A Dutch-Turkish single mother and her 15-year-old son faced so much harassment, racism, and discrimination from a group of teenagers in Giethoorn that they’ve decided to move. The incidents continue, despite multiple reports to the police, Public Prosecution Service (OM), and the municipality of Steenwijkerland, which covers Giethoorn, Zembla reports. The investigative program has images showing racist and vandalistic incidents.
The racist harassment started in October 2020. A group of young people between 14 and 18 years old attacked the home where Hatice Yilmaz and her son live during the evening. They damaged her car five times. Shouted racist slogans at them, including “foreigners fuck off to your own country,” “Yusuf cancer Turk,” and “fuck off out of our town.”
Yilmaz went to the police multiple times, but they continually dropped the ball, Zembla found. The police downplayed the incidents, lost evidence, twice refused to file a report, and failed to fully inform the OM about the case. The police told her that no criminal offenses were committed and filed a complaint of youth nuisance. The police also lost camera surveillance footage showing a racist incident and dismissed the report without looking at it. Only after the victim complained and provided the evidence again did the police look at it but still dismissed it as “mischief,” according to Zembla.
The woman also twice contacted the municipality of Steenwijkerland to ask for help but never heard back anything. When Zembla contacted the municipality about the matter, it said that it asked the police, neighborhood workers, and youth workers to address the situation. Other than that, the municipality did not interfere.
After multiple incidents, the police eventually filed a report. A teenager confessed to smashing the mirror of Yilnaz’s car. He received a warning and had to pay for repairs.
After questions from Zembla, the OM acknowledged that “from a criminal law perspective, the case required a different approach.” In October 2021, a year after the harassment started, the OM said that several reports and complaints “until recently were not fully understood by the discrimination officer of the OM Oost NL.” The OM said it would reassess the reports but eventually closed all files due to a lack of evidence.
After more than a year of living in fear, Hatice and Yusuf decided to move. “I am very disappointed with this outcome. We have completely lost faith in the authorities,” Hatice said tot he program