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'Sex bus' quarrel results in violence, investigation in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 4/18/2011 12:00:00 AM |

A dispute over a couple accused of acting too intimate on an Istanbul city bus by the driver turned into a fight Sunday and led to an investigation being officially declared Monday.

A dispute over a couple accused of acting too intimate on an Istanbul city bus by the driver turned into a fight Sunday and led to an investigation being officially declared Monday.

“Our personnel whose name was involved in the mentioned incident was determined quickly and the necessary procedure was begun,” said an official announcement from Istanbul’s bus management company on Monday.

According to a student involved in the altercations, the bus driver warned a couple on the bus and said, “This is not a place for sex” among other things. The couple was allegedly too intimate but 28-year-old university student Gökçe Koç, who was on the bus at the Taksim Square stop, told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday that the couple was merely holding hands. Koç said he intervened because the attitude disturbed him.

“You can be a conservative person against flirting, but you cannot reflect that with such an attitude,” said Koç. The bus driver stopped the bus and refused to drive any further with Koç and the couple on the bus.

Onat Baş, the male member of the couple, said the driver continuously insulted them and then also got off the bus after they did. Baş demanded to know the driver’s name but he refused, which led him to file a complaint later using the bus’s license plate number. Baş said they left the scene because his girlfriend needed to reach her dorm before curfew.

Koç stayed at the scene and continued to argue with the driver. Then a man arrived and beat him up, throwing several punches to his head and body and then got on the bus. Koç said he asked for assistance from policemen at Taksim Square afterward to file a complaint, but they were unhelpful. After he contacted the city’s bus management to file a complaint, Koç said, “I realized the law will not do anything and decided to try social media.” The story quickly spread from social media sources to news sites.

Baş, on the other hand, made a complaint to the city bus management and received a reply Monday that whatever is necessary will be done.

The bus management in its announcment said they give education to their personnel on public relations, anger management and related issues, “All our employees, our drivers foremost, have to watch what they do in public despite the difficulty of their jobs and the stress they experience in traffic.” The statement ended with the management being sensitive to such issues and no understanding being shown.

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