Police raided the house of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakir on the night of May 9 by mistake.
While searching for a smuggler, police officers knocked the door of Demirtas without knowing who the house owner was and said they had received information about a smuggler hiding in the house, Turkish media said.
According to the Diyarbakir Police Department, an informer notifying the wanted smuggler didn’t know the exact place of the apartment and said the building is “near by Demirtas’ house.”
“However, the name of Demirtas wasn’t shared with our officers involved in raid by the dispatcher” said the police department in a statement, and considered the telephone operator responsible for not notifying the officers.
The office of the governor laid off 155 officers from the intelligence department including the telephone operator whose mistake led to the incident.
During the course of the event, Demirtas who was at home, asked the officers before opening the door “Do you know who I am?,” and told the police that if he opened the door they would be very surprised.
Police insisted on entering the house while Demirtas called his guards without opening the door. Bickering between police and guards ended after the governor’s intervention.
Demirtas said the Governor of Diyarbakir, Huseyin Aksoy, took the incident seriously and dispatched security police forces.
“The governor told me that he listened to the notification record and heard that the address of smuggler is near by Demirtas’ house in order to make it easier for the officers to locate. And the operator officer didn’t give the name of Demirtas to the officers in the field,” said Demirtas in a TV program.
The police were surprised after they saw Demirtas at the door, a deputy of the parliament and the leader of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) party preparing for the coming June 7 general elections.
The deputies of the Turkish Parliament have legislative immunity which precludes any criminal detention against them during their term in office.
Police officers left the building after the order of Governor Aksoy and apologised to Demirtas and his family, saying “We were mistaken,” according to Demirtas.