Kurdish politician Ferhat Encü has filed a criminal complaint against an opposition party mayor in northwestern Turkey for allegedly insulting him in comments about Encü being slapped by a policeman at a protest in İstanbul over the weekend, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Tuesday.
The İstanbul police on Sunday intervened in a protest in Kadıköy, where Artı TV cameraperson Mehmet Zeki recorded a Turkish plainclothes police officer slapping Encü, İstanbul co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and also a former member of parliament who was participating in the demonstration.
Commenting on the slap, which sparked widespread condemnation and further demonstrations, on social media, Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan said that what the police officer did was less than what Encü deserved for pushing him during the scuffle.
“Does being the HDP’s provincial chair give you the right [to push an officer]?” the mayor asked Encü, using a profanity to refer to him.
Şimdi Fox haberi izliyorum.Bir komiser HDP il Başkanı na tokat atmış.Adam az bile yapmış.Polisi itmek nedir? HDP İl Başkanı olman sana ayrıcalık mı sağlıyor…terörü lanetlemediğiniz her gün benim size hep bir sözüm olacak.PKK nın sözcüleri,bu arada kına geldi mi?@HDPgenelmerkezi
— Tanju ÖZCAN (@tanjuozcanchp) December 19, 2022
According to Mezopotamya, Encü filed the complaint with the Bolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and asked Özcan to be prosecuted on charges of insulting him.
The İstanbul Governor’s Office previously said in a written statement that Encü had insulted the police officers breaking up the protest, adding that an investigation had been launched regarding the content of video footage that records Encü’s detention by the police.
Encü lost 11 of his relatives when 34 young Kurdish civilians, all male, were killed on Dec. 28, 2011 when Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) jets bombed them after they were mistaken for terrorists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the Uludere district of Şırnak in southeastern Turkey.
HDP Co-chairperson Pervin Buldan said in a statement on Monday that it was not only Encü but the people of Uludere who were given that slap by the policeman days before the 11th anniversary of the Uludere incident.
The Turkish government is accused of covering up the tragedy and not bringing a single person to court due to the bombing of civilians.
In late September, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) suspended the membership of Özcan, who is notorious for his anti-refugee policies, for a year over sexist remarks.
Özcan frequently sparks criticism from human rights groups due to his comments and measures targeting refugees living in the city such as imposing exorbitant fees for municipal services on them.
The Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (TİHEK), a governmental organization responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, previously imposed a TL 40,000 ($2,143) administrative fine on the Bolu Municipality for “violation of the prohibition against discrimination.”