Young protester loses eye from rubber bullet, mother wants justice

Young protester loses eye from rubber bullet, mother wants justice

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Young protester loses eye from rubber bullet, mother wants justice

Mahir Gür, 22, lost sight in left eye due to a rubber bullet in Taksim. DAILY NEWS photo

One young man, who was shot with a rubber bullet during the police intervention in the demonstrations in Taksim Gezi Park last week, lost his sight in one eye but counts himself lucky for being alive. His family, however, are demanding justice and want those responsible to be brought to justice immediately.

“I am thankful that I am alive. But I was unlucky that I lost my eye,” said Mahir Gür, 22-year-old university student, said in an interview with Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

On June 11, he was shot by a rubber bullet in his left eye and broke his left cheekbone. Three protesters and one policeman have died during the countrywide protests so far.

“I went to Gezi to find my friends. It was the first time I went there [since the demonstrations started.] Around five minutes after I went there, the police intervention started and the police shot me with the rubber bullet,” said Gür, adding that it was the first time he had been to Taksim since the protests started. He said his friends took him to hospital while he was passing in and out of consciousness.

Gür was discharged from the hospital on June 17, after staying at the hospital for a week and having surgery on his eye. He said he was told by the doctors that he had a very low chance of being able to see with his left eye again and that he had to undergo at least two more surgeries.

He was still suffering the trauma of the incident, hardly speaking about his emotions, mostly standing silent and sad. He said he can no longer watch the TV and only gets updated about the incidents when his friends call him. Gür said he was not member of any group, party or organization and went to Gezi Park for the fate of the park as well as for the freedoms and against the pressures.

No apologies from gov’t officials, mother says

His mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, demanded an apology from the government officials and asked them to bring those responsible to justice.

“He could apologize to people, who are suffering so much pain by now,” said Gür’s mother, adding that her son had never been part of any illegal action or organization.

“I want those who did this to my son to be found. I want them to bring my son’s eye back.

Can they do this? My son’s head was targeted by a rubber bullet. Who would do to this to a human?” asked his mother. Working as a cook in a suburban area of Istanbul, Gür’s mother comes home once every three hours to treat her son’s eyes. She said it is hard to cover the hospital costs, but added that they will find a way somehow.

The family started a legal action against those responsible and expects the government to bring those responsible to justice.

Devastated by his son’s situation, his mother says she would have preferred for her son to be beaten with batons instead of rubber bullets. “He would have a broken leg or arm. Now, he lost his eye. They have darkened his world,” she said in a shivering voice.