Possible hate crimes in 2007
The cases listed below have not been verified by an additional research. While some might turn out not to be hate crimes there should be many more cases that are not covered here. As far as possible the sources of information are given (mainly names and dates of newspapers).
Hate crimes against ethnic groups and minorities
On 25 January Kurdish students Murat Kurt, Erdal Döndü, Ferhat Demir, Metin Kurt and Cezmi Ersöz were heavily beaten and wounded by stabbing by rightists and police officers in Dörtyol district of Hatay. Murat Kurt said: "A dispute broke out between Kurdish students and idealist students in Dörtyol Lyceum. But the police conciliated. When we were in a public park a group came with sticks and knives. When I wanted to defend myself they stabbed me. They were older than us. Police officers and workers of the municipality also attacked us." (26 January, Gündem)
On 13 February, a group of Kurdish students in Mustafa Kemal University Vocational School were attacked by rightist in Dörtyol district of Hatay. Metin Kurt, Ferhat Demir (Demirbas) and three students were stabbed during the incident. Metin Kurt died in Iskenderun State Hospital and Ferhat Demir is under vital risk. Demir was transferred to Adana Numune Hospital. 15 students who wanted to hospitalise their wounded friends were detained by the police. On the other hand none of the attackers were detained. Metin Kurt was buried on 14 February. The students had been attacked in January. (15 February, Halkin Sesi-ANF)
Ferhat Demir (Demirbas) alleged that the assailants had a connection with Atatürk Society. Student Ali Demirkiran, who was also attacked, stated the followings: "They stabbed me and Ferhat. They stabbed Metin at his heart while he was following them. Metin was stabbed by the person called Muzaffer. The police did not detain Muzaffer although we told them where he was. Metin died in hospital due to loss of blood." Nine Kurdish students who were detained after the incident were released after a while. (16 February, Gündem)
On 9 October the worker E.C. (17) listened to music of the Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya in a park in Sisli (Istanbul). Shortly afterwards a group attacked him, but he managed to run away. E.C. was detained and interrogated on charges of being a sympathizer of the PKKKurdish Workers' Party . He was released by the prosecutor. None of the attackers was detained. (Milliyet, 11 October)
Many shops of Kurds were attacked in Erzurum, Bursa and Mersin. Material damage occurred. (ANF-Radikal, 23 October)
On 24 October Yusuf Bayram, a Kurdish student at Marmara University, left Istanbul Altunizade Male Students' Hostel to go to the university. He was wounded with a knife in an attack of four right-wing attackers. (ANF, 25 October)
Hate crimes against religious groups and minorities
Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Agos, was shot to death on 19 January at 15.00 in front of the office of the newspaper in Istanbul. The assailant Ogün Samast (17) was caught at Samsun Bus Terminal on the same day around 22.30. (20-21-22 January, Milliyet-Radikal)
Windows of the premises of Agope Church Association in Atakent town of Samsun were broken in the night of 28 January by unidentified persons. The sign of the Association on the edge of the road was coloured in black. (29 January, Cumhuriyet)
Two persons opened fire at the garden of Virgin Mary Armenian Church in Kumkapi quarter of Istanbul after the commemoration ceremony organized for Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the paper Agos, on 4 March. According to the news gathered, Volkan Karaova (19) and Yilmaz Murat Özalp (19) came to the church at the end of the ceremony and waited for a while at the door. Afterwards, Karaova fired into the air once. Karaova and Özalp were detained in Küçükçekmece district of Istanbul in the evening. Karaova reportedly opened fire into the air at a Greek church in Eminönü district around three months ago. (5 March, Milliyet)
After the incident Eminönü Security Director Avni Usta was transferred to Çatalca district. (HRFTHuman Rights Foundation of Turkey )
A hand grenade was thrown into the garden of the chairman of the Foundation for Assyrian Churches Yusuf Türker's house in the night of 16 March. No casualties were reported. (20 March, Milliyet)
There persons were killed in the attack at Zirve Publishing House that publishes books on Christianity in Malatya on 18 April. The incident happened as follows: Cuma Özdemir (20), Hamit Çeker (19), Salih Gürler (20) and Abuzer Yildirim (19) raided the office of Zirve Publishing House in Niyazi Misri quarter around 13.30. The attackers locked the door inside and bound the hands, legs and mouths of German citizen Tilman Ekkehart Geske (46) and Necati Aydin (35) by threatening them with knives. Meanwhile, Ugur Yüksel came to the office. The attackers took him inside and bound his hands, legs and mouths. They killed the three persons by cutting their throats. (19 April, Hürriyet-Sabah)
Adriano Francini a cleric of Saint Antuan Church was stabbed on 16 December in Izmir. The suspect, R.B., was detained with the knife (ntvmsnbc.com, 16 December).
