A result of the despot state tradition
MEHMET Y. YILMAZIt is a problem for the state system in Turkey that two plainclothes policemen torture a woman they have taken to the police station in the Aegean city of İzmir and then “enjoy the protection” of both their superiors and the public prosecutor.
It is a problem where instead of making the offending officer regret his offence, the offence is ignored and he gets a “pat on the back,” as in this incident.
The incident occurred on July 17. For the policemen to be suspended it took the publication by daily Vatan of the police station camera records of the incident and the huge public reaction that followed the publication.
That means the following:
1. The policemen have been protected by their superiors. The head of the İzmir Security Department and his deputies who are in charge of such affairs also deserve investigation. They are the ones who, up until recently, have kept these two police officers on duty, the officers who beat a woman whose hands were tied.
2. The battering policemen have been protected also by their colleagues in the police station. In the video records, a uniformed policeman who sees the woman is being beaten can be seen trying to take the batterers and the victim “outside the camera’s field of vision.” Another one is standing by and watching at the sidelines, as if nothing was happening. While their duty calls for stopping the batterers, they are openly assisting by turning a blind eye to it. What kind of a procedure has been applied to these station policemen?
3. The Vatan newspaper yesterday revealed that no mention of the beating was found in the police report written at the station. The three policemen who wrote the report are mentioned. It is not merely assisting and ignoring; there is also the effort to cover it up. Distorting official documents is in question.
4. The office of the prosecutor obviously has proceeded without watching the police station’s video records and as the written indictment indicates. The evidence has not been collected properly; the necessary investment that needs to be made into the victim’s complaint has not been done. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) has to open an investigation and find out if this is conscious neglect or carelessness. 5. Where are the related doctors’ reports before and after the detention procedure? Had the doctors not seen that woman was subject to violence, or did they turn a blind eye to this? This has to be investigated separately.
Struggle with torture and abuse in police stations does not happen with words; it is only possible by heavily punishing concrete incidents. We will wait and see what will happen all together.
Confidentiality of preparatory investigation
We have experienced the same thing during the incident where Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, alias Cübbeli (capped) Ahmet Hoca, has asked for assistance from a gang in a blackmail incident: There is no such thing as the confidentiality of the preparatory investigation.
Photos, which must be from police surveillance, showing Cübbeli Ahmet Hoca and his men together with several different women are being published in newspapers. Phone records are published that need to be confidential, because they are among the preparatory investigation documents.
Once more, a campaign of extrajudicial smearing is set out. The road is open for society to perceive that the person known as Cübbeli Ahmet Hoca is guilty even before the trial process has begun; a kind of “character assassination” is carried out.
I have written so many pieces, I cannot possibly remember how many, on the violation of the confidentiality of the preparatory investigation by those who are assigned to protect its confidentiality. But, whoever the “victim” is, the result does not change: The police and the prosecutors go their own way.
Meanwhile, there is an interesting detail about Cübbeli’s detention. While the suspect was brought to Beşiktaş Courthouse in Istanbul, riot police shielded him with their bodies to prevent the media from taking pictures.
Like a joke! The office of the prosecutor does not want photographs to be taken at its entrance; it avoids exposure, but at the same time police surveillance photos are leaked to the press.
As a small note, let me remind you that other suspects are spared this sensitivity over the “exposure at the entrance of the office of the prosecutor.”
Mehmet Y. Yılmaz is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece appeared Dec. 12. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.