Illegal police documentation of Tunceli residents revealed
Ferit Demir Tunceli - Doğan News Agency
The illegal files reportedly prepared by security forces, include a photograph of the individuals along with address, telephone number and other personal data. DHA photoPolice and gendarmerie forces in the Hozat district of the eastern province of Tunceli have been maintaining records of citizens, including the district mayor, suspected of having links to a variety of illegal organizations.
The files, claimed to have been ordered by the local governor, include the personal data of hundreds of people including their addresses, phone numbers, and hair and eye colors, as well as the illegal organization they are thought to be a supporter of.
The files, which the police, the gendarmerie and the local governor’s office each have a copy of, also include a photograph of the suspected individual.
Hozat Mayor Cevdet Konak, a number of officials from the Education Directorate, school principals, courthouse officials, and a 77-year-old man, are among those being closely followed by the security forces, according to the files.
The Tunceli Bar Association denounced the practice, saying it was contradictory to both national and international laws.
“The right to privacy and freedom of expression has been violated. These records are illegal,” said Özden Eren Başkavak Gül, the vice president of the bar. “People are being declared terrorist organization members just because they went to a concert, or because they said ‘hello’ to another citizen. Every citizen in the papers has the right to file a complaint and seek compensation”.
Tunceli Police Chief Hayati Yılmaz said the police had not been involved in the activities and that those responsible would be prosecuted.
“Having gathering the mentioned data is definitely a crime violating the secrecy of private life,” Yılmaz said. “This is the first time I hear of these acts. If there really are such files it is surely illegal and no one should suspect that those responsible will be punished. I will request an investigation immediately.”
Family roots an evidence
In the file for Mayor Konak, who is not a member of a political party, his family roots are also mentioned.
“Cevdet Konak is a member of the Karaballı clan, which participated in the 1937-1938 Dersim rebellion and challenged the state’s authority,” the file reads. He is also accused of being a sympathizer of the outlawed Turkish Workers and Peasants’ Liberation Army (TİKKO) and every probe into his past speeches and banners are also included. “He frequently meets with locals known to have close ties with the terrorist organization [PKK]. He has a soda and water distribution firm in Istanbul, which he frequently travels to. He is a person to be careful about,” the file on Konak reads.
In another file, 77-year-old B.K. is accused of aiding TİKKO, although the file reads: “no links between him and an illegal organization have been documented so far.” The file notes that B.K.’s son, who was killed in 2007, had a record of aiding TİKKO, and adds that B.K. also frequently meets with people who are believed to have links with the outlawed group.