HDP raises claims of police torture over criticism of Turkey’s Syria incursion 

The alleged torture of a man and his two sons by police because they criticized Turkey’s recent military operation in Syria was raised in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly by an opposition party member, the Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Monday.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu asked a parliamentary question regarding allegations made by the man, 59-year-old Mahmut Polat.

Polat claims that he and his two sons were subjected to police torture for criticizing Turkey’s recent military operation in Syria.

Since Turkey’s military offensive was launched in northeastern Syria on October 9, hundreds of social media users were detained and dozens of them were arrested as part of a crackdown on those who oppose the operation on social media.

Gergerlioglu, who is also a human rights activist, on Monday directed the questions including alleged police torture to Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay in the country’s Grand National Assembly.

The parliamentary question came after Turkish police on Saturday raided a house in the southeastern Sanliurfa province because of their social media posts criticizing the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria.

According to what Polat, told Turkish media and Gergerlioglu, the police allegedly insulted and tortured him and his two sons during the raid.

The three were then reportedly briefly detained and released under judicial supervision.

“The fact that the [AK Party] government started with the will to solve the Kurdish issue [in Turkey] and arrived at a point where it left the problem unsolved shows that it cannot rule this country anymore,” Gergerlioglu said on Monday.

Underlining that intimidating dissent by force and violence has become the main policy of the ruling AK Party (AKP), Gergerlioglu stated that they, as pro-Kurdish HDP, condemn and fight against such oppression policies targeting the citizens.

“No one has the right to raid houses of people who would come and give their statements if you called them. Also, nowadays it has become a [infectious] disease to label [random] people as terrorists while the presumption of innocence is clear,” he emphasized.

One of the questions asked by the lawmaker was whether is it true that one of the police officers told Mahmut Polat, “This government has given us the authority to kill you. If we’re not doing that, we’re doing you a favor!”

He continued: “If a government official said these words, who is to protect Mahmut Polat and his family [from them]?”

Gergerlioglu also questioned whether the governing AKP really thinks such practices are the right way to solve the Kurdish problem.

Turkey’s operation in Syria was launched with a stated aim to clear the border from the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that Ankara regards as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdish separatists in the country known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Turkish government has also accused the pro-Kurdish HDP of having connections to the PKK, an armed militant group that has waged an insurgency in Turkey since 1984.

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