‘Hate crime’ committed against Roma people, claims CHP deputy
AFYONKARAHİSAR – Doğan News Agency
AA photoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir deputy Özcan Purçu has said he will file a criminal complaint against the mayor of the central province of Afyonkarahisar for calling Roma people who live a nomadic life in the outskirts of the city “crime machines,” adding the mayor’s remarks constituted a “hate crime.”
Making a press statement in front of the Afyonkarahisar municipal building, Purçu said he was Roma and living a nomadic life was the case for most of these people.
Saying that he called Afyonkarahisar Mayor Burhanettin Çoban to request services such as water, a playground and toilets for the Roma people who live in tents in the province, Purçu added his demand was first regarded positively but then was neglected.
“We requested water, a playground and toilets by talking to Mayor Burhanettin Çoban on the phone. The mayor said he would try to help. But there has not been any developments for three months,” said Purçu, adding that he tried to contact the mayor recently via his advisor but received a negative response.
“‘Why does he always bother me? Mr. Purçu’s demands are big demands, we can’t realize them. Tell him not to bother us again. The Roma people living there are crime machines,’ he [Çoban] said... I came from there as well, am I a crime machine?” asked Purçu, adding that he called the province’s police headquarters and asked whether there was anyone committing crime there and learned that was not a case.
“Mayor Çoban is committing a hate crime with his statements. We will file a criminal complaint against him,” said Purçu.
Çoban, in response, said he did not say anything targeting Roma citizens in the province other than those living around the Ankara highway.
“‘Our nomad citizens for whom the respectful deputy wanted asphalt, a playground, water, electricity and toilets are not from Afyon [Afyonkarahisar]. They come here temporarily for four to five months. They are bothering everybody. Our Roma citizens who are settled in Afyon are not happy with them either. These are not regular Roma people, but almost like a ‘crime machine.’ But please notice that I am underlining it: When I say ‘crime machine,’ I do not mean our Roma citizens who live settled in Afyon or in other cities. I mean nomads living around the Ankara highway for whom the respectful deputy wanted service,’ I said,” said Çoban, adding that he had provided all kinds of services for Roma citizens living in different parts of Afyonkarahisar.