According to Evrensel, police officers on Saturday used tear gas and plastic bullets on the gathering in the Mehmet Ayvalitas Park in Istanbul’s Kadikoy neighborhood.
At least 23 people were briefly detained with several of them reportedly being beaten by police officers in the process of detention.
On July 20, 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) carried out a suicide bombing, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Turkey’s recent history, that killed 33 people and injured 104 more in Suruc district of the southeastern Sanliurfa province.
The explosion went down during a meeting of a mainly Kurdish youth group, mostly university students planning to help rebuild neighboring Kobane in Syria.
Among those attending the event were lawmakers from the main secular opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
While police shot HDP MPs Erol Katircioglu and Gulistan Kilic Kocyigit and CHP MP Ali Seker with plastic bullets, another CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrikulu was taken to hospital due to heavy exposure to tear gas.
Speaking to Bianet news portal about the incident, HDP’s Kocyigit said: “They [police officers] aimed their guns at us [lawmakers] while they were shooting plastic bullets. Tens of people were battered and tortured while they were detained by [police.] They used uncontrolled power.”
Kadikoy district governor’s office made a statement following police action in which it was claimed that they have no plastic bullets in their inventory.
“I don’t know what to say to this. I just want to ask them, ‘What is the reason for the [plastic bullet] holes recently opened up in our bodies, then?’,” Kocyigit responded in reference to the district governor’s statement.
HDP’s Katircioglu also stated that he went to the Kadikoy district police department before the march to negotiate so that nothing unpleasant would take place during the protest on Saturday.
“A person, whom I learned soon afterward to be Istanbul’s deputy police chief, seemed determined not to allow the march [planned to take place before the issuing of press statement] and said, ‘sweep them away’ [if they attempt to march],” Katircioglu elaborated.
Lawmaker Seker from CHP argued that the police officers who “sat back and watched” the deadly bombing attack in Suruc were the same as those officers who attacked the protesters on Saturday.
“It was known [by the Turkish police] months before the incident that Alagoz brothers [perpetrators of two separate suicide bombings in Turkey, one being in Suruc] were going to carry out these massacres. Information about them can be found in records of the government and the police department,” Seker said.
He held forth that if police officers did their duty on the day of the Suruc bombing, instead of watching how the events unfolded, people would not have gathered on Saturday to commemorate their loved ones who died in the bombing.