As reported in Arti Gercek, on the day of Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum, Gülşah Y., a deputy member of the CHP polling committee, was on duty at ballot box 2073 at the IMKB Girls’ Technical and Vocational High School in the Esentepe area of Istanbul’s Kartal district. Gülşah Y. was taken to the hospital with a suspected cerebral hemorrhage after being severely beaten at the polling place, allegedly by “Yes” supporters.
Austria’s Yeni Vatan newspaper published Gülşah Y.’s written answers to their questions about the day’s events. She said, “In the hospital I was told that I had a severe fracture in my neck and that, because I was hit in the head, I had a brain bleed and a possible cerebral hemorrhage. They also identified contusions as a result of the heavy blows I took to my stomach and back.”
Gülşah Y. shared visuals of the attack on social media and added the following about her experiences:
“I was on duty as an observer at ballot box 2073 in the polling place at Kartal IMKB Girls’ Technical and Vocational High School. The ballots were counted. At first, the atmosphere was calm. We had six invalid ballots. On one of them, above the printed “YES”, there was a very small, nearly invisible mark. It was clear that, legally, the ballot had to be ruled invalid. The ballot box chief, however, wanted to count it as valid. We objected. The chief said that, in this case, if there is a problem with voting or accepting the results of a ballot, a written statement must be made to the YSK. We approved this solution and the vote was ruled invalid. A group of ‘Yes’ supporters who objected to this situation expressed their discontent saying things like, ‘We don’t accept this, the vote can’t be considered invalid,’ and so on. The chief replied, ‘Write a statement.’ We suggested the same thing.
“My uncle, who was there with me, also said, ‘Write a statement. There’s nothing else to do.’ I, as a deputy, repeated the explanation of the situation. Upon that, a group of about 50 people said “Who do you think you are?” and started attacking us. They started violently throwing desks, pens, bottles, and all kinds of other things toward us. The group became increasingly violent and attacked me mercilessly. I fell to the ground after being kicked in the back.
“At that point, my older brother Serkan, who was at the school, pushed through the crowd to me and my uncle and tried to form a barrier to protect us. I tried to get up, but right at that moment a desk was thrown at my head. I remember that I started bleeding profusely from my head and collapsed back onto the ground. After that I passed out, so I can’t remember anything else. In the hospital I was told that I had a severe fracture in my neck and that, because I was hit in the head, I had a brain bleed and a possible cerebral hemorrhage. They also identified contusions as a result of the heavy blows I took to my stomach and back.”
Gülşah Y., who accused her attackers of making threats like “We aren’t going to let you live, you’re going to die, we’re going to kill you, we’ll burn you, [and] this isn’t over” also said she heard there were also armed people among the attackers, but they hadn’t had the chance to fire any shots.
After the events during which Gülşah Y. was wounded, images of the ambulances heading to the hospital were also reflected in social media coverage of referendum day.