Mass participation to Deniz Poyraz hearing

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  • 18:03 20 January 2022
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İZMİR - The second hearing of Deniz Poyraz's killer will be held on January 24. Mass participation in the trial is expected.

Party employee Deniz Poyraz was killed in an armed attack by gunman Onur Gencer on the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) İzmir Provincial Organization building on 17 June 2021. The murderer Gencer, who was hastily arrested right after the massacre will appear before judge for the second time. The second hearing of the trial, in which many points were left incomplete, will be held at the İzmir 6th High Criminal Court on January 24.

The murderer Gencer, who came to the HDP İzmir Provincial Organization building in Konak district in the morning on June 17, started shooting after he entered the party building. Gencer, who murdered Deniz Poyraz, continued to shoot around after Deniz was killed. While the police did not intervene for minutes even though they knew the attacker was inside, thousands of HDP supporters, who received the news of the attack on the party, flocked to the provincial building. The message of Fehime Poyraz, the mother of Deniz Poyraz, who learned that her daughter was murdered, "One Deniz is gone, a thousand will come" was embraced by all segments of the society.

The Killer Gencer, in his first statement to the police, said that he worked as a health worker in Minbic, Syria. Gencer was arrested on the charge of "deliberate killing" by the court he was brought before within 24 hours after the incident. The police's opinion that Gencer "has no connection with the organization" drew attention.


While the massacre caused public outrage, the attitude of AKP and its partner MHP once again revealed their hostility towards Kurds. President of the AKP, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “We condemned the provocative attack in Izmir, we condemn it, and we will condemn the anything like this. We believe that all the relations of the arrested perpetrator will be revealed and he will receive the heaviest punishment." Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who frequently targets HDP, has not made any statement about the attack so far. MHP Chairperson Devlet Bahçeli accused Deniz Poyraz. Photos of the murdered Gencer making the greywolves sign was revealed.


Opposition parties and non-governmental organizations also showed great solidarity in this process. The murder of Poyraz and the attacks on HDP were protested in dozens of cities. İzmir Labor and Democracy Forces held a "Breath for Democracy" public meeting on July 8 in İzmir. Posters of Deniz Poyraz fluttered in Gündoğdu Square, where thousands of people from all segments of society flocked. The main slogan of the meeting was "Our promise to Deniz will be peace".


Deniz Poyraz's name was kept alive with many events held throughout the country. While the "Deniz Poyraz Corner" was established for Poyraz at the place where she was murdered, a women's room was opened in the party building in her name. Many families named their children after Deniz Poyraz. In addition, poet Seyyidhan Kömürcü, who received the Metin Altıok Poetry Award, dedicated his award to Poyraz. Mesopotamia Cultural Center dedicated its 30th anniversary concert in İzmir to Deniz Poyraz. HDP Youth Councils organized football tournaments in Izmir, Adana and Istanbul in memory of Deniz Poyraz. HDP Parliamentary Group of Doğubayazıt Municipality of Ağrı named a neighborhood after Deniz Poyraz.


Türkan Aslan, one of the lawyers of HDP Headquarters, submitted a petition to the prosecutor's office for an effective investigation to be carried out on June 18 and June 21. However, none of these demands were met by the prosecutor's office or the police. HDP deputies also submitted at least 35 parliamentary questions and 10 research proposals regarding the incident. However, all of these applications remained unanswered.Türkan Aslan Ağaç, one of the lawyers of the case, also filed a criminal complaint against 15 people who shared racist and insulting posts about Poyraz and his family on social media after the murder of Poyraz.


The investigation against shooter Onur Gencer was completed on October 11, 2021, and the indictment prepared by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor's Office was accepted by the court. It was demanded that Onur Gencer be sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment for "deliberate killing" and up to 7 years in prison for "violating workplace immunity", "damaging the building, facility or property used by political parties or professional organizations". The fact that there are contradictions in the indictment was exposed by legal organisations.

