Police bans backpacks in Van

Following the notice the Turkish Interior Minister Soylu issued, police have started to visit shops and confiscate backpacks.

The police had searched for and confiscated the Mekap shoes in shoe stores in previous years, and this year they are making the rounds confiscating Jack Wolfskin backpacks in Van.

The police has visited almost all shops that sell backpacks, confiscated the bags and banned their sale. Jack Wolfskin brand is preferred in mountain climbing, picnics and tourism for their comfort and portability.

The reason behind the confiscation of backpacks following food controls in rural areas in Van is the notice issued by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on September 6, 2018.


Soylu had issued the following order in the notice: “The purchase of significant clothing and food items from big supermarkets and bulk shops will be monitored and intelligence efforts will be prioritized. On road controls, suspicious vehicles like trucks, vans and minibuses will be detail searched. Persons in possession of food and vital supplies that can be used by the terrorist organization will be questioned in detail about their residence, route and for how many people they are transporting the items.”


HDP Van MP Muazzez Orhan spoke on the matter and said state forces are now deciding which backpack can be used where and how, like they used to do in the ‘90s.

“They apparently were suspicious because there is high demand for this backpack,” said Orhan and stressed that the notice the Interior Ministry issued wants to control daily life in society.

Orhan pointed out that Soylu’s notice wants to shape what shoes people are allowed to wear or what backpack they are allowed to carry, in the 21st century, and continued: “Society is being criminalized. With this, the state wants to trap our people in a narrow box and make them subjects, encouraging divisions. Such practices must end at once. Now will the gendarmerie decide what the people can eat? Such practices are set in place to pressure society, but they won’t achieve results.”