The Death of Police Chief Mustafa Sarı

Lets have a look at the statements of some eye witnesses regarding the recent death of Adana District Police Commissioner Mustafa Sarı.

I feel as if I have to write something about recent events because I need to get this out of my system. At the moment, many people are writing about and commenting on the events. Some of the information is bona fide, some isn’t, and some are outright lies.  I was right there at the scene, that evening when Mustafa fell down. My name is Bilal Gül and I am a photographer.

Mustafa was a very close friend of mine. I had attended his wedding. My brother went to the same police academy as him and served with him after graduation. He came to visit me in the hospital once, after I had an operation. He used to visit our family often and my mother would regard him as her son. He wanted only the best for us. I last spoke to him at 6:30 p.m., last night. Little did I know that it would be our last conversation.

I have been attending demonstrations taking place in front of the AKP’s Adana party headquarters since last Friday. I have been in contact with and with both the anti-government protesters (who I think are right to demonstrate), as well as with the police. I have marched and shouted out slogans. I have also tried to stop provocateurs from throwing stones at the police or burning or destroying property etc. I have taken countless photographs. Not once have I seen police using an indiscriminate amount of force against protesters. I have also never seen protesters throwing stones at the police. I am talking to you about normal people. I am not talking about provocateurs, anarchists troublemakers or terrorist cells. The Adana police were give clear orders not to harm the protesters. I heard this order with my very own ears. They were told ‘’not to hurt demonstrators, to warn anybody who is clearly breaking the law first, then to intervene within a legal framework. If intervention was deemed to be necessary, they were ordered to use reasonable force only, and never indiscriminate force!’’ Everyone in Adana has witnessed this because everyone in Adana is demonstrating. We are talking about mothers and grannies, grandfathers and retired fathers. We are talking about supporters of the local football team Adanaspor, or Demirspor, Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe supporters, of old and young. We are talking about Turks, Kurds, Laz, Bosnians, Caucasians, and Arabs. We are talking about muslims and Christians alike. Women in miniskirts or headscarves. The demonstrators are demonstrating together, hand in hand, side by side.

The demonstrations were always lawful and peaceful and there were no incidents between the police and demonstrators, even on Turgut Özal Boulevard, Barajyolu or around the Duygu cafe. The demonstrators walked from Atatürk Park to Turgut Özal Boulevard. They used common sense and minimised disrupting to traffic by only using one side of the road. No slashing, burning or vandalism took place. Troublemakers were warned by others in an appropriate way. Police took the necessary security precautions and didn’t need to intervene. Everybody was tired and hungry and sat down and ate together.  We brewed tea and drank together. I am thirty years old and never in my life have I witnessed so much solidarity amongst people.

Yesterday was like any other day. I grabbed hold of my camera, left work and headed towards the demonstrations. Mustafa was on duty during the riots. His brief was to protect citizens and the state from enemies. His name was the same as our great leader, Mustafa (Kemal Atatürk), his surname meaning ‘fair’ in Turkish, just like the colour of Atatürk’s hair. He was proud of his name. Mustafa had not been home nor had he seen his wife for 6 days. Mustafa was tired and irritable. He wasn’t in the mood for jokes, in fact I had played a joke on him earlier that day which annoyed him, causing him to curse me. That’s what friends do together. I assumed he was irritable, and didn’t take offence. He apologised to me  a few hours later by sending an SMS. I told him not to worry about it, and that is normal behaviour between friends. He told me to come over to the Sular neighbourhood and see him later that evening, as I would be passing through there in any case.

In the evening, we walked from Atatürk Park to Turgut Özal Boulevard and back again to the Park. The Adana regional AK Party headquarters are situated just opposite of the Seyhan Başkent hospital on  Mustafa Kemal Paşa Boulevard. I can testify to the fact that the situation was peaceful because I walked in front of the Headquarters twice, and no stones were thrown. This doesn’t mean that the police were not expecting anarchists and enemies of the state to cause trouble. The police had moved to the front of the Party Headquarters, I called Mustafa but he didn’t pick up because he was on duty. Assuming he was busy, I left Atatürk Park and went to the Sular area. I saw a large group of people getting ready to march on the AKP Party Headquarters. They definitely were not demonstrators! At about 11 p.m., this 500 strong crowd began shouting out slogans in front of the  party headquarters, chanting: “Government Out/Government Resign”. The police reacted by asking the group to leave peacefully. The stand-off became more intense as some members of the group began throwing stones at the police, prompting then in turn to make announcements over the loudspeakers in their vehicles: ‘’All troublemakers should go. We have no problems with you. This demonstration is on the verge of becoming illegal.” The stand off continued for another 45 minutes at which point, the police began to deploy water canons and chase the protesters. Events after this were the beginning of the end…

The police sealed off the Kasım Gülek bridge area to prevent protesters from regrouping and returning. It was also necessary to secure the bridge, which is still under construction, and the surrounding areas which connect Atatürk Boulevard with the Mustafa Kemal Paşa Boulevard. They were not chasing after anybody in this area. Nobody pushed Mustafa off the bridge. Nobody had been chasing Mustafa. Mustafa’s role in this was to coordinate the police officers under his command, not to chase after protesters. Riot police commanders do not chase after demonstrators. The police should have been there. He wanted to cross the bridge. He was tired and physically exhausted. It was dark. He fell off the bridge and dropped 5 metres into the darkness. It was an unfortunate accident. Nobody pushed him. He didn’t kill anybody and nobody killed him!

First aid was administered on the scene and he was initially rushed to  the Adana Çukurova Dr. Aşkım Tüfekçi State Hospital and then transferred to Adana Yüreğir Başkent Hospital. He had broken both his legs as well as his skull and ribs. He was admitted to the operating room at 3 a.m. because of internal bleeding. His liver and one of his kidneys were removed. Doctors announced his death at 10 a.m. in the morning. Mustafa had given up, he had suffered a brain haemorrhage. As a result of an unfortunate accident,he died in action while serving his country. His wife, family and friends were devastated.

I have one favour to ask of the great Turkish people. Stay cool headed. Use common sense and take a deep breath. Remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “If you are  ready to be brave and to be attacked, do not answer with violence but never give up either. By doing this, this will increase the respect of others and and reduce their anger towards you. An unjust regime should be brought down justly. Leave the arena with no blood on your hands, to a rapturous applause.”

Everything I have written here is based on first hand evidence. Please share this article with all your friends. Please share this with anybody who is fed up with the biased press, or with anybody who seeks the truth.

Best Regards

Bilal Gül

07 Haziran 2013

Source: Facebook page called “Ötekilerin Postası”