It was noteworthy that the indictment included the phrase "The accused was diagnosed with 'anxiety disorder' and 'mild depressive episode diagnosis' in 2016", which may also have a prejudicial nature regarding the trial process. However, in the report of the Chief Physician of Buca Seyfi Demirsoy Hospital dated February 22, 2021, it was stated that Gencer did not have any psychological disorders.


It was also emphasized in the indictment that the defendant had no ties with any organizations and that the incident was an "individual" event. Considering the report of historical traffic and witness statements in the indictment, it was understood that Gencer was in contact with soldiers and nationalists. It was stated in the indictment that three of Gencer's contacts were soldiers. It was determined that Gencer, who was constantly meeting with these people, was called by these people after the attack.In addition, it was noteworthy that Gencer's contacts were searched for FETO/PDY connections. It was reported that 8 people in Gencer's phone book were investigated regarding FETO.

The indictment also included investigations into the information that Gencer was linked to the International Defense Consulting Construction Industry and Trade Inc. (SADAT), which has always been on the agenda with the training of paramilitary groups that Turkey has fought in different countries and its relations with the AKP. It was stated that there was no evidence that Gencer had a connection with SADAT.


Another detail that draws attention in the indictment was revealed by the lawyers of the case, who held a press conference on the file on October 25. The lawyers stated that the murderer Onur Gencer called the İzmir Police Department 27 times, and although these call records were requested by the police and prosecutor's office, they were given a negative response. The details of the meeting, which the police officials did not release to the case lawyers and the prosecutor's office, appeared in the Demirören News Agency (DHA) 3 days after the press conference. In the report, it was revealed that Gencer called the Hatay Police Station 2 times and the Gaziemir District Police Department 25 times for a gun license. It was written in the report that some of these calls were to obtain a shotgun license, and some of them were to ask questions about the license of the gun used in the attack. Lawyer Türkan Aslan Ağaç, who made a statement after the report, asked how a news agency got this information, which was not given to them.


The first hearing of the case, which started with all these shortcomings, was held on December 29, 2021. Mass participation from cities such as Ankara and Istanbul, as well as the provinces of the Aegean region,was in court for support. A statement was made in front of the courthouse before the hearing, in which women's organizations came to the front. In addition to HDP MPs, members of the Workers' Party of Turkey and the Republican People's Party (CHP) observed the hearing as well as lawyers, professional organisations and bar associations.


The trial, which started with great public support, was marked by the relaxed demeanor of the murderer Onur Gencer. Attracting attention with his relaxed demeanor, Gencer constantly provoked Deniz Poyraz's family. While there were brawls in the courtroom as a result of the provocations, Gencer tried to attack the family from among the soldiers. Lawyers told that this attitude of the killer Gencer stemmed from the strength he got from the political power.


It was also noted during the hearing that the investigation phase was carried out carelessly. Lawyers announced that only 23 of the 72 thousand 667 photographs (that the perpetrator was alone and had taken at the shooting range) were included in the report. Most of the data in the phone was also not examined.


Attorneys of the case stated that the person who took a taxi to the Kaya Thermal Hotel with the killer Gencer was an employee at the Ankara Security Directorate but the statements of this person, Oytun Yüksel was not taken and hotel's security footage was not examined.


Using the brawl in the hearing as an excuse, the court board postponed the hearing without waiting for the lawyers to finish their words. Solidarity is expected to be great for the second hearing, which will be held on January 24. The bar associations, the legal organizations and hundreds of lawyers, who did not apply for intervention in the case at the last hearing, called for participation hearing. Women's organizations have been making calls for days for the women to participate in the hearing in solidarity. HDP continues its efforts for attendance at the hearing.

While mass participation is expected from the provinces in the Aegean Region, many provinces, especially Istanbul, will participate in the trial. HDP İzmir Provincial Organization will also hold a press release with the participation of HDP Co-Chair Mithat Sancar and MPs in front of the courthouse on the day of the hearing. In addition to HDP components, political parties such as CHP and TİP, human rights and women's organizations are expected to attend the hearing.

MA / Tolga Guney

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