ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
A court on Sept. 19 ordered the arrest of a man who attacked and injured a young woman on a public bus in Istanbul for wearing shorts on Sept. 12.
Abdullah Çakıroğlu was initially detained following the 23-year-old victim’s complaint that he kicked her in the face on a public bus in Istanbul for wearing short pants.
Çakıroğlu admitted the charge but was released on Sept. 18 by a prosecutor, who decided that the offense of “actual bodily harm” did not fall under the category of an offense that would require an arrest.
However, he was detained with a prosecutor’s order once again on Sept. 18 for “spreading hatred and enmity among people” after his release sparked public outrage.
During his police interrogation, Çakıroğlu reportedly said: “She was dressed against my traditions. I am receiving psychological treatment. I suddenly kicked [her] impulsively.” While leaving the police station for the court, however, the assailant was recorded answering questions from members of the press, saying:
“Friends, everything is under control. There is no problem. I will make the necessary explanation. I was attacked by vandals; 20 leftist terrorists attacked me. Everything happened according to Islamic law.”
During his prosecutor’s testimony, Çakıroğu reportedly said: “I beat people whose outfits I do not like. The state should punish those who dress like this.”
Çakıroğlu, who works as a security guard at a private company, reportedly suffers from bipolar disorder and had been treated at a mental facility multiple times, was recently released from hospital and was not taking his medication regularly.
Hours after his release, Çakıroğlu was detained again after a prosecutor on duty ordered a warrant on the charge of “inciting animosity among society,” as his release caused a massive reaction from a large group of people through social media and on the streets.
A.T. also reacted to Çakıroğlu’s release, saying, “He says, ‘I beat those who do not dress appropriate’ and he gets released… I do not have any words to say… Where is the justice? Do I need to get killed?”
Meanwhile, Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya called the victim to express her support and wish her well. Sayan reportedly assured A.T. that the ministry would be following the investigation closely and requested all support be provided to the victim.
A.T.’s father said: “Can this suicide bomber literally go out and wander around on the streets? What will happen when he kills someone tomorrow?”
Meanwhile, in the Ayvalık district of the western province of Balıkesir, a group of women’s rights activists held a demonstration wearing short pants and holding placards in a town square in protest of Çakıroğlu’s release and to show solidarity with A.T.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Independent Women Initiative member Zehra Tanrıverdi said those who engaged in violent acts against women should face fair punishment.
Tanrıverdi also mentioned another offense committed against a 23-year-old woman in the western province of İzmir a few days after A.T.’s incident. The victim in this case was allegedly assaulted by a male who said “No one can say ‘no’ to me,” after she rejected his advances.
After the attack, the victim, N.G., shared a post on social media describing and condemning the act and said:
“When he attacked me, no single person showed up saying ‘what is this man doing?’ I held his hand but my strength was not enough. Is this manhood, is this being human? What kind of a country has this turned into?” N.G. also posted photos of her injuries she claimed she sustained in the attack.