Eren Keskin warns of “a very dangerous state of affairs"

After the murder of a Kurdish family in Konya, the atmosphere in Turkey is tense. The human rights lawyer Eren Keskin sees the agitation, which is mainly carried out on social media, as an extremely dangerous state of affairs.

Seven members of the Dedeoğulları family have fallen victim to an announced racist massacre in Konya. The family had been attacked before and they had stated that their lives were in danger. Despite this, nothing was done to protect them. The Turkish interior minister claims that the massacre resulted from a neighbor dispute. However, that the murders were committed for racist motives is shown both by the statements made earlier by the family members who were killed, and by the threats from the crowd that gathered in front of the police cordon at the scene after the massacre: "Not a single Kurd will stay here anymore!"

Lawyer Eren Keskin, the co-chair of the Human Rights Association (IHD), spoke to a member of the family by telephone four days before the murders. As the human rights lawyer told ANF, there had been contact between the Istanbul IHD Commission Against Racism and Discrimination and the family and their legal counsel for some time. "Four days before the murder, a family member had told me that they were being threatened and were very afraid," Eren Keskin said. Accordingly, the family testified that this condition had been going on for 15 years and that the perpetrators of the last lynching attempt, who were temporarily detained, were released. The IHD expressed its concern at that time, but no precautions were taken at all.

The fact that the family has not been protected and hate speech has been spread via trolls is the crucial point for Eren Keskin, who continued: "This is controlled centrally, hate speech is spread in particular via social media. Hate speech has increased sharply in connection with the forest fires. The state representatives should actually stop hate speech. Instead, they are inciting against those of us who stand up against racism and discrimination. This is a very dangerous state of affairs that must be countered politically."

Regarding Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's statement about a personal conflict as the motive for the murder, Eren Keskin said that then the reason for this conflict must also be explained. After all, one of the murdered family members had clearly stated before the murder that there had been racist attacks for some time.Keskin rejected the accusation that the atmosphere is being heated up with the finding of a racist background: "It's not even necessary for us to explain, because the family reported what had happened beforehand anyway." Instead of accusing people, it's the state's job to take action, the lawyer said and added: "It's not us who are heating up the atmosphere, it's the trolls used for that." Racist statements currently represent the top trend in digital networks, she noted, and this agitation must be stopped at all costs. According to Eren Keskin, attention must be paid to those who profit from the agitation: “Turkey is governed by the inflammatory policies of the MHP, and this is extremely dangerous.”