This article by Çiçek Tahaoğlu was published at the online alternative news source Bianet on May 20th, 2013. Link to the original article in Turkish: http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbtt/146746-avcilar-da-translarin-evine-saldiri
A trans woman’s house in Meis Residence, Avcılar, Istanbul was attacked. Transgender women who live in the same building and their lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip report that the house was shot at twice, yesterday and today, and alleged that the attack was carried out by persons who had previously organized transphobic acts in the neighborhood [translator’s note: Transphobic attacks of this nature with varying degrees of severity have been taking place around Meis Residence since November 2012, resulting in the death of a transgender woman on March 15th, 2013].
Authorities from Avcılar Police Station, whom Bianet contacted by phone, said that the house was attacked with buckshots and that the perpetrator had not yet been identified. Lawyers from SPOD LGBT [Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association LGBT] reported that crime scene investigation units were trying to determine where the shots came from.
The victim Sanem Karaman told Bianet that her house was shot at yesterday and it was shot at again today around 3 pm.
“They burnt down my entrance hall three days ago. We had no running water because the pipes had burst [as a result of the fire]. As soon as the pipes were fixed, I began cleaning. At that moment, four shots were fired at my window. I was wounded because of a piece of glass that hit my eye; I have a medical report from the hospital.”
“Today, I opened the window to my bedroom to air the house. They fired shots again right then. The bullets seemed to come from the building right across. As far as I know, there’s a pilgrim staying at the apartment right across from mine. I don’t know him, we’ve never talked before.”
Pressing charges of “intentional injury and threat” , Sanem Karaman, said that the police came after the events today and that they are currently waiting for the crime scene investigation unit [One of the other transgender women living in the same building, Michelle Demishevic, a reporter on İMC TV tweeted that the csi unit never showed up and instead Sanem Karaman was called to report to the police station]. “I’m staying at my friends’ house right now. As soon as the csi unit complete their investigation, I’ll go back home. I’m scared but I have no other choice,” she said.
“Continuation of the incidents of November”
Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip, who spoke to Bianet, said, “These events serve as the continuation of a series of incidents that began last November.”
Kip, said that the police filed a very vague statement, that they suspect the perpetrators to be the group of people against whom Kip filed a criminal complaint earlier and that they will demand an expansion of the existing prosecution file:
“The fire deparment did not file an official report of last week’s fire. There is constant provocation in the same building complex. For instance security cameras are vandalized and then it is alleged that my clients broke them. They bring random people to the building and allege that these people are my client’s clients. They are doing everything in their power to incriminate our clients.”
“These persons constantly tell our clients ‘We have the police station of this area in our control. They can’t do anything to us.’ This is a threat. This is what drives the transphobic assaults in the building complex.”
“Very few individuals are able to keep staying at the Meis building complex. They all went out of town or sold their apartments. But the attacks against transgender individuals who still live there continue.”
“In this particular attack, only one apartment was targeted. They calle the police right away but the police showed up very late. Our client’s statement was recorded in a very sloppy way in the police report.”
“We have filed criminal complaints earlier against the persons we suspect. The indictment was written and the case moved to the prosecution phase. Since the incidents are currently continuing and since the classification of the offense is the same, we’ll demand the attorney general to expand the previous prosecution file to include the recent events.”
Yeşiller ve Sol Gelecek [Green and Leftist Future Party] Condemns the Events:
Yeşiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi [Green and Leftist Future Party] said in a written press statement “We condemn the attack against the right to shelter and life of transgender individuals.”
The statement included the following remarks:
“We know that the trans residents of Meis whose apartment was set on fire two days ago, filed criminal complaints against a retired police officers but that nothing was done about it.”
“To prevent the attacks against trans individuals’ right to shelter and life from reaching life-threatening levels, legal procedures against the perpetrators must be put into effect immediately and they must be legally held accountable. We call on the authorities, who ignore these attacks against the right to life and shelter of transgenders, who approve these attacks with their silence and who fail to implement the necessary legal arrangements, to take precautions immediately.” (ÇT)