Previously, we reported that on 08/16/2022 at 11:00 a.m. on the territory of the Turkmen consulate in Istanbul, several civil activists were attacked by employees of the institution when they tried to deliver a letter to the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov. The visitors (including two children and women), as well as their lawyers and representatives of Turkish NGOs, were subjected to insults and threats, and one activist suffered serious head and facial injuries. The police intervened in the incident, and the victims filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office on the same day.
Medical institutions in Istanbul confirmed the presence of traces of beatings on the bodies of the victims. In addition, the victims provided prosecutors with photos, videos and other evidence of the crime. Work is underway on all materials, including video recordings from cameras in and around the consulate building. According to lawyers, prosecutors' investigations are ongoing, including against a consulate official named Merdan and another attacker named Akhmed.
According to THF monitoring, a bandit attack, swearing and threats from consulate employees in the center of Istanbul in broad daylight in a short time caused a strong reaction on social networks in Turkey. As soon as the incident became public, consulate officials tried to play the role of the victims by filing a counter-complaint against the three activists and slandering the victims.
Last week, lawyers for civil activists reported that the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office considered the complaint by Turkmen consulate employees against the victims to be unfounded and decided not to initiate a criminal case. The Turkish authorities transmitted this information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
Experts draw parallels between regular incidents at the Turkmen consulate and the incident with Jemal Khashogi, which is causing concern among the Turkish public. Such a comparison is prompted by repeated attempts by employees of the Turkmen diplomatic institution in Istanbul to bring the most active visitors inside the consulate building. According to migrants, this is done unnecessarily, persistently, rudely, sometimes by force and for an unknown purpose. There have been reports of similar cases at other Turkmen consulates abroad.
Attacks and beatings of Turkmens abroad have become common practice over the past two years. In the August case, in front of the police, Turkmen diplomats also took aim at a Turkish lawyer and an NGO volunteer, which could have led to a diplomatic scandal.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights