Turkish policemen on trial for attack on trans woman

May 29, 2009

Turkish flagVia Bianet, this report (link here) provides an update on the long-running trial of two Turkish policemen for violently attacking a trans woman called Esmeray.

According to Blanet’s original report (link here), in June 2007, Esmeray was stopped by a police officer outside an Istanbul police station while returning home. She was subjected to a barrage of verbal abuse before being punched in the face, knocked to the ground and then kicked by two policemen (Mustafa Muhammet Çırakoğlu and Ceyhun Güvem).

Later Esmeray decided to take the matter to the court, since “this was nothing new. Passing by the street in front of the police station (which happens to be one of the major streets in Taksim area in Istanbul and open to public) has been banned to the transvestites and transsexuals for a while.” Esmeray wanted to know if this was legal. She filed her complaint so that others would not have to go through this human rights violation again.

It took over a year for the prosecution of the police officers to begin but finally, almost two years after the assault, the case received its second hearing yesterday, May 28.

Lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu said that the case was not only about police violence, but also about the fact that Esmeray’s gender identity caused her to experience an increase in violence.

Speaking at the Beyoğlu 2nd Criminal Court of Peace, Esmeray said that she wanted the case to set a precedent for the violence that transsexuals and transvestites experienced on a daily basis.


Esmeray said, “Many of my transsexual and transvestite friends, who are forced into sex labour, experience violence by the police nearly daily. However, many of them are too afraid to file complaints.”

She expressed hope that her court case would encourage others to come forward.

A hope which I certainly share.

[Officer] Çırakoğlu had given evidence at the first hearing and did not attend. Also absent was defendant Güvem, who, despite having been transferred to another police station, had not informed the court of his new address.

Judge Selvinaz Eken postponed the hearing to 8 July.

In passing, as someone who supports many of the basic principles of feminism, it’s encouraging to note that in attendance at the court, as well as a representative of LambdaIstanbul (the LGBT solidarity organisation), were members of the Feminist Women’s Environment, the Socialist Feminist Collective and the feminist organisation Amargi. I hope that other feminist organisations will follow this lead and start showing their support in future court cases involving trans women, in Turkey and elsewhere.


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