Jan 07 2018

Turkish police beat youths for long hair, said they ‘insulted Erdoğan’ - newspaper

Plainclothes police officers in central Anatolian province of Çankırı allegedly humiliated four youths for their long hair, beat them in the police station, and accused them of ‘insulting’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

One of the victims, Selim Akdoğan, who lives in the western province of İzmir, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that a person called them ‘clowns’ as he was visiting a group of friends in Çankırı town centre. After a brawl, plainclothes men, who turned out to be police officers, detained them, report said.

They handcuffed us from behind and took us to the police station. There, some 10 police officers started beating us. They pushed me to the ground, pulled me from my hair, and kicked me on the face. My nose got broken.

The incident caused a public outcry because Akdoğan was the niece of Necati Akdoğan, the head of a local craftsmen’s association, newspaper said.

Some 200 people, mostly relatives of Akdoğan gathered in front of the police station to protest the violence, it said.

The victims filed legal complaint against police officers for maltreatment, while the police started an investigation on the youths for ‘insulting Erdoğan,’ a crime with up to three-year prison sentence.

Akdoğan denies the charges, Cumhuriyet said. He accused officers of fabricating charges to cover up the maltreatment, it said.

Governor of Çankırı stated that an administrative investigation was launched on the police officers.

Sezgin Tanrıkulu, an MP from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) filed a parliamentary question about the incident, asking whether a criminal investigation was also launched against the police officers, and if they were laid off, Cumhuriyet said.