Anti-nukes regarded as ‘ordinary suspects’
MEHVEŞ EVİNCan being against nuclear energy be a reason to be detained? Under normal circumstances, of course not. Doctor Ful Uğurtan explained how she was taken by force from the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Mediterranean Games.
Medical doctor Ful Uğurhan, residing in Mersin, is one of the antinuclear people who were detained for a few hours and later released during the opening ceremony of the Mediterranean Games… What she has experienced might sound like trivia regarding the thousands of violations of rights during the incidents. I wanted to share this because it shows that not only marching and staging a demonstration, setting up a tent or chanting slogans, but just being antinuclear can result in being detained by force.
Dr. Uğurtan, in her letter published in Yeşil Gazete (yesilgazete.org), starts by saying that for a long time they had been waiting enthusiastically for the opening ceremony. She stated that police were extremely understanding toward the tents erected at Barış Square in support of Gezi. However, this picture changed on June 19. That night the tents were taken down, TOMAs (police trucks) intervened with medicated water.
“That day, like a joke, they put up banners in every street in Mersin saying, ‘All Mersin residents are invited to the opening ceremony,’ whereas nobody in Mersin was able to find a ticket for the opening ceremony. The tickets were sold out 20 minutes after they went on sale.”
Dr. Uğurhan was able to enter the stadium with a ticket she obtained with difficulty. “People were bussed into the stadium from surrounding provinces, districts and villages; those who arrived were given snacks, drinks and water… We were eight people from the Anti Nuclear Platform who arrived in three vehicles. At the entrance they took our pens and lipsticks from our bags. When I asked them why they were collecting lipsticks, they told me it was ‘To prevent the writing of slogans around.’”
Uğurhan took her seat waiting for the opening when three plainclothes police approached her and asked for her identity card. When she asked, “why,” they replied there was a tip off against her. What tip off? No answer… Here is how Uğurhan explained the rest of it:
“I started yelling because of the situation I was forced into during the identity check process, among the evil looks of those around. Three policewomen tried to take me out of my seat. My extra kilos that I always complained about, this time were on my side. When they couldn’t get me up then a lot of male police swooped down on me and they took me out by force. At that point I heard one of the spectators say, ‘Silence these scums.’ Then I started shouting with all my might, “I don’t want nuclear plants.’”
Local paper writes
When taken to the police station, Uğurtan saw the rest of the group of eight friends and they all started laughing. As later reported in a local paper, “ordinary suspects” were caught. Her other friends were recognized and detained before they entered the stadium, Uğurtan said. As a result, they were held in a smelly corridor for three hours, and then released.
Maybe it is understandable that wide security measures were taken in order not to upset the prime minister, so that no incident would happen, no slogans would be chanted and no banners would be unfurled… Well, good, but to what extent can you prevent this? How come you would not even sell tickets for the sake of controlling everything?
Nobody deserves this kind of treatment because of their views. Even only this example is a violation of human rights. If it goes as far as collecting lipsticks and humiliating a citizen with the excuse of “there is a tip off against you” then imagine what is deemed worthy of the demonstrator… Turkey really does not have to lower itself this much.
Mehveş Evin is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on June 27. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.