As it happened: Clashes in Istanbul after funeral of young Gezi victim Berkin Elvan
Ali DAĞLAR / Eyüp SERBEST / Fırat ALKAÇ / İpek YEZDANİ / Gülden AYDIN ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
A young girl is pictured after she was wounded by police during a crackdown on protesters after the funeral of Berkin Elvan. AFP photo, Bülent KILIÇThousands of people flocked to Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood for the funeral procession of Berkin Elvan, who died yesterday after 269 days in coma.
Some groups put up barricades on the roads leading to a local cemevi, a house of worship for the Alevi community, where the funeral ceremony started at 12 p.m.
Fifteen-year-old Elvan, the eighth person to be killed in the Gezi Park protests, was sent into 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.
Soon after the funeral finished, clashes between police and protesters started in the Osmanbey neighborhood near Taksim.
Watch live streaming via Doğan News Agency here
Here is a roundup of the day's events and the police crackdown on protesters after the funeral:
00:54 - Protests have died down across Turkey following a day during which police resorted to increasingly heavy-handed measures and more sophisticated weapons. Meanwhile, in another dramatic incident, a water cannon hit a civilian in Ankara from a distance of just two meters. The man, who is seriously injured and unconscious, has been hospitalized:
23:43 - SECOND DEATH: A clash in Istanbul's Kurtuluş neighborhood between locals and protesters in which firearms were used resulted in the death of a local youngster identified as Burak Karamanoğlu, police have announced.
23:29 - Police officer Ahmet Küçüktağ, 30, has been announced dead in Tunceli. Doctors at Fırat University hospital have been trying to resuscitate Küçüktağ for the last 2.5 hours, after he suffered a heart attack inside a police car, reportedly because of the excessive use of teargas during the protests in the city.
22:47 - Doctors at Şişli Etfal Hospital reportedly detected that some facial bones of rice-seller Ataş were broken, but his injuries don't appear to be life-threatening. Here is the spot where Ataş was shot on İstiklal Avenue in Taksim:
22:25 - A young street vendor selling rice in front of a popular coffeehouse in Taksim has reportedly been shot in the head with a teargas canister. The injured vendor, who has been hospitalized, was identified as Hakan Ataş, 17, on social media.
22:10 - After the latest police intervention that took place half an hour ago, most of the protesters in Taksim have dispersed. Police used rubber bullets in the area, Hürriyet Daily News editor Özgün Özçer has confirmed. "Some activists that I interviewed argue that new, more effective TOMAs (police vehicles) are in use," Özçer added. Elsewhere, on Ergenekon Avenue in Feriköy, the situation is now quiet, with most protesters dispersing, according to Martens. Ambulances were dispatched to Pangaltı.
21:56- Berkin's father Sami Elvan has rejected allegations in pro-government media that his son was "intentionally unplugged on the eve of local elections" during an inteview with private broadcaster CNNTürk. After AKP deputy Şamil Tayyar tweeted to support this conspiracy theory today,
Sami Elvan said: "We had no suspicions regarding the hospital staff from the top level to the bottom echelon. During the nine months of his convalescence, we know that they did everything to save my son. [Authorities] play the hear-no, see-no, speak-no monkeys. It is as if Berkin was shot from space. Everything is clear, but the criminal is not around. I'm directly addressing the prime minister: If he wants, he can find the murderer of my son in one hour. He is the one who ordered it. He extended his condolences for those who were killed in Egypt, but not to us."
21:32 - The ruling AKP's election coordination center in the Şişli neighborhood has been set on fire, causing damage:
20:58 - Police have managed to pre-emptively suppress most of the protests in Istanbul with their heavy presence, Hürriyet Daily News correspondent Stefan Martens observes in the Osmanbey neighborhood near Taksim, adding, "Many protesters have retreated or split into disparate groups around the area."
20:19 - Apart from Istanbul and Ankara, most of the post-funeral protests are continuing without any serious incident in other cities including İzmir, Kocaeli, Adana and Şanlıurfa. Minor incidents that were reported in Adıyaman and Tokat were caused by clashes between groups of opposing political views. Meanwhile in Tunceli, two police water cannon trucks (TOMA) crashed into each other accidentally:
19:55 - Police have occasionally been using force on İstiklal Avenue in the past hour to prevent protesters from assembling, while also blocking the access to side roads and even alleys.
19:25 - Here is the video showing the moments when a tear-gas canister fell into a store in the Pangaltı neighborhood during the first heavy police intervention today:
19:09 - A police officer was photographed while shooting a paintball gun with one hand in the Harbiye neighborhood between Taksim and Şişli.
18:59 - Tear gas has directly hit or indirectly affected many indoor spaces in and around Taksim again. (Photo: Murat SEZER/REUTERS)
18:47 - Police close the exit of İstiklal Avenue leading to Taksim Square. Meanwhile, hundreds of people are unable to leave the Cevahir shopping mall in Şişli due to the heavy-handed police intervention outside.
18:29 - Compared to yesterday, police have used more tear gas in Istanbul today.
18:15 - A number of citizens briefly resisted the police, refusing to leave Taksim Square, chanting "Watch out, there is a murderer!"