Further cases in the US country report
Each year the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State issues country reports. The report for 2007 can be found at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100589.htm. The reports on religious freedom are more detailed. The report on religious freedom in Turkey for the year 2007 can be found at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90204.htm The following cases were taken from these reports.
On May 28, 2007, two Georgian priests touring the country were beaten in Artvin because they were believed to be missionaries.
Three attacks were reported against the Eskisehir church in the municipality of Tepebasi in May 2007. On May 19, the church was attacked with a Molotov cocktail bomb.
In November Ministry of Environment and Forestry officials damaged a Greek Orthodox church on Heybeli Island as it was being restored. The officials claimed the restoration was illegal; however an investigation conducted by island authorities later determined the ministry officials acted independently and without cause.
In November two intoxicated suspects were arrested for breaking windows of the Greek Orthodox Holy Trinity Church in Istanbul's Kadikoy district.
In November security officials thwarted a planned attack on a priest at St. Paul's Church in Antalya. The officials had been investigating suspect Murat T for his ties to other crimes when they discovered a telephone conversation in which he declared his intent to kill the priest. He remained under arrest at year's end for his alleged involvement in five counts of arson, although by year's end, there were no reports of charges related to the planned attack on the priest.
Members of the Syriac community reported that Syriacs who were forced to leave their southeastern villages during PKK-related violence in the 1980s and 1990s faced fewer problems when attempting to return to their villages. Previously, local villagers, particularly village guards, often occupied the homes of Syriacs who fled and refused to leave when Syriacs attempted to return.
The Jewish community numbered approximately 23,000. During the year there were continued reports of anti-Semitic language in newspapers and Web sites, as well as of increased societal antagonism and discrimination, which peaked following the summer 2006 conflict involving Israel and Lebanon and remained high since then.
Hate crimes against the political "enemy"
Note: The countless attacks on offices of political parties are not mentioned here. They will only be listed, if they resulted in bodily harm.
Istanbul University students Günes Demir, Cemal Danaci and Hasan Gönen were attacked by rightists on 11 January in Süleymaniye quarter of Istanbul. The students were wounded with knives and cleavers. (12-13 January, Evrensel)
On 14 January, a group of alleged drug dealers beat and stabbed Engin Nacar, member of Fundamental Rights and Freedom Association, in Yenibosna quarter of Istanbul. One hour after the incident a group of 20 persons organised an armed attack against the premises of the association, a coffee house and Tokat Yesilirmak Association. Some motor vehicles on the road were damaged, Ali Açikgöz, waiter in the coffee house, Hüseyin Bakir and Serkan Yagiz, worker in the Fundamental Rights and Freedom Association, were wounded during the attack. Açikgöz ve Bakir were shot at their chests, Yagiz was shot at his arm. (Milliyet)
On 15 March members of "Conscientious Objection Platform" who went to Çorlu for the hearing of Halil Savda were attacked by a rightist group in the park where they were awaited by police. Police did not intervene, when the attackers insulted and threw stones at the group. Another group was attacked in a similar way after they got out of the courthouse. Busses of the "Conscientious Objection Platform" were stoned while they were leaving Çorlu under police control. (16 March, Atilim)
A rightist group attacked the members of Turkish Communist Party (TKP) while they were collecting signatures for the campaign "We Are not Afraid of the USA" on 1 April in Eregli district of Zonguldak. The TKP members who gathered near the premises of Eregli Municipality on 2 April were attacked. Police prevented the lynching of a TKP member by the rightists. TKP members who took shelter in the Egitim-Sen building after the fight were stoned by the rightists. Police detained eight persons, the majority of whom were TKP members. (3 April Radikal)
Orçun Masatçi, member of Socialist Youth Association and director of the theatre group Yeni Kapi Tiyatrosu, was attacked by rightists. Masatçi was reportedly beaten by three persons with sticks when he was leaving the office of Socialist Platform of Oppressed (ESP) in Çankaya quarter on 2 May. (4 May, Atilim)
Sercan Tandogan, student of Izzet Baysal University in Bolu, was reportedly beaten by rightists. The nose of Tandogan was broken during the incident. (Evrensel, 9 August)
On 21 October a right-wing group attacked Ali Şaro, a student of Sociology Department of Eskişehir Anatolian University (AÜ) in Adalar quarter of Eskisehir. Şaro had to be to hospitalized. (atilim.org, 21 October)
During a demonstration organized by the Nationalistic Movement Party (MHPNationalist Movement Party ) and the Idealists' Union (Ulku Ocagi) in Sanliurfa on 24 October, a crowd attempted to lynch Arife Cirit (28) accusing her to have made the victory sign. Saved by an intervention of the police Cirit was taken to the Anti-Teror Brach of Urfa Police Headquarters. (Milliyet, 24 October)
A right wing group attacked Murat Karayalçin, the chairman of Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) in Gazi University in his car after a symposium. Karayalçin's body guard was wounded with broken glass (Radikal, 6 December).
