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BELGİN TAN

Sex as a police punishment

What you will read below is extremely disturbing. It is the firsthand impressions of a Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University student who was detained by police in connection with the Gezi Park incidents in Istanbul.

We, as a generation, grew up in an atmosphere of state brutality, when most of the time sex crimes were part of the torture process during military regimes. Horrible stories and horrible statements were heard. One example is the unforgettable self-confession of a retired general of the September 12 regime. He said, “When I have rock-hard young men at my service, why should I use batons?” when he was asked about torture done with batons… He was arguing that it did not happen, why he should use the baton, when he had other weapons…


Daily News Photo, Emrah Gürel

That was the 1980s. We thought those days were over… Now, it is 33 years later. We live in the age of limitless, endless information exchange where nothing can be hidden… When everything is documented, police brutality is filmed, recorded, not tolerated, unless encouraged by dark-minded administrators…

I will not go on discussing how pathetic a man can be when he uses his sexual skills as a punishment for the other sex. How pathetic it is for him to see sex as punishment… We can discuss that later.

The entry you will read below came through the Internet. It was on the Facebook page of the person narrating. It was also in Hürriyet columnist Yalçın Bayer’s web version of his column. It was sent to Yalçın Bayer by Professor Işık Aytaç, again from Bosphorus University, as the account of her student Erkan Yolalan, who shared his story on his Facebook page.

Erkan Yolalan first thanks everybody who has assisted him, especially to those who fetched him a lawyer.
Here is his story:

“I am at home, I’m fine. I want to write what I went through. My only aim is that everybody knows what is being experienced while in detention. I have no other aim; I want to say that at the beginning. I will write all of the events that happened to me from the beginning and with all swear words and insults included. With all its openness…

“Last night (June 3, 2013) around 9 p.m. I was detained in Beşiktaş, at traffic lights on Barbaros Avenue. I was not involved in any action like swearing or throwing stones. They took me in bending my arm the moment they saw me. Some friends of mine saw on TV how I was taken into custody. Then hell began.
 
“After crossing the lights in the direction of the seaside, while I was at the edge of the platform where the IETT bus stops are at the seaside, any policeman who was there and any riot police squad member (çevik kuvvet) who saw me started kicking and punching me. For about 100-150 meters, in other words, all the way to the Kadıköy ferry station, whoever was present there was kicking and punching. Insults and curses such as ‘Are you the ones to save this country, mother f***, sons of ****,’ never ended. I could not count how many people hit me before I reached the detention bus.

“Just as I was taken near the buses, a few policemen called from behind a bus, ‘Bring him here.’ They took me behind the bus and started kicking and punching me there. I learned later that because of the cameras they took me behind the bus to beat me.

“When I was inside the detention bus (İETT) the lights were out, and I heard a girl’s voice begging inside the bus: ‘I did not do anything, sir.’ I could not even see who was hitting me as I was taken inside the bus and after I was in the bus. The only thing I was able to do in the dark was to cover my head. Curses and insults continued. I sat. Everyone who was passing near me was hitting me. I got up and went to a corner. They wanted me to take a seat again. I told them everyone who passed by was hitting me when I was seated.

They again swore, slapped and punched me and made me sit. 

“They were hitting the girl and throttling her. A civilian policeman whose name is İsmail said exactly this to the girl, ‘I will bend you over and f*** you right now.’ [He – Erkan Yolalan- later added that this policeman İsmail also said, “Now that it is dark and the lights are off I will ****”] 

“And the response of the girl was heartbreaking. With a low voice, she could only say ‘Yes, sir.’
“And next, we, the three people present at the bus, were forced to shout: ‘I love the Turkish police. I love my country.’ They made us yell this again and again ordered us to make it ‘louder, louder.’ The insults and beating did not come to an end.

“The atmosphere seemed a bit calmer, but this time they brought another young person. The guy’s nose was broken. When I asked him why he didn’t protect his face, he told me ‘Two people held me by force and a third person punched my nose three times.’ From time to time there were others brought in. 

“A young person named Mustafa from Bahçeşehir University was brought then. Twenty policemen from the riot squad had attacked him, and he looked too weak even to stand up. Slapping and punching him near the detention bus was not enough for them, they hit his head with a helmet. That was not enough either, they hit his head on the bus window. They took him inside the bus while continuously hitting him. His hands were cuffed from behind; his head was bleeding; they made him sit on the floor. 

“We saw his head bleeding. I went near him and held a cloth (the bloody t-shirt of the guy whose nose was broken) to his wound to stop the bleeding. This police named Süleyman cursed at me and told me to ‘f*** off’ to my seat. I told him, ‘He is bleeding.’ He said, ‘He can bleed.’ He did not care at all. They were holding the guy in handcuffs with all his injuries. We pointed that out to a couple of policemen. Finally, one of them opened the cuffs.

