Footage emerges showing fatal collision killing first Gezi victim
İsmail SAYMAZ ISTANBUL/Radikal
The images obtained by daily Radikal indicate that Atvalıtaş and his cousin had first lost their footing after a car, which was not cited in the indictment, passed by them at a very high speed.New footage emerged Feb. 17 showing the fatal accident that cost the life of Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, the first victim of the Gezi protests last summer who died June 2 after being hit by a car while trying to escape a police crackdown in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district.
Before the latest hearing into his death on Feb. 5, police had claimed that they were no surveillance cameras (MOBESE) in the area and that the indictments had been prepared solely based on witnesses’ accounts.
The images obtained by daily Radikal indicate that Atvalıtaş and his cousin had first lost their footing after a car, which was not cited in the indictment, passed by them at a very high speed.
Both were subsequently hit by a taxi that could not stop in time, before being trampled by an SUV in a crash that eventually proved fatal for Ayvalıtaş.
The police’s initial proceedings dating back to June 3, the day after the incident, said “the necessary images could not be obtained due to the lack of MOBESE cameras in the zone.”
However, the images were procured and included in the files during the second hearing of the trial held on Feb. 5 following a public outcry.
Ayvalıtaş, 20, succumbed to his wounds, becoming the first confirmed death in the protests that engulfed Turkey over the summer.
His cousin, Seyit Kartal, said in his testimony that the car was driven directly into the crowd. He also said he turned around to look at the crowd, but was hit in the back and only saw Ayvalıtaş in blood after he managed to stand up.
Driver Mehmet Görkem Demirbaş, a university student, and taxi driver Cengiz Aktaş, whose crash allegedly caused the accident, face up to 15 years in prison each. Demirbaş and Aktaş are being tried without arrest, despite requests from the Ayvalıtaş family’s lawyers and civil society representatives.
Six other protesters died during the anti-government protests across Turkey in the summer following Ayvalıtaş: Abdullah Cömert (22), Ali İsmail Korkmaz (19), Ethem Sarısülük (26), Medeni Yıldırım (18), Ahmet Atakan (22) and Hasan Ferit Gedik (21).