İzmir court releases suspects accused of lynching Kobane protester
İsmail Saymaz İZMİR
Over 40 people were killed around Turkey in early October amid mass protests called to denounce Turkey’s stance over ISIL.A court in İzmir has ordered the release of all suspects accused of shooting and beating to death a man participating in the October 2013 protests over Turkey’s alleged indifference to jihadists attacking the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane.
Ekrem Kaçaroğlu, a 38-year-old father of three, was shot before being beaten in İzmir by a far-right group on Oct. 7, 2014, during the Oct. 6-8 Kobane incidents. He succumbed to his injuries on Oct. 19.
Four people identified only by their initials were originally detained in the incident, including S.D. and R.A. for firing weapons, as well as K.A. and M.K. for kicking Kaçaroğlu while he lay motionless on the ground. All four are relatives, while R.A. and K.A. are brothers.
S.D. and R.A. were released pending trial soon after the incident on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to try them under arrest. Last month, however, the İzmir 3rd Court of Peace also ordered the release of K.A. and M.K. on the grounds that Kaçaroğlu was killed by gunshots, meaning that the pair could only be charged with intentionally causing injury, thereby permitting their release pending trial.
In his testimony, M.K. admitted to assaulting a prostrate Kaçaroğlu.
“I and some of my other relatives approached the person who was lying on the ground. Due to the anger over the incidents, I kicked the person,” he said, noting that they were forced to leave the area when protesters attempted to intervene.
S.D. and R.A. have also denied firing the shots that killed Kaçaroğlu.
“As we were advancing on the opposing group [of Kobane protesters] together with the TOMA, I fired a shot into the air with a rifle. After I fired, I put the rifle under my arm when enough police came to the scene,” said R.A.
“After dropping off the rifle [at my grandfather’s house], I went back to the market area. I saw a man lying on the ground. There was a crowd around him, but I didn’t go near him; I watched from afar,” he added.
R.A. also said his group went onto the street to “protect our lives and prevent any damage to the houses.”
S.D. admitted to firing a gun but said the goal was only to frighten the protesters.
“My goal was to prevent the group attacking the neighborhood from entering the area and threatening our lives by scaring them with the sound of the gun. I didn’t shoot anyone,” he said, adding that he attempted to stop other right-wing nationalists from administering additional kicks to Kaçaroğlu when he saw him lying on the ground.
K.A. also said S.D. had saved their lives. “When he realized that [R.A.] was in danger, [S.D.] fired two or three times into to the air without targeting anything. When the opposing group heard the gunshots, they ceased throwing stones at my older brother. If it weren’t for S.D., they would have lynched us,” K.A. said.
Over 40 people were killed around Turkey in early October amid mass protests called to denounce Turkey’s stance over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) advance on Kobane. While the government has consistently blamed the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for the Oc.t 6-8 incidents, most of those killed died either at the hands of security forces, far-right Turkish nationalists or Islamist Kurdish groups that support ISIL.