Mourner dies, several injured in Istanbul clashes

Mourner dies, several injured in Istanbul clashes

Mourner dies, several injured in Istanbul clashes

Uğur Kurt, 30, was immediately taken to hospital after reportedly being shot with what witnesses said was live ammunition.

One person died after being shot by a stray bullet during clashes between police and a group in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı district May 22, while several others were injured. One man is in a critical condition after being injured during clashes that intensified throughout the night.

The victim, identified as Uğur Kurt, was attending a funeral procession as police cracked down on a group consisting of 10 to 15 people who had gathered in the neighborhood.

After the police fired tear gas, the group dispersed into side streets. An armored police vehicle was set alight after being hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown by a protester, after which the police exited the vehicle and opened fire on the group, allegedly with live ammunition.


Pictures of police officers holding firearms
have circulated on social media.

The protesters chanted slogans about last week’s Soma mining disaster and also the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died in March after spending eight months in a coma after being hit by a police tear gas canister during the Gezi protests last summer.

Kurt, who had attended a funeral at a nearby cemevi, an Alevi place of worship, was immediately taken to the hospital after being heavily wounded in the head. He died a few a hours later despite medical intervention, Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu announced via Twitter.

The 30-year-old victim, reportedly works for the Beyoğlu Municipality as a cleaner.

Istanbul Gov. Mutlu also confirmed that guns had been used in the clashes. “There are images in the media showing guns. All details in terms of both its judicial and administrative aspects will be investigated,” he said, calling for calm before “sadness turns into massive grief.”

“However, a Molotov cocktail attack was conducted against a police unit that was stationed next to a school to provide security, [resulting] in an incident involving guns. We will definitely share with the public how this occurred with. The public can be sure of this,” he said.


    One person is in critical condition after being wounded
    during a police crackdown late May 22.
Shopkeepers in Okmeydanı reportedly shut their stores after the incident, while police have fired tear gas at demonstrators demanding that they vacate the neighborhood.

Clashes continued late at night. Protesters hurled three homemade bombs at the police, injuring six officers and two civilians. The injury of one of the civilians is life-threatening.

"If one of our innocent citizens is killed while looking at the incident from a distance with a bullet coming from a police officer's gun, or even if he is injured by a stray bullet, whoever is involved in this issue should immediately be brought in a court and punished accordingly, I hope," Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said.