ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Berkin Elvan's family celebrated the birthday by cutting a cake in his absence, at the hospital where he is battling for his life. HÜRRİYET photo / Fırat ALKAÇ
Gezi Park protest victim Berkin Elvan turned 15 on Jan. 5, but remains in a coma after sustaining a head injury from a gas canister as he went to buy bread during a police crackdown in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood last June.
Elvan marked 204 days in a coma on his birthday after undergoing three large surgeries and one operation, as well as overcoming two heart failures.
His family celebrated the birthday by cutting a cake in his absence, at the hospital where he is battling for his life. While there, they announced that they would be starting a legal process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), as no effective domestic investigation had been carried out for the last seven months.
“The damage on his brain due to the impact of the tear gas canister is far too much. There is damage in his lungs for being exposed to a lot of tear gas and treatment for this has not yet finished. His heart has stopped twice since June 16. But Berkin is resisting. He has not surrendered,” the family said in a statement on Jan. 5.
“We know that he will wake up,” they added.
Berkin Elvan turned 15 while induced in
a coma as his family remembered the
other victims of police crackdowns during
the Gezi protests. HÜRRİYET photo
The birthday was held in quiet at the hospital without slogans or banners, due to the family’s wish not to disturb the other patients.
“While the police officers who shot Berkin are being hidden under state protection and no legal sanction has been carried out, journalists who report about him are still subject to penalties. Berkin Elvan was shot by the police. This is no secret that can be blurred,” the family’s statement added.
“You can use his pictures, we give our permission,” it also said, in reference to the fact that a number of journalists have been fined for using Elvan’s photos and his full name in articles, as the law restricts the use of the full identity of victims.
“A state that does not respect the right of life of our children, and protects our murderers and hitmen, cannot ask for the use of initials or blur the pictures. Will they give the name of those who pulled the trigger? We will write those names with [their initials] and blur their photos,” the statement said.
[HH] Berkin lives for the other victims
The family’s statement also referenced the five protesters who died during crackdowns during the Gezi protests - Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Ahmet Cömert, Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz and Ahmet Atakan. It also mentioned Medeni Yıldırım, who was shot during a protest against the building of a new gendarmerie post in Diyarbakır’s Lice district and Hasan Ferit Gedik, who was killed in a clash between gangs and leftist groups in Istanbul’s Maltepe district.
“Berkin lives and resists. He lives for Abdullah, Mehmet, Ethem, Ali İsmail, Medeni, Ahmet and Hasan Ferit. He lives for the baby who died frozen, for his brothers who died in Van [in the 2011 earthquake], and those children who were massacre at Roboski [Uludere],” the statement said.