Drug gang members arrested over leftist protester's killing
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
During his funeral attended by around 3,000 people, seven people with masks drew attention by holding long-barreled guns, pistols and pump rifles while swearing to take revenge on Gedik’s murderers. DHA photoFourteen alleged drug gang members have been arrested following last week’s murder of 21-year-old protester Hasan Ferit Gedik, while the interior minister pledged to take action against a leftist group that attended the man’s funeral with rifles.
Gedik was shot to death on Sept. 30 after a number of people were raked with bullets while marching against the presence of drug dealers in the Anatolian-side neighborhood Gülsuyu.
Police have detained 22 people since Sept. 30 as part of an investigation it launched against the alleged drug gang members.
On Oct. 3, 17 of the detainees were sent to court with a request for their arrest, but the night court decided to arrest only 14 of the suspects, releasing the remaining three. The 14 are accused of “intentional homicide, using violence and force and deliberate wounding and pillaging.”
The arrests came on the night of Gedik’s long-awaited funeral, which was delayed for three days because police refused to permit the deceased’s family and friends from conducting a commemoration ceremony at the murder scene, ostensibly due to security concerns.
Gedik’s supporters finally forced the police to accede to their demands by staging a sit-down strike for three straights days and nights in Sarıyer’s Armutlu neighborhood.
Immediately after the murder, Gedik’s family also accused plainclothes police of attempting to destroy evidence at the hospital to which the man’s body was transferred.
During his funeral attended by around 3,000 people, seven people with masks drew attention by holding long-barreled guns, pistols and pump rifles while swearing to take revenge on Gedik’s murderers.
Interior Minister Muammer Güler said an investigation into those with the guns has been also launched.
“We won’t permit city bandits,” he said, adding that taking action against the group was as important as the investigation against the drug dealers.
Officers have also begun to examine press photos and security camera footage in an attempt to identify the suspects.
The minister also claimed the family of the late protester was exploited and pressured by illegal groups to insist on entering the Gülsuyu neighborhood.
“These people, who created these scenes aimed at provocation, tried a lot to inflame the attendees of the funeral and to foment an environment of confrontation. But they couldn’t succeed in this,” he said.
Gedik’s murder was the latest in a series of violent incidents that have occurred in the neighborhood due to the ongoing conflict between drug dealers in the area and leftist groups, including the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and the People’s Front, of which Gedik was also reported to be a member.
The leftist groups have earned commendations from residents of the neighborhood regardless of their political views for stepping in to fill a security gap in Gülsuyu stemming from the lack of a strong police presence.
Gülsuyu residents have frequently condemned the state for not doing enough to crack down on drug dealers in the neighborhood.
In August, nine members of the ESP were shot in the legs in three armed attacks. According to narcotics branch office data, narcotics police have taken legal action against 89 dealers in Gülsuyu and the surrounding Maltepe district over the past year.