‘Ali’s life should not have been this cheap’

‘Ali’s life should not have been this cheap’

Is there any response to this cry from a mother whose 19-year-old son was beaten to death in a secluded corner of the city? What she said was, “Ali’s life should not be this invaluable, this cheap!”

A university student, Ali İsmail Korkmaz was beaten to death in the central Anatolian city of Eskişehir by a group of plainclothes policemen and shopkeepers at the peak of the Gezi Park incidents in 2013.

When the verdict was made in the Ali İsmail Korkmaz case Wednesday, we all had a feeling of being subjected to “injustice.” Is there a cure for this feeling?  

Is there anybody who can watch those images without a lump in their throat while Emel Korkmaz holds her son’s photograph tightly and cries this sentence: “Is it that cheap? That simple? That easy to take a life?”

Is there any person out there, after looking at the smiling bright face of Ali İsmail’s that is on walls, posters and banners all around Turkey, who is able to say, “It is not possible to bring you back Ali İsmail, but at least justice has been served?” Can anyone say this?

We have watched a court case which eroded the confidence of the justice system, a case that inflicted pain to all observers from the beginning to the end.

The police were declared “epic heroes,” during the case. The legal case proceeded while the police were praised for their actions during the Gezi events.

At a graduation ceremony at the Police Academy a month after the Gezi park events, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hailed the national police, as he said the police forces had written a “heroic saga” during the Gezi Park interventions.

Again the legal case proceeded while the small shopkeepers were praised by the country’s rulers.
Erdoğan has bestowed a “volunteer mission” on tradesmen throughout Turkey, to act as law enforcement officers and judges if necessary, portraying such duty as a “civilizational tradition” rooted in history. “In our civilization, in our national and civilizational spirit, tradesmen and artisans are soldiers when needed. They are ‘alperenler’ [the historical name given to Turkish-Muslim knights]; they are martyrs, veterans and heroes defending their homeland when needed. They are the policemen who build order when needed; they are the judges and the referees who deliver justice when needed,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 26, 2014, in a speech delivered to the 4th Council of Tradesmen and Artisans in Ankara.

The case was moved from place to place, while attempts to spoil the evidence have been made numerous times. Indifference was the reaction to the several games staged so the defendants could not to appear in court. Violence was exerted on those who came to watch the case, threats were made and even cases were opened against them.

All of this happened in front of our very eyes and even more.

 Well, humankind is a species that does not lose hope…

We at least kept hoping for a punishment that would not provide the murderers with a narrow escape, so that the mother of Ali İsmail could have a load off her mind.

Well, what happened? The sentences are there; that has happened. 

In the last hearing, the defendants threw themselves at the mercy of justice and conscience.

The conscience and the justice they took from Ali İsmail, they somehow got for themselves.

They received reduced sentences because of good conduct.

Good conduct…

Their futures were taken into consideration while the sentences were reduced.

Whatever was spared of Ali İsmail, all of it was given to his killers…

Youth dreams, conscience, justice…

It shouldn’t have been this cheap. It should not be this cheap.

Human life should not be so very invaluable…

Oh, dear Ali İsmail, oh dear…