Police officer denounces superiors for attempt to hit Gezi Park protester
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL
Tevfik Caner Ertay, a university student in Eskişehir, claimed he had been beaten by police officers with iron sticks and locked in the trunk of a car.A policeman has given testimony saying his superiors attempted to beat a university student in the trunk of a car during the Gezi Park protests of 2013 in Turkey’s northwestern province of Eskişehir.
Mevlüt Saldoğan, who testified in the case of Tevfik Caner Ertay, a protestor who was allegedly beaten and held in the trunk of a car during the Gezi Park protests, denounced his three superiors for hitting Ertay.
Saldoğan denounced then-Provincial Police Department Forces deputy head Mustafa Aygün, Riot Police Branch head Halil Kısalar and Intelligence Branch head Mustafa Arık, for attempting to beat Ertay.
“During the beating attempt, I told my three superiors something like, ‘He is already wounded, my superiors, why are you dealing with him?’ The man [Ertay] was mumbling to himself while crying in the back of the car,” said Saldoğan.
While the three heads rejected the claims of beating Ertay, Kısalar and Arık admitted the car had stopped and they had looked at Ertay, who was being held in the car’s trunk. Aygün said Ertay had already been beaten before he was put in the car.
On Jan. 21, Saldoğan was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in prison by the Kayseri 3rd High Criminal Court on charges of injuring and causing the death of Ali İsmail Korkmaz, a university student who was beaten to death during the Gezi protests in Eskişehir.
While Saldoğan’s lawyer appealed the court’s decision, he could be granted probation as early as March 2019, as he has already been under arrest for 18 months.
Ertay, a university student in Eskişehir, claimed he had been beaten by police officers with iron sticks and locked in the trunk of a car. He said the car had stopped at some point and a group of policemen had beaten him again. After being driven around the city, Ertay was taken to two different hospitals.
Footage from the entrances of the two hospitals revealed Ertay was taken out of the trunk and into the hospitals.
Upon a query by the office of the Eskişehir chief prosecutor, the police department had reported the car carrying Ertay belonged to one of the department’s bureaus and was given to Saldoğan, who was responsible for the car.
Saldoğan said he had been informed of the location of a wounded protester at a specific location. He had driven to the location, where three police officers brought Ertay out of a house and put him in the back of the car. One of the officers, and also a superior to Saldoğan, ordered him to take Ertay to hospital and then detain him.
Saldoğan said while they were on their way to the hospital, Aygün, Kısalar and Arık had stopped the car, opened the trunk and attempted to hit Ertay, adding that he and a fellow police officer in the car had tried to prevent them from doing so.
“I do not know why our managers tried to hit the plaintiff. I did not see our supervisors hit him. There was only an attempt,” said Saldoğan.
The Gezi Park protests that began as a sit-in protest against the uprooting of trees in a central park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in late May 2013 to build a military barracks-styled shopping mall and residence led to country-wide demonstrations that lasted more than two months and resulted in the death of eight civilians.