Turkey: the son of the Somali president kills a courier and gets away with it

Ecehan Balta

On Saturday, November 30, a tragic incident unfolded when Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the son of Somali President, collided with the delivery worker Yunus Emre Gocer while driving a car. Gocer tragically lost his life six days after the accident.

The way events unfolded highlights the fact that delivery workers lives are considered less valuable, and that the ruling elites have their ways in escaping the consequences of their own laws.

Sequence of events

Examining the sequence of events, the accident report initially claimed that Gocer, riding in the right lane,

“lost control, hit the curb, bounced onto the sidewalk, and was hit by Muhammad Hasan Sheikh Mohamud’s vehicle with its left front parts without stopping, resulting in a material damage and injury traffic accident.”

This statement originated from the defendant himself. Furthermore, police suggested to Gocer’s spouse that he may have attempted suicide! When the lawyer sought the accident scene footage, they were informed that the CDs were damaged. But, as was revealed later, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s camera footage reached the police before Mohamud’s release.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality camera footage exposed Mohamud’s culpability as he rear-ended the motor courier, causing Gocer to be thrown off his motorcycle. The helmet was dislodged, and shockingly, without braking, Mohamud passed over the injured courier once again. Despite the footage unequivocally proving Mohamud’s fault and doctor reports indicating Gocer’s critical condition, Mohamud was inexplicably released. By the time Gocer succumbed to his injuries, Mohamud had already departed for Somalia.

So, despite the police and prosecutor witnessing the footage, Mohamud was released on the prosecutor’s orders. Three days later, with no charges against him, Mohamud returned to Somalia with his diplomatic passport.

Public outcry

When the camera footage was leaked, it sparked public outrage, prompting the Ministry of Justice to intervene, although their efforts seem merely performative. The Turkish state has established a significant presence in Somalia, with a military base and foreign investments in various fields. While Erdoğan tries to present himself as a ‘hard-liner’ who strives to uphold Turkey’s national interests, when it comes to workers lives taken by his ally’s son, he looks the other way…

In response to protests, the President of Somalia claimed to have spoken to his son, urging him to surrender and leaving the decision to him. It is yet unclear how this case will unfold. However, what is clear is that the entire state apparatus was aware of the President’s son’s involvement in the accident took immediate action and the prosecutor issued a release decision. No travel ban was imposed on the suspect, allowing him to escape, and the official expert report wasn’t prepared until after he had left the country.

Photo: Duvar english

This incident underscores once more that the privileged offspring of the wealthy enjoy the freedom to commit crimes, even at the expense of a human life. Furthermore, when the victim is a delivery worker, their lives are devalued. If not for the cameras belonging to a municipality independent of the ruling AKP party, the story of a woman attempting to prove her husband’s death as murder would have gone unnoticed.

According to the Courier Rights Association’s Courier Deaths Report in Turkey, at least 30 motorcycle couriers lost their lives in occupational accidents in 2021, and the number rose to at least 58 in 2022. Gocer’s death adds to this list of preventable occupational accidents. There is an urgent need to organise platform workers and expand the struggle both in Turkey and globally, in order to defend their rights against the ruling elites.

Read more about the situation of delivery workers in Turkey here

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