Istanbul governor to be probed for words against 17-year-old hit by gas canister

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The Council of State has opened the way for a preliminary investigation against Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu after he accused 17-year-old Dilan Alp of being a member of “marginal groups” and throwing Molotov cocktails after she was hit by a tear-gas canister on May 1, 2013.

Mutlu’s statements caused huge outrage, as video footage showed Alp lying unconscious in front of an apartment where she was trying to take refuge after being hit, with tear gas continuing to rise from the canister in front of her face. The incident also laid the ground for the Gezi protests that erupted later in the month, meeting violent police repression.

Alp’s lawyers requested an internal investigation against Mutlu and the then-Istanbul police chief, Hüseyin Çapkın, but the Interior Ministry refused both of the complaints.

The ministry’s decision was challenged by lawyers and lifted on July 2 by the Council of State, Radikal learned.

Turkey’s top administrative court ruled that Mutlu’s words were serious enough to “conduct a pre-investigation.”

The ombudsman published a report last November, in which he argued that Mutlu’s statement were unlawful.

“Considering that Dilan is a minor without any criminal record, Istanbul Gov. Mutlu’s press statements were such as to discredit [Alp’s] dignity and reputation,” the report said.

Her family has categorically denied that Alp was a member of any “marginal” organization. Several others, most notably 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, were subsequently killed after being struck by police tear-gas canisters during the Gezi uprising.

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