Our pain is not a political tool, say fathers of Okmeydanı victims

Our pain is not a political tool, say fathers of Okmeydanı victims

Our pain is not a political tool, say fathers of Okmeydanı victims

Berkin Elvan’s father, Sami Elvan (L), called Burak Can Karamanoğlu's father, Halil Karamanoğlu (R). DHA / AA Photo

The fathers of two young men killed in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood have talked over the phone and agreed that their pain should not be used as a political tool.

“Berkin Elvan’s father, Sami Elvan, called Uncle Halil, the father of Burak Can, who died yesterday, and offered condolences,” the Elvan family said March 14 on Twitter. “The two fathers said ‘your son is my son’ and shared their grief.”

Berkin Elvan, who was hit by a gas canister by the police in Okmeydanı during the Gezi protests, died March 11 after spending 269 days in a coma. Burak Can Karamanoğlu was killed by a gunshot in the same neighborhood hours after Elvan’s funeral ceremony was held March 12. The perpetrators of the killing are still unknown, but the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Party-Front (DHKP-C) claimed responsibility on March 13, saying it was defending itself against “civilian fascists.”

“Burak Can’s father said he would visit Sami Elvan when he returns to Istanbul. Both fathers said no one could compare the pain of losing a child and they will not allow their pain to be used as a political tool to create hatred in society,” the family’s statement read.

On March 14, Karamanoğlu was in the Black Sea province of Giresun, the family’s hometown, for the funeral ceremony of his son.

The Okmeydanı neighborhood is one of the most sensitive areas of Istanbul, where communities from different regions and faiths live together. The majority of the neighborhood consists of middle-low and low-income Alevis and is a number of leftist groups, including the DHKP-C, receive strong support in the area. Parts of the neighborhood, however, are also home to conservative communities, mainly originating from the Black Sea region.