returning home.
Yaman, who became caught up in one of the most intense police crackdowns on peaceful protesters in the city center, was left with several permanent physical injuries. He lost one eye and 80 percent of the eyesight in the other; at the same time, his cheekbone, forehead and chin were broken, his skull was fractured, and he suffered second-degree burns to his back.
Yaman said five officers gathered around him after he was sprayed by a water cannon and hit in the stomach by a tear gas canister. “They began hitting me repeatedly on the head. One of them put a hard object into my eye and gouged my eye out. They dragged me about 10 to 20 meters and threw me onto a fire. They left and I dragged myself out of the fire,” Yaman said. He was subsequently taken to hospital by protesters.
Activists from Amnesty International called on officials to conduct an impartial and transparent investigation into those responsible for the vicious attack against Yaman.
The event for Yaman was organized as part of the human rights group’s worldwide Human Rights Day activities.
The organization also launched an awareness campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #HakanYamanaNeOldu (“What happened to Hakan Yaman”).
More than 8,000 injuries were reported during the demonstrations, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB). Five protesters, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Ahmet Cömert, Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz and Ahmet Atakan, as well as one policeman, Mustafa Sarı, were killed in incidents directly related to the nationwide Gezi resistance. Another individual, 14-year-old Berkin Elvan of Istanbul, has been in a coma since mid-June after being struck in the head by a police gas canister as he stepped out to buy bread.