A criminal has been arrested in Turkey after allegedly kidnapping and beating a disabled gay man and bragging about it on social media, posting photos of his bloodied face.
Warning: contains images of graphic violence.
Fırat Kaya, who according to Turkish media outlet Ensonhaber has already been convicted of more than 30 violent crimes, was arrested by police on Thursday (25 March).
Kaya had bragged on social media about the 22 March attack, identifying the victim as Engin Elekci, who he described as “pervert gay scum”.
His posts under the Instagram account “Fırat Delikanlı”, which has now been removed, horrified social media users who began using the hashtag #FıratDelikanlıTutuklansın (Arrest Fırat Delikanlı).
In a statement, Elekci, who is deaf, said that he knew Kaya and had invited him to meet in a café to discuss selling souvenirs together.
He said that after the café they went to a house in the mountains “with four people who were also hearing impaired”.
“We were six people in total,” he continued. “We drank alcohol. Then I asked for half the money I earned from Fırat. The person who was next to Fırat said ‘we do not give’.
“Then he started swearing… One of the people there hit me with something behind me. Then they all started hitting me. One of them even took out a belt and started hitting it with it.
“I was covered in blood. They took my photos at that moment.”
Kaya was detained and charged with kidnapping and attempted murder, but only after the social media campaign calling for his arrest, despite his bragging about the attack on social media. The investigation is ongoing.
One Twitter user wrote: “A man who holds 30 records for crimes such as hijacking, fraud, and sexual assault shared videos and pictures of himself torturing a hearing-impaired young person stating the person being gay as a reason for the torture… Every f**king day, I wake up to these news and try to seek justice via Twitter.
“Don’t criticise people using social media to seek help. Believe me, if complaints and other legal methods were working, and necessary sanctions were applied, nobody would have dealt with hashtags anyway.”
Just two days before the attack, Turkey’s homophobic, right-wing president Recep Erdoğan severed ties with the landmark Istanbul Convention, intended to tackle violence against women, because it “normalises homosexuality”.
The country’s Directorate of Communications, a state promotions agency, said in a statement: “The Istanbul Convention, originally intended to promote women’s rights, was hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalise homosexuality – which is incompatible with Turkey’s social and family values.”
Turkey’s leadership has shown growing hostility towards LGBT+ people, with Erdoğan last year accusing the community of “sneaking up on our national and spiritual values again” and of trying to “poison young people” throughout history.
“I invite all members of my nation to be careful and take a stand against those who exhibit all kinds of heresy that our Lord has forbidden, and those who support them,” the president said at the time.