‘Police’s unnecessary use of gas and weapons provoking’

11 December 2010
A report drafted by the Security Directorate General on ethnic conflicts that erupted in Hatay’s Dörtyol and Bursa’s İnegöl districts this summer has found that the police’s use of tear gas and weapons is responsible for provoking the crowds involved in the clashes.

This summer, Turkey was shaken by news of ethnic clashes in various corners of the country, with major ones taking place in İnegöl and Dörtyol.

In İnegöl, a quarrel in a small coffeehouse turned bloody when three individuals armed with knives and sticks attacked several people on July 25. Eleven of the 50 individuals were detained in the aftermath of the incident. Locals said the quarrel was a result of animosity between two families, one of them from southeastern Turkey and of Kurdish ethnicity.

The clashes in Dörtyol were triggered by the killing of four policemen in what was said to be a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack. It was later discovered that a gendarmerie intelligence organization was also involved in the attack.

The Security Directorate General’s report was prepared by a special team of three police chiefs, Cihangir Baycan, Hasan Doğancı and Kürşat Yıldız, who traveled to the scene of the incidents during their investigation. Having questioned locals, the police chiefs found that most locals thought the police’s use of tear gas and weapons triggered the public unrest in İnegöl and Dörtyol and provoked the clashes.

While 57 of those interviewed in Dörtyol said they expected clashes to erupt in the district, there was no such expectation among the residents of İnegöl. In the report, it is suggested that districts such as Dörtyol and İnegöl, where people from various ethnicities live, should be turned into areas with a special status. The report also stated that what had prepared the groundwork for such clashes in these regions had been terrorist attacks and clash of economic interests as well as political polarization.

In a section titled “Lessons to be Learned from the Dörtyol and İnegöl Incidents” the report read: “The system of local governor remains insufficient in districts like Inegöl and Dörtyol. These districts should be given a special status.”

In response to the question “What kind of measures need to be taken to prevent incidents like those in İnegöl and Dörtyol?” the report said integration of migrants in the neighborhood and district they migrated to should be ensured.

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