Gezi victim Elvan commemorated on second anniversary of his death
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoBerkin Elvan, a young boy who was shot with a tear gas canister during the Gezi Park incidents in 2013 and died some nine months later, was commemorated on March 11, the second anniversary of his death. Along with Elvan’s parents, the relatives of other Gezi victims Ali İsmail Korkmaz, Ahmet Atakan and Abdullah Cömert also attended the commemoration in Istanbul.
Elvan, 14 years old at the time, was shot by a tear gas canister during the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı district and died after being in a coma for 269 days. His death sparked nationwide protests in Turkey, while the police officer who allegedly shot him remains free.
Elvan’s mother, Gülsüm Elvan, collapsed during the memorial and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance.
“We clearly know that these suspects are hidden and efforts continue to have the case dropped. I announce you all: I have no expectations from this case,” said Elvan’s father, Sami Elvan, underscoring that a trial against the police officer who shot Elvan would not mean anything “if the ones who gave the order are not judged.”
“Berkin, the boy of hope, teaches us how to resist. Every second we remember him. He has gathered us even today, as he united millions of people two years ago,” said Mücella Yapıcı, a member of Taksim Solidarity, known as a symbolic figure in the Gezi demonstrations.
Following the press statement, attendants left red cloves and bread near Elvan’s grave, as the young Gezi victim was wounded while on his way to buy bread.
Meanwhile, lawyers from the Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (People’s Law Office) gave a press statement in Istanbul and handed out 1,000 loaves of bread to attendants, as March 11 also marked the 1000th anniversary of the day he was shot.
“We remember Berkin Elvan with respect. If the case of Berkin is not opened, this will also block the way of files for our other children who were slaughtered,” said Lawyer Oya Aslan, who read the press statement, calling on officials to finally put the suspects on trial.
Lawyers have been demanding the identities of four police officers spotted in video footage of a riot control vehicle popularly known as a TOMA during the Gezi protests. However, their names have not been revealed since the footage was sent to the gendarmerie criminal laboratory for investigation.
The group of lawyers also ended their 12-day-long hunger strike, which they described as “a symbol of their turn of duty for justice.”
The lawyers urged the police department to reveal the names of the four police officers, adding that Elvan’s family and supporters had run out of patience. During the lawyers’ protest, police officers took security measures with armored vehicles and took some of protesters’ banners down.
Meanwhile, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office denied claims that a legal investigation had revealed the identity of the police officer who shot Elvan.
Claims in news reports and social media posts that the identity of the suspect had been revealed were “groundless,” Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu said. These reports mislead the public and the judiciary, he said, urging that procedures to reveal the identity of the suspect were resumed “post-haste and meticulously.”