Injured Turkish protester brought to Istanbul hospital

Huseyin Kurt was severely injured by baton-wielding Dutch police in Rotterdam after Turkish ministers were blocked

By Hatice Senses

ISTANBUL

A Turkish man who suffered severe injuries during protests in support of Turkey's family minister earlier this month in the Netherlands has been brought to Istanbul for treatment.

After being brought to Istanbul's Fatih Sultan Mehmet Training and Research Hospital on Wednesday evening by the Health Ministry, in an initial examination Huseyin Kurt was diagnosed with cervical vertebra and lumbar fractures.

Turkey's Health Ministry specifically invited him to Turkey.

On the other hand, no Dutch authorities have either called or visited Kurt except his employer, he said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kurt said that the treatment in Turkey was done with much more caring than in the Netherlands and added this was sometimes more important than having advanced technology.

Kurt, who was beaten with batons by the Dutch police, was first treated in the Netherlands after protests in support of Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, who was denied entry to Turkey’s Consulate in Rotterdam.

However, when his pain continued after he was discharged by the hospital in Netherlands, he returned to the hospital but the doctors could not diagnose his illness, and he was not treated properly, according to Kurt. 

‘Never expected this to happen’

He said that he still was depressed over having the police in the country where he was born and spent his life use excessive force against him.

Kurt added that the incident caused him and his family to question the basic principles such as freedom of assembly and speech that Europe was built on.

"We learned from our religious teachings and families to live in peace. We are people of peace. We [in the Netherlands] have a system where people from different backgrounds live together," he said.

"We would never have expected this to happen. But unfortunately, it did."

Dr. Aytekin Kaymakci, chief of medicine at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Training and Research Hospital, said Kurt had some injuries to his left leg that were treated right after his arrival on Wednesday. He added that there was no neurological damage to his head, lumbar, or leg.

"We use a method called conservative treatment for him. Our patient will be better in the coming days. We'll keep him here for about a week," Kaymakci said.

He said that the process was traumatic and added that Kurt would also receive psychological counseling.

Huseyin Kurt and his older brother Halil Ibrahim Kurt were among the thousands of Turkish citizens who gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam almost two weeks ago to support Turkey’s family minister as she was being blocked by the Dutch government

The ministers had been due to meet Turkish residents ahead of an April 16 referendum on constitutional changes in Turkey.

The Dutch police had blocked all roads when the protestors reached the consulate building and then the police suddenly began attacking the crowd.

Kurt was hit by the police with batons several times and his brother Huseyin Kurt was bitten on his calf as Dutch police unleashed a security dog on them.

After examination by doctors, and Kurt was released from the hospital with his brother.