Photograph revealed in Elvan probe as eight detained for Karamanoğlu murder
This photograph, obtained by daily Hürriyet, was taken by witness P.K around the time and place where Elvan was fatally injured and was included in the investigation files.Important leads were reached in the investigations regarding Berkin Elvan and Burak Can Karamanoğlu, the latter having killed during the 15-year-old Gezi victim’s funeral in Istanbul's Okmeydanı neighborhood March 12.
A picture of seven policemen standing around the time and place where Elvan was fatally injured by a tear gas canister in the middle of the Gezi Park protests emerged March 25 as the investigation still has not brought any concrete evidence incriminating members of the police force.
The photograph, obtained by daily Hürriyet, was taken by witness P.K. and was included in the investigation files after being submitted to lawyers representing Elvan’s family.
The police officers were standing in front of a polyclinic where the witness P.K. worked as the assistant of a dentist. The clinic is located at a distance of a two minute walk from the place where Elvan was shot as he went to buy bread in the Okmeydanı neighborhood, Lawyer Evrim Deniz Karatan said.
“We submitted the photograph as a piece of evidence to the files because there is a probability that the police officers who fired at Berkin could be one of them. They reportedly started to run toward the direction [where Berkin was shot]. But there is nothing certain yet,” Karatan said.
Elvan, who died March 11 after spending 269 days in a coma, became the prime symbol of the police violence against protesters, particularly during the Gezi protests.
P.K. told the police that she was asthmatic and had decided to stay at the polyclinic after work a day before the incident happened – a Saturday – due to the intense police crackdown. “When we woke up the next day, we saw that the incidents were ongoing outside. I felt ill after the gases penetrated the polyclinic. It was around 6:40 am,” P.K. recalled, explaining that her boss M.B. had to warn the police officers that she was suffering from asthma.
“She opened the window and said to the group of police waiting in the streets ‘my assistant has asthma. Please don’t spray gas.’ Police told her to go inside. After that, I took the pictures waiting in front of the polyclinic with my phone,” she said in her testimony.
The dentist M.B. also confirmed that the place where Elvan was shot was a distance of 50-100 meters from the clinic. “The picture was taken at 7:11 a.m. Right after that, the officers started to run in the direction where Berkin was shot and injured. If we were to have looked from my office, we would have been able to see the place where he was hot. But we got back to work after the police started running,” M.B. said.
But many questions remain unanswered regarding the case. Officials are under fire for having failed to carry out an effective investigation and charged potential suspects.
Human rights organizations have repeatedly slammed Turkey over the case, arguing it was a blatant “culture of impunity” reigning in the country.
Eight detained for Burak Can murder
The investigation into Karamanoğlu is progressing faster, as eight people have been taken into custody in simultaneous raids conducted in three Istanbul districts on March 25.
Police have reportedly meticulously examined all of the camera footage available in the area of the Okmeydanı neighborhood where Karamanoğlu was killed, reportedly shot after Elvan’s funeral.
Some 800 police officers took part in the March 25 raids on 25 addresses. Suspects are reportedly members of the leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two guns and one shotgun were also seized in the raids and a ballistic analysis will be carried out to determine if they were used in Karamanoğlu’s murder.
Karamanoğlu was killed late March 12 on the sidelines of a police crackdown on mourners who took part in Elvan’s funeral in Istanbul’s Şişli district.