Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ayşe Acar Başaran on Monday called on the government to clarify questions concerning the death of Murat Araç under custody in the Gazipaşa district of Antalya province, saying some people are trying to portray his death as a suicide, EHA reported.
Accusing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu of trying to cover up a crime, Başaran in her statement asked four questions:
“If Murat Araç was under custody, why he was not in a custodial holding center? Why was Murat Araç on the third floor of police headquarters? Why was the door claimed to have been used by Murat Araç to commit suicide not locked? Why haven’t videos of security surveillance that might answer questions about the suspicious death of Murat Araç been released? Why was a lawyer or family members not allowed to be present at Murat Araç’s autopsy?”
Başaran also said traces of beating on Araç’s face and arms also prove that the claim of him committing suicide does not reflect the facts.
Turkish police claimed on Friday that 24-year-old Araç, who was detained at a checkpoint in Antalya’s Gazipaşa district, committed suicide by jumping from a third floor window of the local police station.
According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency, a unit under the Gazipaşa District Gendarmerie Command stopped a passenger bus coming from the mostly Kurdish-populated Southeast at a checkpoint and detained Araç after an ID check.
Araç was referred to court after processing by the gendarmerie and then was deposed at the prosecutor’s office. Later, he was turned over to the Alanya Police Department counterterrorism unit. Araç was taken to the Gazipaşa Police Station from the courthouse, and police claim he jumped out of a window on the third floor at 6 p.m. yesterday. Araç’s body has been taken to the Antalya Council of Forensic Medicine for an autopsy.
“Investigations into the incident are ongoing, and an assessment will be made after the investigations are completed,” Interior Minister Soylu said in Parliament on Saturday when HDP deputy Filiz Kerestecioğlu brought the issue to the agenda.
The Turkish state has a long history of executions in police stations, and there is a suspicion that Araç was also executed and the death made to look like a suicide.
The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in jails and detention centers where torture and ill treatment are practiced. In a majority of cases authorities ruled them as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.
Suspicious deaths have also taken place beyond prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before their detention.
SCF has compiled 97 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey as of Dec. 14, 2017 in a searchable database format.