Police officer who shot Uğur Kurt in cemevi acted ‘in self-defense,’ prosecutor says
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL / Radikal
Flowers and his photo of Uğur Kurt mark the site where he was shot, May 23. AP Photo / Emrah GürelThe prosecutor conducting an investigation into the killing of Uğur Kurt at a cemevi during a police crackdown in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood last month has argued that the officer who fired the gun acted “in self-defense.”
“The police officer [who fired the shot] acted in self-defense,” prosecutor Hasan Yılmaz wrote in a petition he sent to Istanbul’s Governor’s Office to request the prosecution of the suspect officer.
Uğur Kurt was hit by a stray bullet on May 23 while attending a funeral at a cemevi, an Alevi place of worship, as police opened fire on a group of demonstrators staging a protest in the Okmeydanı neighborhood.
Istanbul’s Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on May 29 that a request was made to investigate a police officer after the gun of the officer involved in the crackdown was analyzed.
During the investigation, prosecutor Yılmaz also pressed charges of “involuntary murder,” which stipulates jail time between two and six years, instead of murder in the first degree, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment.
The investigation prompted the anger of Kurt’s family, who sent a request to replace the prosecutor in charge.
“This is the same things as saying ‘don’t investigate the incident,’” said Turgut Kazan, the lawyer representing the family of the victim.
According to information obtained by daily Radikal, the officer who fired the gun has been identified as S.K., who is a member of Istanbul’s anti-terrorism unit.
Prosecutor Yılmaz has taken testimonies from 11 police officers, while Radikal learned that the inspectors tasked by the Interior Ministry have not interrogated the suspect.
Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu also confirmed that firearms were used during the clashes on May 23, which led to the killing of another civilian, Ayhan Yılmaz.
Kurt’s funeral was held May 24 at the same Okmeydanı cemevi where he was shot and killed while attending a funeral.