Rape suspect sergeant arrested after massive social media campaign
A Turkish court in the eastern province of Siirt on Aug. 19 ordered the arrest of a specialized sergeant on charges of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman, who attempted suicide on July 16 and died in a hospital where she was receiving treatment in the neighboring province of Batman.
The court’s decision came after the prosecutor’s office issued a warrant as a result of a public outcry and a nationwide social media campaign launched for Musa Orhan’s arrest, which has been going on for weeks.
Following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the prosecutor’s office, Orhan turned himself into the police forces later during the day.
The assault was revealed after the victim mentioned it in a suicide note before being taken to a hospital.
The gendarmerie officer had been detained briefly based on the letter but was later released under judicial control by a court despite a medical report confirming the sexual assault.
The incident comes amid an avalanche of reports of women who were subjected to gender-based violence in Turkey.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told daily Hürriyet he has full faith and confidence that the judiciary will do its duty, reminding that the incident is now examined by the judicial authorities.
Soylu claimed that the main reason why this incident was kept on the agenda by some circles was to cover up the rape incidents of a lawmaker from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and other PKK terrorist organization members.
Tuma Çelik, a HDP lawmaker from the southeastern province of Mardin, was accused of sexually assaulting a female party member last month.
The Gendarmerie General Command has announced that the specialized sergeant was immediately suspended from his duty and that judicial and administrative actions were taken against him.
“It should be known that it is not possible for a person who caused the abhorrent incident to wear the honorable uniform of the state,” the statement said.
Representatives of opposition parties also reacted harshly to the incident.
Aylin Nazlıaka, the chair of the main opposition the Republican Peoples’ Party’s (CHP) Women’s Branches, has said Orhan had held the victim against her will for 20 days and later boasted that she cannot do anything to stop him.
“Complain to wherever you want, I’ve done this before many times, nothing happened,” Nazlıaka cited the specialized sergeant as saying on Twitter.