A police officer whose alleged torture and maltreatment of detainees was exposed by Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a former lawmaker who was expelled from parliament and jailed over the weekend, was among the police officers who forcibly took Gergerlioğlu into custody at his home on Friday night.
The police officer, Abdülkadir Yılmaztürk, is seen in a video of Gergerlioğlu’s detention attacking and hitting the former deputy when Gergerlioğlu wanted to make a statement before his arrest.
Türkiye bu fotoğrafı unutmayacak; vicdan sahibi herkes bunu yapanları ve yaptıranları lanetleyecektir.pic.twitter.com/5z3Z34nIOT
— Mehmet Bekaroğlu (@MBekaroglu) April 3, 2021
Gergerlioğlu, a former lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a prominent human rights activist, was stripped of his status in parliament on March 17 based on a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence handed down to him on terrorism charges. Describing the jail sentence as unlawful, Gergerlioğlu refused to turn himself in to the authorities and waited for the police to come and arrest him.
A video of Gergerlioğlu circulating on social media showed that he brought up the alleged acts of torture and maltreatment by Yılmaztürk at the Ankara Police Station in a speech he delivered in parliament on Nov. 29, 2019.
Ankara Emniyetiyle ilgili işkence iddiaları var. Avukat tutanak tutmuş: “Abdülkadir Yılmaztürk, bir memurlarının eline plastik eldiven geçirerek kendisinin kulak memesi ve göğüs ucunu sıkarak işkence ettiklerini, bir soda şişesi getirerek bu şişeyle tehdit ettiklerini söylüyor! pic.twitter.com/hmksvC5UOP
— Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu (@gergerliogluof) November 29, 2019
Seventy-seven people who were detained in operations targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in 2016, were subjected back then to acts of torture by a team of police officers led by Yılmaztürk at the Ankara Police Station. Rıdvan Çobanoğlu, a lawyer representing some of the detainees, at the time had revealed Yılmaztürk’s name and ensured it went into official records as the head of the “torture team.”
In an official document, one of the detainees, identified only by their initials as N.C., said Yılmaztürk wore plastic gloves and repeatedly squeezed sensitive body parts of the detainees such as nipples and earlobes. N.C. said Yılmaztürk also brought a soda bottle to the room and threatened to rape the detainees with the bottle.
Gergerlioğlu had read out the statements of the detainees in his speech in parliament detailing the acts of torture committed by Yılmaztürk.
After his detention on Friday evening, Gergerlioğlu had to be hospitalized and underwent an angiogram in the early hours of Saturday, after which was put in intensive care due to high blood pressure.
The ex-deputy’s son, Salih Gergerlioğlu, tweeted later on Saturday that his father was secretly taken to prison from the back door of the hospital while he was in intensive care.
Gergerlioğlu is now behind bars in Ankara’s Sincan Prison to serve his sentence.
The 55-year-old politician, who has shone a light on controversial topics including torture and prison strip-searches in Turkey’s prisons and detention centers, was expelled from parliament over terror charges linked to a 2016 social media post where he commented on a story that reported on outlawed Kurdish militants calling on the Turkish state to take a step towards peace.
Gergerlioğlu was given the jail sentence at the end of his trial on Feb. 21, 2018, and the conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals on Feb. 19.
The HDP is accused by the government of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. Although the pro-Kurdish party denies the claim, a government-led crackdown on the HDP reached new heights following the failed coup in July 2016.