Footage of jailed Mardin mayor being brought to hospital stirs debate

Footage of jailed Mardin mayor being brought to hospital stirs debate

Footage of jailed Mardin mayor being brought to hospital stirs debate

DHA Photo

Footage of Ahmet Türk, the ousted and jailed mayor of the southeastern province of Mardin, being brought to hospital in the eastern province of Elazığ has stirred debate among social media users and politicians due to accusations he was restrained in handcuffs despite his severe health condition. 

Many social media users shared the photo of Türk, 74, being escorted to hospital by gendarmerie officers, saying it was an inappropriate measure for a veteran politician with health issues.

“There’s no oppression you haven’t seen,” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul MP Pervin Buldan tweeted regarding Türk. “But you’ve never abandoned your stance.”

Political opponents also reacted to the photo, with a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker from the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Galip Ensarioğlu, saying the footage was disturbing.

“The way Ahmet Türk was treated wasn’t appropriate. The people should be treated according to their age and their position. Handcuffs are put on a person as a precaution if there is the possibility of escape. People who are not known to escape and who have a certain political identity should be treated by protecting their human dignity. The footage was disturbing,” Ensarioğlu said.

Former AKP lawmakers also echoed Ensarioğlu.

“I wish that incident hadn’t happened. It wasn’t right. Everyone is equal in the face of law, but it wasn’t right to handcuff Ahmet Türk, who is known to have been suffering from health problems and who has a political identity. In order to relieve the conscience of the society, he should’ve been tried without arrest all along,” former AKP Diyarbakır lawmaker Abdurahman Kurt said.

Another former AKP lawmaker from the eastern province of Batman, Mehmet Emin Ekmen, also said the public agreed he should have been tried without arrest, given his age, health and political stance.
“The practices in jail should be carried out with kindness,” he said. 

Another figure that reacted to the photo was main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who said those responsible for the treatment were heartless.

“Ahmet Türk has been struggling with serious diseases in his heart. He has a heart, but those who created that photo don’t,” Tanrıkulu tweeted. 

Upon the increase in criticisms, the Elazığ Governor’s Office released a statement, saying Türk was not handcuffed. 

“In no phase was Ahmet Türk handcuffed,” the statement released from the governor’s office read.

Türk was ousted on Nov. 17, 2016, and was arrested over a terror investigation on Nov. 24, 2016. 

After being arrested, Türk was held in Silivri Prison until being transferred to Elazığ. A number of political figures, including the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, have called for him to be tried without arrest.

Türk’s lawyer Zeynep Öztoprak recently announced that Türk’s health report was missing.