On January 13, the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights reported on the refusal of the Chief prosecutor's office of Istanbul to initiate a criminal case against Turkmen activists, on which insisted the consulate of Turkmenistan in Istanbul. The prosecutor's office conducted investigation in connection with the incident on August 16, 2022, when a group of citizens of Turkmenistan, their lawyers and representatives of Turkish human rights organizations tried to convey to the consular staff an appeal addressed to the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov. In response, they were subjected to insults, threats and violence from consular officers. One of the activists received serious head and face injuries. The police intervened, the victims on the same day filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office. The consulate of Turkmenistan also applied to the prosecutor's office.
We were recently able to obtain a copy of the decision of the Bureau of Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation of the Chief prosecutor's office of the city of Istanbul on the complaint of consulate. We believe that it will be useful for Turkmen activists to get acquainted with the position of the Turkish prosecutor's office in this case.
According to the document, the investigation was carried out against Turkmen activists Dursoltan Taganova, Atamurad Saparov and a representative of a Turkish NGO "Ozgur-Der" Mehmet Emin Kachmaz. The suspects have said that they deny the allegation because they did not intend to break the law and did not commit any offenses.
The decision states that the investigation was carried out in connection with the resistance to the lawful actions of officials. At the same time, as noted by the prosecutor's office, employees of law enforcement agencies have the right to use force without warning only in cases where there is an actual attack, or resistance, or an attack to the places and persons they protect, as provided by law, but not in all cases of illegal rallies or demonstrations. To classify an offense as "resistance" requires the presence of three conditions: participation in an illegal rally or demonstrations, the presence of an order to stop it, the forcible suppression of illegal action. It is not the participation in the rally itself that is punishable, but the failure to order of the competent authority to terminate it.
The prosecutor's office notes that "a rally or procession may be illegal from the very beginning or become illegal later on. A person, participating in a rally or procession, may not know whether the given action is legal or not. Only after a warning from administrative body, it becomes clear that the rally or procession is illegal. If the participant continues to act after this warning, that action is an offence".
In view of the foregoing, the prosecutor's office states, there are no grounds to believe that in the actions of the suspects have elements of the alleged crime, so there is no
grounds to prosecute them in connection with the August 16 incident.
That is, to warn, disperse and use force against protesters or demonstrators are eligible only law enforcement officers. Turkmen consular employees did not have the right to use force against the above mentioned visitors who did not endanger the lives of others.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights