How Metin Feyzioglu Mindset Hijacked Turkish State

Metin Feyzioglu, the head of Turkey’s Bar Association, contends that the Turkish government does not have to protect (Kurdish) civilians if they are used as human shields by SDF. His mindset is the embodiment of state policy.

Abdullah Ayasun

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Photo Credit (EPA)

Only a few weeks after the state-run Anadolu news agency unabashedly released video and photo footage of tortured military officials, who were imprisoned after a bungled and ill-fated coup attempt in 2016 summer, Metin Feyzioglu, the head of Turkey’s Bar Association, was busy in Washington, D.C., with denying the obvious fact known by the whole world — the existence of torture in police custody and prison across the country in the aftermath of the coup.

Invited by his colleagues to speak about the political affairs in the hazy and tumultuous days of the post-coup Turkey, Feyzioglu baffled the audience at Carnegie Endowment when, answering a question from a participant, he rebuffed the claims of torture: “There is no torture in Turkey, none.”

His dogged denialism was in stark contrast with reality. This was all the more so given that fact that anyone curious about what was going on in Turkey’s prisons would easily watch the video on Youtube to make a judgment on his/her own. The defeated generals, some of whom never took part in the botched putsch, were standing in line, their faces bruised and their eyes red, bearing all the hallmarks of torture. In other several pictures, soldiers, handcuffed behind, were forced to kneel down at a horse barn, all naked except underwear. In one memorable moment at Gendarmerie General Command in Ankara, military officers were humiliated in front of people after police ordered them to get undressed, allowing only their underwear on. A sports hall in Ankara was full of officers in a similar disgracing position and shape.

All those pictures and footage made it impossible to deny the obvious reality out there. Yet, Feyzioglu chose to lie both to his colleagues, the audience and the press. That president, who was supposed to defend the rule of law and represent the battered notion of justice in Turkey, gave his full endorsement for the indiscriminate purge, the…

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Abdullah Ayasun

Boston-based journalist and writer. Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. 2023 WHCA Scholar. On art, culture, politics and everything in between. X: @abyasun