Is this your justice, Turkey?
Twenty-year-old Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, 22-year-old Abdullah Cömert, 26-year-old Ethem Sarısülük, 18-year-old Medeni Yıldırım, 19-year-old Ali İsmail Korkmaz, 23-year-old Ahmet Atakan and 15-year-old Berkin Elvan…
It has been two years since they were murdered during the Gezi Park incidents.
Mehmet Ayvalıtaş’s death was recorded as a “traffic accident.” The prosecutor conducting the investigation did not do an exploration at the scene; he did not listen to the eyewitnesses. He did not include the city camera recordings in the indictment. The defendants were tried without arrest.
In the first hearing, the door of the courtroom was locked from inside. Tear gas was sprayed on lawyers and journalists who wanted to enter. A demand for the arrest of the defendants was rejected.
In the last hearing, there was a scuffle between the Ayvalıtaş family and security forces. Ayvalıtaş’s father, who had recently had heart surgery, was beaten. Because he could hardly stay in the courtroom, the hearing was postponed.
Abdullah Cömert died from a gas canister shot from a police panzer. The court case was transferred to Balıkesir because of “security” reasons. The Cömert family had to travel 15 hours to attend hearings. The defendant police officer was not called to the court. A panel of judges rejected the demand to arrest the defendant and postponed the case.
Ethem Sarısülük was hit in the head by a bullet fired from a police weapon; he died 13 days later. City camera records showed that Ethem collapsed after the police officer fired his weapon; the ballistic report proved that the gun belonged to the defendant police officer. That police officer was tried without arrest. The life sentence given to the police officer for “murder” was reduced to seven years, nine months and 10 days.
In Lice, while protesting the building of new castle-like police stations, Medeni Yıldırım died after police opened fire on protesters. The camera recordings were released after one year. It was two years after Yıldırım’s murder that a viewing was conducted at the site.
Ali İsmail Korkmaz was attacked by civilian-clothed people with sticks in their hands while he was running away from tear gas. He was in a coma for 38 days before he died. Out of the 30 cameras on and around the street where he was beaten, 16 of them were broken. It was discovered the images were deleted in two cameras. These images were later retrieved. Four policemen and four shopkeepers were tried.
In the medical report, a casual connection was determined to exist between the beating and the death. The Justice Minister at the time said the lawyers of the family had “organizational connections;” the Governor of Eskişehir said Ali İsmail was beaten by his friends.
In the TÜBİTAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), it was confirmed that the beating group and the defendants were the same people.
One shopkeeper was released; the other three were sentenced to six years of imprisonment. Two policemen were acquitted. The police officer who was the last one to kick him will serve four years, two months and then he will go free.
It was claimed that Ahmet Atakan fell from a height. Eyewitnesses said he was hit by a gas bomb. His family protested that the perpetrators were not found. They are still waiting for fair and conscientious prosecutors and judges to appear; 110 people protesting Atakan’s death were taken to court, asking for maximum eight year sentences.
The investigation of Berkin Elvan, who was shot by a gas canister while he was on his way to buy bread and who lost his life after being in intensive care for 269 days, was without a prosecutor for three months.
His family was booed at rallies; they were declared terrorists.
Late prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz had determined the police officers who were at the scene when the gas canister was fired; he asked for their identities from the security department. The security department did not hand over their identities.
In all the murder cases of Gezi’s radiant children, it was always a shameful verdict. Justice was served in none of the cases.
The parents commuted to the courthouses with tears in their eyes and photos of their children in their hands. Some of them died, not being able to endure the pain. Others lost consciousness in front of courthouses because of the teargas fired by the police.
Shall we, never and ever, forget those who declared Gezi a “coup” and those who declared these children terrorists and also what their families had to go through, okay?
Since there was no justice, the only harbor in which we can find shelter is our memory…