Police Raid Romani Community
03 April 2006
According to the Romani Cultural Research, Solidarity and Development Association of Edirne (EDCYNKAY), on 9 February 2006, police undertook raids targeting Roma, who were subsisting on scarp-iron collection, in Kemikçiler quarter of the city of Edirne, northwest of Istanbul. The raids reportedly occurred after residents of Kıyık quarter in Edirne lodged a complaint about the Roma of Kemikçiler quarter, claiming that they were involved in burglary. Under the instruction of Security Director Hanefi Avcı, police raided the Kemikçiler quarter and also stopped two carriages leading towards the quarter. Police fired shots after Roma in the carriage ran away out of fear, killing one horse and heavily wounding the other as well as shooting someone on the foot. Police forces later surrounded the Kemikçiler quarter in anti-riot ‘panzer’ vehicles, firing shots in the air.
During the raid, six Roma men, who allegedly took scrap-iron from Trakya University, were taken into custody and referred to the Edirne Public Prosecutor’s Office. After taking statements from the men, the Prosecutor’s Office arrested the men by court order for allegations of ‘qualified extortion, resistance to police authorities, and damaging state property’. Subsequently, on February 11, 2006, the mayor of Edirne, Hamdi Sedefçi, confirmed in a written statement that the six scrap-iron shops operating without a license were closed down by some thirty police officers. As of 20 March 2006, the ERRC was unaware of further developements in the situation.
The ERRC is currently implementing projects with local partners (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, Bilgi University, Romani Cultural Research, Solidarity and Development Association of Edirne) in a project challenging racial discrimination in Turkey funded under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).