Most countries in the world have an emergency telephone number for the police. But in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, an emergency telephone line has been launched for victims of police violence.
The İmdat Polis (Help, Police! ) initiative comes in response to a spate of highly publicized incidents of police violence in the city. “We always knew about abuse in the prisons and police precincts, but now there is an increase of [police] attacks against people in the streets,” said criminal lawyer Taylan Tanay, one of the hotline’s creators.
The phone line, established by the Progressive Lawyers Association, which Tanay heads, is open 24 hours a day to anyone who has a complaint about his or her treatment by Istanbul police. In an emergency, a lawyer from a network of 150 legal volunteers is dispatched immediately to the scene.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.