SPoD LGBTI Office to Remain Closed For a While Due To Attacks, Threats

SPoD LGBTI has announced that its office will remain closed for a while after its office was attacked and the police carried out a search in the office instead of intervening in the attackers.

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An attack was carried out against the office of the Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) LGBTI. Instead of intervening in the attackers, the police obtained a search warrant from the Prosecutor's Office and conducted a search in the SPoD LGBTI office.

The SPoD LGBTI Executive Board released a statement regarding the incident today (June 28) and announced that all association activities planned to take place at its office have been postponed to later dates. The association has also cancelled all of its Pride Week activities as well as the movie screening and Queer Zumba Workshop to take place at its office.

Attacker: "It doesn't matter if you call the police"

At around 9.30 p.m. on June 26, during a volunteer meeting about training on sexually transmitted illnesses planned to take place in SPoD office, someone knocked on the door and started to swear at and threaten the ones inside.

Claiming that someone he knows was held in the office, the person made statements such as: "We know ... is in there, give them up!", "I have my friends waiting downstairs, I will wait until you open up, you will come out eventually. It doesn't matter if you call the police" and "I will catch you, all of you pimps, I will look everywhere, I know ... is in there, if ... comes out of there I will ruin you! I know you are keeping ... in there."

From the police to activists: "Aren't you man enough to come out?"

After the volunteers of the association called the police, they arrived at the scene. However, as the volunteers were not sure that those arriving were the police, they did not open the door and asked them to take the attacker away.

At that moment, the police started to ask questions such as "What association is this! Who is there, why are you hiding?", "I will call the Directorate of Associations, aren't you man enough to come out!" and "Are you afraid of one man?".

Attacker battered board member, police watched

During these conversations, one of the board members of the association arrived at the office and wanted to talk to the police officers. One of the attackers waiting with the police officers outside the building attempted to attack the board member and assaulted them. As the police did not intervene, the board member ran to the association's office.

Later, the officers returned and told the volunteers to open the door. The board member asked if they had a search warrant and wanted to see their police IDs. One officer answered, "We don't need a written warrant anymore, we can get permission from the prosecutor with one call, then we will take this door down" and "Don't make any fuss, we will make legal process work."

Police searched the association's office

Upon obtaining a warrant from the prosecutor, the police officers searched the association office in the company of a lawyer and checked the IDs of everyone present at the office.

As it became evident that the attackers' claims were ungrounded, the board members and volunteers went to Beyoğlu Security Directorate to file a complaint against the attackers.

Threat by the released attackers

The attackers were released in the early hours of the morning and continued threatening the association by saying, "We will follow you until we find our child, we know where you are."

Upon the continuation of these threats, the SPoD Executive Board has announced that all association activities planned to take place at its office have been postponed and all of its Pride Week activities have been cancelled. (ÇT/SD)

İstanbul - BIA News Desk

28 June 2018, Thursday