“Actually the second heartbreaking incident happened when we were at the police station for statements. Mustafa asked me this: ‘Did they hit me at the bus? What happened?’ The guy could not remember. He was not fully conscious while he was on the bus.

“As a last point, we could not go to the toilet while we were at the bus. They only gave us a bottle of water. Then we were taken to the hospital for doctor’s reports and then to the police station.  

“Once we were at the police station, an army of lawyers was waiting for us. And the policemen now were talking to us on polite terms.

“I want to thank all the lawyers, all our friends who called the lawyers and everybody who was worried about us. There is not a bit of an exaggeration in this piece. Everything that has been experienced is true and my only aim is for everybody to hear it firsthand.

Revolt against brutality is continuing. This fascist order will be destroyed.”

New Information: This story was at Parliament today, June 6. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Antalya deputy Yıldıray Sapan spoke in Parliament. He referred in short to this incident and demanded that this civilian police officer be found. Sapan also asked how the prime minister, Arınç or the interior minister would feel if such words were said to their daughters, wives, sisters or any other person they know.    

I want that policeman to be found also. And the others.

Note to international readers: Do you know what will happen? This person Erkan will be terrorized with scores of lawsuits filed against him by the policemen in question, all testifying that he attacked them first. The public prosecutor will process these cases much faster, even before the cases against them begin. Collecting the evidence will take ages. The guy and all the others on that detention bus and any others testifying for him will be found guilty and will be given jail sentences. Earmark this paragraph for future reference. 

belgin.akaltan@hdn.com.tr
https://twitter.com/belginakaltan

31 Comments - June/07/2013

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Hina nil

12/29/2013 4:50:49 AM

The character of a country particularly Muslims must be to honor everyone, behave very patiently, ensure safety and implement rule of law. The problem of new world order is that we have lost basic character of humanity. Therefore, social awakening is more necessary and it comes from home, religion and schooling. Modernization has created more wars than peace of mind, peace of heart and above all peace among people.

oscar kizar

11/23/2013 3:47:33 PM

There is no excuse for brutality or violence in any form from anyone. What bothers me is that they only represent one sides view. I am very confident that there would be equal amount of stories coming from the police side of things. I live in the US and on a daily bases if you follow the media across US, you will find many incidents similar to that of described above. So this is not unique to Turkey as some wants to claim. Solution is simple. Bad place, wrong timing, wrong strategy. Avoid it.

Mark

10/30/2013 12:35:47 PM

In response to Elif's point: I've lost count of the number of times in any of the Turkish online publications where there are differences in stories and what's covered between the English and Turkish versions. That in itself sends a message.

David Coster

10/3/2013 2:31:35 PM

It is very disturbing, and yes it is RAPE, but even worse it appears to be state sponsored RAPE. As a frequent visitor to Turkey, I hope that it regains its secular principles, and does not completely slide into an extremist Islamic state. As a Christian the violence in Turkey this year prompted me to reread the Koran, I cannot find any single word in the Koran to support the actions of the Police and the current Turkish court system. Dear Hurriyet do not hide this from the Turkish people

Melis Dener

8/1/2013 5:38:06 PM

Belgin, I am following your blog all the way from East Africa. It is appalling what kind of mindset and hatefulness towards women people get away with. Many ''fine'' examples of journalism on the subject merely laments these events. The voices that criticize these ''misfortunate'' events are the same voices that also objectify women in our society today, that make rape a derivative and a consequence of the female identity and actions. So,thanks for your fresh and frank articulation of the event.

Sami Soulima

7/5/2013 11:52:38 PM

I thought Turkey was supposed to be the brightest light in the Middle East but they jail everyone who disagrees with this Erdogan Government. First they jail the Generals of the Military, then the jail the Journalists, and now they jail the common man, and even rape the common woman. I originally thought Turkey was right for helping the Hamas and humiliating the Israelis but if I, or my daughter, was traveling, I would choose Israel to visit before the nightmare of today's Turkey. Very Sad!

mara mcglothin

6/28/2013 6:32:13 PM

Thanks ROSALIND Some people just don't get it!

Rosalind Polat

6/28/2013 9:59:21 AM

Well said Mara exactly my views. Turkey is a secular country with majority citizens Muslim or 'part time muslims'. Long may it continue to stay secular

mara mcglothin

6/24/2013 4:47:41 PM

VASILIKI Thanks so much for giving us a definition for rape. I am sure that it was very helpful to Belgin. In Turkey, it is very rarely classified as rape, because women by their very evil nature probably wanted it.

Vasiliki Katsarou

6/24/2013 12:20:01 PM

Dear Belgin please be careful how you choose your words to describe such a horrible crime as rape. Using the word sex is extremely hurtful for rape survivors. When you use the word sex you imply that the victims are complicit to what have happened, whereas in reality they were coersed to a sexual act they didn't consent and want either.
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