Man beaten after unfurling ‘thief’ banner during Turkish PM’s rally
OSMANİYE - Doğan News Agency
Video footage from the rally showed how İbrahim Alıcı, 35, was forced by security to lower his banner as soon as he unfurled it, before being beaten by members of the crowd. DHA photoA man claims that he was beaten and threatened with a gun by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's bodyguards after unfurling a banner stating “there’s a thief” during the ruling AKP's rally in the southern province of Osmaniye on March 3.
Video footage from the rally showed how İbrahim Alıcı, 35, was forced by security to lower his banner as soon as he unfurled it, before being beaten by members of the crowd.
Alıcı told Doğan News Agency that he was subsequently taken into a bus by “three or four of the prime minister’s guards,” where he received further beatings for almost an hour.
“After unfurling the banner I was punched by two people at the rally. This can be seen in the footage. Then they took me to a small bus behind the platform where the prime minister was speaking. Three or four of the prime minister’s bodyguards put me in handcuffs and beat me with batons for 45 minutes to an hour,” he said, adding that these attacks were subsequently registered in a hospital medical report.
‘This won’t end well’
Alıcı also said the chief of Erdoğan’s bodyguards threatened him not to file a complaint over the incident.
“We took the medical report from the hospital, but then the police refused to give it to me, sending me to the Prosecutor’s Office instead. The chief bodyguard then arrived at the police station and threatened me, saying ‘You absolutely will not file any complaint. Otherwise this will not end well,’” he said.
Alıcı said the bodyguard’s anger intensified when he insisted on issuing a formal complaint. “They put the gun to my head, cocked it over and over. They created suspense [as if they were going to fire]. The batons did not stop, they hit my legs, my arms, it was real torture,” Alıcı said. “I will file a complaint against them. They would not be able to do such thing if they did not have the authority.”
Pictures that Alıcı shared with Doğan News Agency showed serious bruises to his thighs and arms.
A former military officer, he claimed that he had initially performed the act in order to draw attention and to personally meet Erdoğan and ask him for help in finding a job.
He said he was wearing a t-shirt with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) trademark light bulb in order to enter the rally unnoticed.
“I have been unemployed for the last two years. I tried to reach the prime minister several times before. I thought that his bodyguards would take me to the prime minister after I unfurled the banner, but I was taken to the police station instead,” he said.
The local election campaign is ongoing amid unprecedented tension in Turkey due to corruption allegations rocking the government and personally targeting Erdoğan.