Both governor and police at fault for May Day protester’s injuries, Ombudsman says

Both governor and police at fault for May Day protester’s injuries, Ombudsman says

Both governor and police at fault for May Day protester’s injuries, Ombudsman says

The impact of the gas canister severely injured 17-year-old teenager, who was chased by the police while participating in the May Day demos with a group of friends. DHA photo

Turkey’s ombudsman published a report Nov. 20 stating that both the Istanbul governor and the police were at fault for the severe injuries inflicted on a young protester by the impact of a tear gas canister during the May Day demonstrations.

The police’s use of the gas canister was contrary to the framework established by the European Convention of Human Rights, Ombudsman Nihat Ömeroğlu’s report said, while also accusing Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu of discrediting the injured protester with allegations of being a member of illegal groups. 

Dilan Alp, a 17-year-old high school student, was struck in the head by a tear gas canister after being chased with her friends by the police in the narrow alleys near Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. The incident was captured by video footage in which Alp was seen lying unconscious in front of an apartment where she was trying to take refuge after being hit as tear gas continued to rise from the canister right in front of her face. 

Dilan’s family decided to apply to the Ombudsman and file a formal complaint against Gov. Mutlu and the police department.


Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni
Mutlu claimed that Dilan Alp
was a member of illegal groups.
DHA photo

Hours before the incident, Gov. Mutlu had accused Alp of throwing Molotov Cocktails at the security forces, supporting his statement with footage showing her carrying a bottle in one of her hands. However, some media outlets analyzing the images claimed that the bottle likely contained vinegar, used against the effects of tear gas, instead of fuel.

“In the [video] records in question although Dilan [Alp] is seen at the side of protesters throwing stones [at the police], there is no record showing Dilan throwing a stone or a Molotov [Cocktail]. It can be said that whether she was holding a bottle of vinegar or a Molotov Cocktail in her hand has not been determined,” the report said. 

The report also says that police officers fired 15 times from a distance that was too short according to the regulations and therefore committed a violation of law. 

Governor ‘discredited minor without record’

The Ombudsman slammed Gov. Mutlu in particular for his statements claiming that Dilan was a member of “marginal” groups. 

“Considering that Dilan is a minor without any criminal record, Istanbul Gov. Mutlu’s press statements were such as to discredit [Alp’s] dignity and reputation,” the report said, emphasizing that these sorts of statements were particularly unlawful. 

The young teenager’s woes did not end after being transferred to the hospital, as she was prematurely discharged due to a “lack of space.”

Her family categorically denied that Alp was a member of any “marginal” organization.