Turkish PM Erdoğan defiant over attack claims on veiled women during Gezi protests
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was defiant Feb. 16 over his claims that a veiled woman was attacked in front of Istanbul’s Kabataş docks by Gezi protesters at the high-time of the anti-government protests.
“The media, with the support of some capital circles, is imposing their agenda on us,” Erdoğan said at a ceremony in Istanbul to mark the start of the construction of a new hospital. “By releasing the Kabataş footage months after the incident, they are trying to cover it up,” he said. “They did not see the attacks on veiled women all around the country during the Gezi protest. They do not recognize the forensic medicine reports, they do not recognize the testimony of the victim.”
Security camera footage disclosed Feb. 13 has revealed there was no physical attack on a woman who claimed she and her baby were attacked by up to 100 protesters in Istanbul at the height of the nationwide Gezi demonstrations for wearing a headscarf.
The claims had been widely reported in the media, although the footage regarding the alleged incident that took place on June 1, 2013, did not surface for months.
The latest footage, released by private broadcaster Kanal D, show the alleged victim, Zehra Develioğlu., walking by the Kabataş docks with her baby without being targeted by any group.
Erdoğan said the footage did not prove anything.
“They become lions when violence on women is debated, but if the victim is wearing a headscarf, they lose their bearings, just like this situation,” the prime minister said. “Do whatever you can, use all your material. But my nation, not the media will write the last headline,” Erdoğan added.
Meanwhile, Develioğlu, the daughter-in-law of Bahçelievler Mayor Osman Develioğlu, told the Anadolu Agency the released footage was a “smear campaign.”
“As if I have not suffered enough, I was forced to convince people believe in my story,” Develioğlu said in her first public remarks since the incident.
“I suffered, and I do not need to prove this to anybody,” she added. “Those who do not want to believe me will not believe me anyway. They would not believe even if a divine camera from the above had recorded the incident.”