Fourteen people, including two children, have been detained over singing Kurdish songs at an İstanbul park, a Turkish daily reported on Aug 21.
According to Cumhuriyet daily, a group of Kurdish people were having fun and singing songs on Aug. 7 at a park in İstanbul’s Esenyurt district. The police then intervened and detained them all.
Two children were later released, but 12 of the group were jailed pending trial.
Mazlum Metin, one of the detained told prosecutor that he and his friends sang one song in Turkish and two Kurdish songs. After a while, a group of police officers arrived at the park after getting a call. The group was chanting “Kurdistan will be a grave for Turkish Republic,” the indictment claimed, elaborating about the charges against the detainees.
The group rejects the charge. Prosecutor cited police report and ‘silence of the detainees’ as evidence about the charge.
Gamze Sariyel, lawyer of the accused young people, said police already made up their decision after examining ID cards of singing group at the park.
“The police came to park and looked at the IDs of them, and saw Diyarbakir as hometown in eight IDs. Police then was heard saying as ‘These guys are certainly terrorists’,” Sariyel told Cumhuriyet daily.
Esenyurt is a district in Istanbul and is home to large number of Kurdish migrants who moved from Turkey’s southeast, a region hit by bloody conflict between Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and the Turkish security forces, seeking safety and peace in Istanbul.
Detainees complained about mistreatment at police hands and said they were subjected to police beating both at the park and in detention.