Istanbul governor defends crackdown on May Day

Istanbul governor defends crackdown on May Day

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul governor defends crackdown on May Day

Trade unions and the main opposition party, however, have expressed their anger at the police action. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Istanbul’s governor has defended the police’s intervention at May Day in Istanbul amid the difficult recovery of three people who were seriously wounded by tear gas canisters fired by officers during a harsh crackdown on demonstrators. 

Trade unions and the main opposition party, however, have expressed their anger at the police action.
Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said May 2 that three seriously wounded people, including 17-year-old Dilan Alp, were militants for “marginal groups” and were involved in clashes. 

“Dilan is a member of a marginal group. We have her reports. She is involved in the clashes. [She is] a radical. There is no wrong or negligence in what we did,” Doğan news agency quoted Mutlu as saying. The governor also said he was satisfied with his decisions to crack down on the protests, adding that anyone could file suits at any local or international courts.


Dilan Alp 

Alp, who was with a small group, was struck in the head by a gas canister fired by police as she was trying to escape a barrage by authorities. She was immediately taken to the Taksim First Aid Hospital where she underwent surgery that lasted a number of hours. She woke up yesterday and shook her hand to her family, although her situation is said to be critical. 

Meanwhile, İbrahim Kultuay, 58, died in İzmir May 2 after he was stuck in the clashes while he was marching with the People’s Independence Newspaper during a May 1 rally, Doğan news agency reported.

DİSK chairman Kani Beko accused the government and the governor of acting ideologically and being an enemy of the workers.

Beko also said 10 people were brought to the Taksim First Aid Hospital with wounds sustained in clashes with police, while another 100 were taken to Şişli Etfal Hospital with injuries. 

One man was taken for surgery at Haseki Hospital, Beko said, noting that the individual’s situation was critical. Okmeydanı Hospital received 10 people, while the Türkiye Hospital received two injured people,
he added.

Main opposition to file law suit

Deputies of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said they would file a suit about the incidents. The CHP’s Istanbul branch head, Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, said the only marginal group during May Day in Istanbul was the police. CHP deputy leader Umut Oran also said the police were punishing opponents of the government.

Meral Dönmez, a woman who was wounded in the head with a tear gas canister, reportedly regained consciousness yesterday, but doctors reportedly said her wounds might cause permanent damage. Dönmez was showing signs of recovery May 2, according to media reports. 

Reaction to governor

Her parents reportedly accused Mutlu of describing her daughter as a member of a “marginal group,” asking whether being “marginal” was an excuse for causing death. Dönmez is a teacher who has not been posted to any school after she was arrested in 2011 during a protest. Mutlu said on May 1 that one of those who suffered head trauma was injured because of stones thrown by protesters. 

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Sabahat Tuncel, meanwhile, visited Alp in hospital. Önder told reporters that the group chased by the police consisted of only seven young students. 

“Police used the canister of the tear gas as a bullet. It exploded right on [Alp’s] head. The Police Department said in a statement that she fell from the stairs. If something happens to her, we will hold the person who made that statement responsible,” Önder said Tuncer also excoriated the police for its attitude during the demonstrations. 

“Dozens of our friends have been injured. We have faced state terrorism. [Alp’s] situation is critical. She is supposed to sit the [university entrance] test. We wish her a speedy recovery,” she said.

Meanwhile, supporters of the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) gathered in Mersin to protest the police’s attack on Alp. Some 13 people were detained by the police during the protest.