Intense use of tear gas blamed in death of man during protests in Istanbul

Intense use of tear gas blamed in death of man during protests in Istanbul

Intense use of tear gas blamed in death of man during protests in Istanbul

Serdar Kadakal is pictured at Istanbul's Gezi Park during the height of the protests in June. DHA photo

An autopsy has been performed Sept. 14 on the body of a man, following claims that his death the previous day might have been caused by the police use of tear gas.

Serdar Kadakal died from a heart-attack on Sept. 13 in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district where protests have been met with a fierce police intervention for three days.

Relatives have claimed that the death of the 35-year-old sound technician, who had a history of a heart condition, was caused by the intense use of tear gas by the police. 

His sister Sibel Kadakal said that the whole family had warned him not to go to his workplace, a well-known bar in the Bahariye neighborhood, which was the epicenter of the protests during the week. 

“He told us that he had trouble breathing. He did not need to go outside [the bar] because the gas which entered inside affected everyone. It was a small area. We have warned him not to go to work. His throat and chest were aching,” Kadakal said.

“His wife was with him when he fainted. A doctor who knew about first aid has brought him back to life for a short time with cardiac massage. It’s a young death… So we have whys and hows,” she said.

However the police rejected that Kadakal's death could have any connection with the use of tear gas. 

“This person was not in an area where gas was used by our forces," the police said in a statement on its website. “Kadakal’s relatives have said that although his heart valve was replaced in 1996 and he used a cardiac pacemaker, he smoked and took alcohol despite [doctors] forbade him,” the statement said. 

But Sibel Kadakal said that they were not convinced that tear gas did not have any effect on his brothers’ death. “Exposure to [tear gas] harms even a normal person. It may cause different sort of effects in an ailing person’s body,” she said.

Kadakal’s funeral will be held tomorrow in Istanbul. 

Six people have already died during anti-government protests across Turkey since the end of May, the last one being Ahmet Atakan, a 22-year-old demonstrator who passed away on Sept. 10 in Antakya. 

Meanwhile, Taksim Solidarity Platform which initiated the protests in May denouncing the demolition of trees in Gezi Park, have called for a demonstration in Kadıköy on Sept. 15 at 3 p.m.