A German tourist, Leonard Viohl, who hung posters calling for the release of Kurdish opposition leader Selahattin Demirtaş, was subjected to verbal and physical abuse by Turkish police on Nov. 4, the night of Demirtaş’s detention, the Bianet news portal reported on Tuesday.
According to Bianet, plainclothes police officers approached Viohl after he pasted some posters on walls in İstanbul’s Tarlabaşı neighborhood that read: “Free Demirtaş.” The police officers reportedly began to hit and swear at Viohl after they found one of the posters in his pocket. They also accused the tourist of being a terrorist and an agent.
The news portal also released a voice record which was kept on Viohl during the incident. Police officers are heard in the recording saying “So, Free Demirtaş? Who the hell gave this to you! Demirtaş is a terrorist, you are a terrorist too! Why the hell have you come to Turkey? You don’t speak Turkish, you come to Turkey. Are you an agent? What the hell is your purpose? You don’t understand Turkish but I’ll f.ck you”.
Viohl said the police officers set him free without making an official detention. The German tourist also said he recorded the remarks of the police officers during their attack with his voice recorder.
Co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş along with the party’s other Co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and eight other deputies were arrested earlier this month over terrorism charges.