Turkish prosecutor drops investigation into alleged racist attack on elderly  Kurd

The Canakkale Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has abandoned prosecuting a man who allegedly attacked an elderly Kurdish man for speaking his native language at a Turkish public hospital, critical daily Evrensel reported on Sunday.

The prosecutor’s office said there was “no concrete evidence testifying abstract allegations.”

On Tuesday, Ekrem Yasli (74) was brutally attacked while he was helping his wife, Bedriye Yasli (71), who has undergone an eye surgery at the Canakkale 18 March University Hospital (COMU).

A relative of another patient at the same hospital room claimed the motive for the attack on Yasli was because he was speaking in Kurdish.

The assailant had allegedly started to abuse the elderly couple.

“This is the Republic of Turkey,” the assailant allegedly said.

He reportedly later left the room and got back with a bottle of water in his hand. He threw the bottle at Yasli and hit the old man in the head. Yasli was treated by the hospital staff.

The Canakkale Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) filed a criminal complaint against the attacker.

At the time, Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a human rights activist, announced the victim’s allegation on Wednesday.

“Just three days ago, we were talking about a youth who was killed in [the southeastern province of] Diyarbakir for speaking in Kurdish. And now that oldster [Yasli] was attacked. Yet there are still some people saying there is no Kurdish problem [in Turkey]. That beats all! Such a large mass unaware of the problems in the country,” said the lawmaker.

However, the COMU administration and the Canakkale Governor’s Office released successive statements, even before the investigation case opened, saying the attack was not due to Yasli’s speaking Kurdish.

Those official statements were followed by the case closure decision of the prosecutor’s office.

The IHD, an Ankara-based non-governmental organization for advancing human rights in Turkey has criticized the decision of the judicial authority.

“[The prosecutor’s office] prevented the [victim’s] lawyer from reaching the investigation case on the grounds that it was not completed. However, the office decided on the same not to prosecute the incident,” the IHD statement read.

Since early October, Turkey has been carrying out an incursion into Kurdish-led north-eastern Syria against the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG).

In the eyes of Ankara, the YPG is a “terrorist offshoot” of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) waging a separatist insurgency within the country since 1984.

Turkish police prevent pro-Kurdish MPs’ protest against Syrian incursion

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