Families of detained Gezi protesters in Ankara ‘turn themselves in’
ANKARA / ISTANBUL
Families stage a protest in front of the Ankara’s Sıhhiye Coutrhouse wearing masks of killed protestor, 26-year-old Ethem Sarısülük. 'Comrade Ethem is immortal,' read one of the banners. Daily News Photo, Selahattin SönmezThe family of Ethem Sarısülük, who was shot in the head during a protest near Güven Park in Kızılay, along with families of protesters taken into custody or arrested during the protests, have filed complaints about public authorities, protesting pressures on freedom of assembly.
The group gathered in front of the Ankara Courthouse yesterday as part of a campaign by Sarısülük’s family, named “I am turning myself in,” for those under custody to be released.
Sarısülük, a 26-year-old blue collar worker, was shot on June 1. Having been on life support for days and later declared brain dead, he passed away on June 14, increasing the number of casualties in the protests to four.
A police officer who allegedly shot Sarısülük was released on June 24 by a court in Ankara, with the court ruling that the shooting had remained “within limits of self-defense.”
“We were there too. We were also shoulder to shoulder with our people. Take us too and arrest us,” said Sarısülük’s brother Mustafa Sarısülük, reading out a press statement.
“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler and related governors and police chiefs have intervened and have been intervening against our freedom of assembly for a humane life,” said each of the around 100 persons in their identical petitions submitted to the Office of the Ankara Chief Prosecutor.
“I have used my freedom to defend my right to life and I will continue to do so. I want those who have been under arrest for using this right to be released,” they said in their petitions.
Commemoration at the exact place he was shot
Ethem Sarısülük was commemorated at the point where he was shot by the police in Güven Park in Ankara on June 25, in a rally organized after the court decision to release the suspected killer.
The lawyer of the Sarısülük family, Kazım Bayraktar, and Ethem Sarısülük’s brother İkrar Salısülük delivered speeches, which were followed by a press statement condemning injustice.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sebahat Tuncel too made a speech while deputies of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), including Aylin Nazlıaka, also attended the event. The gathering ended peacefully, proceeding with an open forum.
The district of Dikmen, however, was not immune to police intervention on the same night, as protesters clashed with the police until late at night. Dikmen, a usual spot for protests for the past couple of days, spent another night with pepper gas and water cannons.
According to Anadolu Agency, 16 people were taken into custody for building barricades, setting them on fire and throwing stones at the police.
In Keçiören, where another commemoration was held for Salısülük, three people attacked a group of some 100 people with choppers in hands, according to daily Hürriyet. The attackers were later caught by the police, the daily said.
Thousands of protesters gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on June 25, denouncing the release of a police officer accused of deliberately killing Sarısülük during the Gezi Park protests in Ankara.