Turkish parliamentary panel files complaint into woman’s claims of mistreatment under detention
ANKARAA parliamentary commission has filed a complaint in order to investigate a woman’s allegations of mistreatment under detention in Istanbul.
Parliament’s Human Rights Commission filed a complaint to a public prosecutor’s office regarding Bergül Varan’s accusations that she was mistreated while she was in detention, commission head Mustafa Yeneroğlu from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said on June 8.
The commission’s move came after reports of Varan’s mistreatment by police officers after she was detained during a police raid on the İdil Culture Center in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı district on May 30.
She said her hair was pulled out from the root by the police officers, who were listening to recordings of an Ottoman-style “mehter” military band at the time.
Saying she lives in the Netherlands and had arrived in Turkey for a visit lasting a couple of days, Varan, who is the sister of left-wing Turkish band Grup Yorum member Betül Varan, said she was tortured inside the riot-police vehicle.
“When they raided the culture center, they put us in a riot-police vehicle. They applied intense torture inside the vehicle. It was like they had prepared for it. They first held my hair, turned it around and then pulled it out. They were dancing with my hair while listening to the ‘mehter’ march. They were throwing my hair around,” Varan said.
The incident was also on the agenda of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers, with Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu submitting a parliamentary question to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
“Will an investigation be launched or was it launched against the police officers who tortured Bergül Varan? If a probe has already been launched, what is the current state of it? Will those police officers be dismissed?” Tanrıkulu said.
“When did the AKP’s policy of ‘zero tolerance for torture’ end? If this policy didn’t end then what’s the explanation of the aforementioned torture? What does the forensic report of the 14 people detained at the İdil Culture Center say exactly?” he added, also demanding information regarding investigations into torture allegations over the last five years.
Another CHP Istanbul lawmaker, Barış Yarkadaş, said “the police are being encouraged to apply torture.”
“The government thinks the only way it can survive is to apply torture,” Yarkadaş said, adding that “those who stay silent on the face of torture are partners of the same crime and shame of the torturers.”
“Are you planning to govern the country by pulling out the youth’s hair?” he said.