On August 16, we reported that Turkmen activists tried to submit a written appeal to President S. Berdymukhamedov. This report also stated that they were severely beaten in the courtyard of the consulate in Istanbul, where visitors were invited.
According to the testimony of the victims, up to 10 men of large physique wearing masks took part in the beating.
After the incident, activists Dursoltan Taganova, Atamurad Saparov and a member of a Turkish human rights organization were detained by local police. They were taken to the Alibeykoy police station. According to the procedure, they first underwent a full medical examination at the Eyyup State Hospital. Despite the bloody traces of the brutal beating of activist A. Saparov and the bruises on D. Taganova’s body, the medical report signed by Dr. Fahri Arslan indicated “minor injuries.” The lawyers were outraged and demanded an alternative examination. The police disagreed.
Unfortunately, this police station had a very one-sided attitude towards the incident: after taking statements, police officers refused to accept a complaint from the victims, although the consulate’s complaint about terrorist actions* of visitors was accepted immediately.
There is information that lawyers were forced to contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs directly. Apparently the order came from there not to slow down the procedure. As a result, the persistence of local lawyers and human rights activists, the promise to highlight in the media the refusal to accept the complaint and the fact of an unprofessional medical examination, brought results. The victims' complaints were accepted, their documents were returned and they were sent home. The hours-long standoff dragged on until late in the evening.
After this, all participants in the incident went to the main prosecutor's office Chaglayan, located in the Mechdikoy district. There, five activists filed a complaint and underwent a second full medical examination in another clinic. This time the doctors issued an objective conclusion. As it turned out, in addition to Saparov and Taganova, Zarina Akhtyamova (head injury) and her 4-year-old daughter Emine (eye damage) were also injured during the incident.
In addition, Turkish citizens filed complaints on their own behalf: lawyer Gulden Sonmez; Chief Secretary of the NGO „Özgür der” Musa Uze and member of the NGO Mehmet Emin Kachmaz. They were seriously outraged by the inaction of the police, who watched indifferently as employees of the diplomatic mission raised their hands against Turkish citizens.
On August 17, a message appeared on the website of the «Afyonkarahisar» Bar Association: “We publish a letter from our Turkmen brothers living in Turkey addressed to the President of Turkmenistan and declare our support.”
*For information: Whenever Turkmen migrants try to reach out to the authorities, consulate officials refer to the alleged terrorist actions of their fellow citizens.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights