Saturday, April 25, 2009


On April 23rd, Seyfi Turan a 14 year old Kurdish boy was severely beaten by Turkish police in Hakkari on International Children's Day. Seyfi came from a Kurdish family forced by the military to leave their village in 1994. The family received no assistance from the state, and Seyfi's father has been unemployed since.

Here's the story from Hurriyet:

Child beating caught on tape

ANKARA - The Hakkari Governor’s Office and Police Department have launched inquiries into the conduct of a police officer caught on video hitting a 14-year-old boy with the butt of his rifle during a demonstration in the southeastern province Thursday.

The incident involving the minor sparked outrage around the country.

While the police appointed two senior inspectors to the case, the Governor’s Office announced Friday that the police officer was suspended pending an administrative inquiry, reported Anatolia news agency.

The Governor’s Office released a statement that said: "The police intervened in some of the illegal demonstrations and rock throwing in several neighborhoods of Hakkari. During the intervention, the wounding of a citizen as a result of one security official’s impulsive actions was received with distress. The officer in question has been suspended and an inquiry has been launched against those responsible."

Hakkari Governor Muammer Türker told the Anatolia news agency that he was following the medical condition of the boy and those responsible would face administrative and disciplinary measures.

Hit repeatedly
The boy, 14-year-old Seyfi Turan, was seen in the video being repeatedly hit by a police officer with the butt of his rifle. The boy sustained serious injuries and was fist taken to a local hospital and then sent to the Van Yüzüncü Yol University Hospital in the province of Van.

The father of the boy, Mehmet Turan, told the Doğan news agency about his son’s injuries. Speaking in Kurdish because he did not know Turkish, the father said: "They told me the police beat my son. They cracked his head. He was sent to Van from Hakkari. He is fine now but he was beaten badly." Doctors at the hospital said the boy was doing OK but would have to spend another 10 days at hospital. Meanwhile, Van Gendarmerie Commander Lt. Gen. Yurdaer Olcan visited the boy Friday.

There is more commentary by Azadixwaz

BELOW is an excerpt from an article in Zaman about the prosecution of Kurdish children:

Instead of juvenile courts, they are being tried in special authority high penal courts set up after the State Security Courts (DGM) were dissolved and changes in the Law on Terrorism in 2006 made it possible to try minors aged 15-18 in these courts. Recently, two minors were sentenced to 21 years imprisonment in Adana after taking part in pro-Kurdish Nevruz events in Gaziantep on March 21. And on April 22, the Diyarbakır 6th High Penal Court handed down prison terms to six minors, with sentences ranging from six to 11 years.

“I can’t sleep tonight because the court will make a decision on my 15-year-old son. He wanted to be a lawyer, but he won’t be able to. He won’t be able to realize his dreams. He will be a criminal from now on and he will question the punishment given to him as a result of throwing a stone. How is the night going to turn into morning and how is the judge going to decide? Nobody knows the answer except the 6th High Penal Court judge and prosecutor,” said Arif Akkaya, father of H. Akkaya, who is being tried at the Diyarbakır court on charges of terrorism.

The court was supposed to make judgments on six juveniles on April 23, but since this day is a national holiday, the verdict came a day earlier and the minors were given prison sentences of six to 11 years.

There are many juveniles in a similar position in Turkey. According to figures released by Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin, 2,469 cases were opened in 2006-07 in relation to terrorism crimes and 835 minors are being prosecuted.

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