Police attack protest in Van against racist attack in Konya

Turkish police in Van attacked a protest by political and civil society organizations against the racist attack on a Kurdish family in Konya that left seven dead. At least five people were detained.

In Van, a protest by political and civil society organizations against the deadly attack on the Dedeoğulları family of seven in Konya was attacked by Turkish police on Saturday. Officers initially used force to disperse the crowd, and later used water cannons and tear gas. At least five people were taken into custody. What they are accused of is unclear.

The Dedeoğulları family, originally from Kars, was the victim of a racist attack on Friday. All seven members - Yaşar Dedeoğulları, Barış Dedeoğulları, Serpil Dedeoğulları, Serap Dedeoğulları, İpek Dedeoğulları, Metin Dedeoğulları and Sibel Dedeoğulları - were killed by Turkish nationalists. After the killings, the house was set on fire. The act has caused anger and horror among the Kurdish population. In numerous cities in Turkey as well as in Northern Kurdistan, but also abroad, outrage over the extermination of an entire family drove angry people onto the streets.

IHD: An “announced massacre”

In addition to the HDP, the CHP, EMEP, ESP and 23 NGOs based in Van had also called for the protest in the city. Reading out a joint statement, the chairman of the provincial branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD); Mehmet Karataş, called the racist attack on the Dedeoğullarıs an "announced massacre." Karataş recalled that the family had already been attacked and seriously injured by a lynch mob consisting of sixty people at their home in Meram district on May 12. Seven of the attackers had been temporarily detained and released for "lack of evidence" and placed under police protection.

Hateful rhetoric at government level paves way for anti-Kurdish racism

"Racist attacks against Kurds and the HDP are not independent of the government's hateful rhetoric and policies. The fact that members of the ruling party do not condemn these attacks, they share the sentiments of the perpetrators and openly stand up for them, leads to an increase in these attacks. The fact that representatives of the ruling coalition of AKP and MHP take the approach of blaming the victims harms social peace and community coexistence," Karataş said.

The lawyer further said: "As democratic forces in Van, we vehemently condemn any attacks that are directed against the right to life and lead to serious human rights violations and social trauma. We demand that hateful rhetoric that lays the foundation for racist attacks of all kinds against Kurdish identity and language and harms social peace be abandoned. We invite all sectors of society, political parties and mass democratic organizations to defend social integrity against this racist climate."

Other protests were held in Amed (Diyarbakir), Dersim, Şırnak, Urfa, Batman, Hakkari, Istanbul, Adana, Hatay and Iskenderun, among others.