18:07 - Some protesters allege that police have started to use rubber bullets in the Kurtuluş neighborhood. In nearby Dolapdere and Pangaltı, barricades are being put up and some streets resemble a war zone.
18:00 - Riot police begin emptying Taksim Square by dispersing people.
17:50 - Most protesters in Osmanbey have been dispersed, running to side streets and alleys, as hundreds of policemen supported by TOMAs used teargas and pepperspray.
17:39 - At least four TOMA (water cannon) have intervened to stop protesters from marching on Taksim at the corner of Halaskargazi and Ergenekon avenues in Osmanbey neighborhood. Police are using tear gas, too.
17:20 - Berkin Elvan has been buried in the Feriköy Cemetery in Istanbul's Şişli district.
17:02 - 50,000 people are waiting on Halaskargazi Ave., which links Şişli neighborhood to Taksim. 5,000 people left the main group to visit the cemetery. Another 10,000 people are marching from Okmeydanı neighborhood to Şişli. The main crowd includes scores of students, some from elementary schools and some from universities. Police is reinforcing the barricades on two spots on the road leading to Taksim and Gezi Park.
17:01 - Ceremonies and demonstrations are being held in several other Turkish cities from İzmir to Gaziantep in remembrance of Berkin Elvan. Police have intervened forcefully only in Ankara so far, injuring at least three people, according to Doğan News Agency. You can read the details here.
16: 40 - The front section of the crowd has finally reached Feriköy Cemetery where Elvan will be buried.
16:22 - Police and some protesters stage a brief scuffle in the Mecidiyeköy neighborhood. As police unsurprisingly resorted to teargas, mourners who had proceeded to the environs of the Şişli Mosque a few hundreds of meters could barely move. Check the live video feed of Doğan News Agency.
16:14 - Who does not remember Emine Cansever, or commonly known as the "sling-shot auntie" of the Gezi Park protests? Cansever was among the mourning crowd marching in Istanbul today:
15:57 - Two exits of the main avenue in Şişli district, one of which leading to Taksim, are currently closed to traffic. As Istanbul municipality's official webpage shows that the number of mourners is so huge that it has paralyzed car traffic in the city:
15:41 - A historic crowd gathers in front of the Şişli Mosque to bid farewell to Berkin Elvan. Taksim Solidarity platform calls the mourners to go to Gezi Park and leave carnations in memory of Berkin Elvan, following the last ceremony at the Feriköy cemetary on half-way between the Şişli Mosque and Taksim Sq.
15:05 - Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, whose legendary editor Hrant Dink was murdered seven years ago, unfurled a banner in solidarity with Berkin Elvan that read "A child and a bread are sacred. We Won't forget you Berkin." Agos’ office lies on the route of the planned march to Gezi Park.
14:15 - Semi-official Anadolu Agency tweets that "hundreds of thousands" people are attending the funeral.
14:10 – Thousands of people continue marching to Şişli Sq., carrying Berkin Elvan's coffin and tombstone. Police have also closed the E-5 highway leading to the square due to the crowd. Police sources have also told daily Hürriyet reporters that they will not allow people to march to Taksim following the funeral. At least nine police buses are patrolling the road between Taksim and Şişli where the planned march is due to be held.
13:22 – Gezi Park has been shut down by the police ahead of a potential protest march after the funeral ceremony at the Feriköy cemetery, daily Hürriyet reports.
13:04 – Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has announced that the security forces have been instructed to perform their duty “carefully” during the funeral. President Abdullah Gül talked to Governor Mutlu yesterday. “I am sure they [the police] will pay the necessary attention,” Gül reportedly said.
12:47 – The funeral ceremony at the cemevi is over and the coffin is being transported to the Elvan family’s house. “We’ve just said goodbye to him going to the eternity. My Berkin is gone, but I have millions of Berkins now,” the young victim’s father, Sami Elvan, said.
12: 46 - Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç released a statement, saying: "It's a very sad incident. Since yesterday, all of Turkey is really in mourning,” he said, extending his condolences to the Elvan family. Arınç also echoed several other politicians, saying his party’s election campaign buses would not play music today in deference to the teenager.
12: 40 - Elvan’s coffin has been put into place ahead of the procession. An Alevi dede is praying and asking the crowd to be silent during the funeral procession.
12:38 - Many prominent political figures are attending the funeral at the cemevi, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidate for the Istanbul mayoralty, Mustafa Sarıgül, the People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) co-candidate for Istanbul, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, and HDP co-chair Sebahat Tuncel .
Other CHP figures are also attending the funeral including Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzaçebi and Deputy Chair Umut Oran. Journalist Tuncay Özkan (photo below), freed on March 10 in the Ergenekon coup plot case after six years of detention, is also at the funeral.
After the ceremony at the Okmeydanı Cemevi (1), Elvan will be interred in Feriköy Cemetery (3) after a procession from Şişli Mosque (2) that is slated to begin at 3 p.m. Some groups are calling for a march to Gezi Park in Taksim (4) afterward. Sources say police will let all the funeral-related events in Şişli neighborhood (1-2-3) go as planned, but will not allow protesters to march to Gezi Park.
Berkin Elvan's death triggered nationwide mass demonstrations yesterday.