300 people attacked 10 people who were distributing bills protesting F type prisons in Eskisehir on 29 December. The attackers also shouted slogans damning the PKK. Ten people were taken to the Security Directorate and 4 police officers were wounded (Vatan, 29 December)
Hate crimes based on racism and xenophobia
Nigerian Festus Okey was killed on 20 August by a bullet fired from the gun of an officer in Beyoglu Security Directorate. An investigation was started in connection with the killing. According to the information announced by Public Prosecutor in Beyoglu Festus Okey tried to get the gun of the officer C.Y. and died when the gun was fired during the quarrel. According to the news gathered 40 persons made official complaints against the officers charged in Beyoglu Security Directorate for having been tortured by the police in the last 8 months. (Birgün-Radikal, 30 August)
Hate crimes based on homophobia
Note: The following information was translated from a report by the Human Rights Observation and Law Commission on LGBTT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transvestites and Transsexuals) Individuals and published on 27 October 2007.
- On 27 January Hürriyet reported that MA stabbed 23-year old IC, known as "Sertap" to death in Beyoglu-Istanbul after a discussion.
- On 5 February Takvim reported that two juveniles ("living on the street") went to the house of a 40-year old man in Kocaeli. He and his visitor reportedly asked the juveniles to have sex with them and one of the juveniles attacked the men, killing one of them with 9 stabs and seriously injuring the other one.
- On 28 February Sabah carried a story on a murder in Izmir. The corpse had been cut to pieces with a saw and it was suspected that it might be a transvestite who had gone missing 20 days ago and who was suspected of having stolen money from his friends, who now were suspected to have committed the murder.
- On 20 March Aksam reported on the testimony of FÖ suspected of having killed TA in Izmir. Reportedly he said that he had cut the throat of TA in his flat when he had appeared in female underwear.
- On an unspecified date Birgün reported on the verdict against OBC suspected of 4 killings in Istanbul. For the murder of the transvestite MT he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence was reduced to 18 years' imprisonment since it had been committed under provocation (the victim allegedly said 'take your money back and sleep with your mother').
Further background to this case can be found in Hürriyet of 27 December 2005. According to this report all four killings concerned prostitutes, two of them being transvestites. MT was found dead in her car on 29 November 2005. During a first testimony the suspect stated that MT had asked for 450 YTL and OBC had offered 150 YTL. He had killed MT when he said "for that money you can sleep with your mother".
- 6. A local paper in Antalya reported on an unspecified date that the naked corpse found in a forest belonged to the transvestite A. She had been identified by her family. According to Özgür Gündem of 7 July the initials of the victim were AS (27) who had come to Antalya from Eskisehir.
- 7. On 19 August Milliyet reported on the killing of the student AK (20) in Konya. Two juveniles from the district town Karaman had been detained and confessed to have killed AK because he refused to give them money. It was also reported that AK and one of the juveniles had chatted for two months over MSN and AK had invited him to Konya.
On the Internet page www.kaosgl.org/node/1329 a person named Tolga K. presented his memories about AK comparing his death to that of Baki Kosar. The difference between Baki Kosar and AK was that the first one was openly gay while the other one tried to hide his homosexuality.
- 8. On 21 August Sabah reported on a protest of transvestites in headscarves at the killing of their friend AU (22) in Bursa. 59-year old MI was suspected to have killed her because of a disagreement on the money for sex.
- 9. Milliyet of 18 September carried a story on the trial of US citizen JPC who allegedly killed his lover DU (30) when he said that he would get married (to a wife). JPC rejected the allegation. DU had been employed by JPC in his house in Adana where he enjoyed his retirement. DU had been shot on 14 March 2006 by someone who opened a door in the house and saw him making love to his fiancé H.
- 10. On 13 September Hürriyet reported that COConscientious objector (25) confessed to have killed ÖZ (40) in Gaiziantep on 22 August. ÖZ had been drinking in a park with two other men and they had asked him and his friend to have sex with them. Therefore he had stabbed them, killing one and injuring the other two men.
- 11. On 4 October Aksam carried a story on the killing of MUM (39) in Nisantasi-Istanbul. The throat of MUM, known to be homosexual, had been cut. The police was looking for his 20-year old lover.
- 12. Ihlas.net of 5 October reported on an attack on two transvestites in their flat in Feriköy-Istanbul. BD (24) lost her life and EE was wounded.
- 13. On 19 October Sabah reported on the killing of NC in Ankara. His colleague FK reportedly confessed to the killing after a dispute during which NC had called him "fag".
The complete report in English can be found at: www.kaosgl.org/node/1429
- ↑ [Further details can be found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hrant_Dink in the English Wikipedia]
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_publishing_firm_murders_in_Malatya,_Turkey Further details can be found in the English Wikipedia