Clashes and arrests as Turks remember boy killed by police

Access to the comments Comments
By Alasdair Sandford  with AFP, Hurriyet, Today's Zaman
Clashes and arrests as Turks remember boy killed by police

Turkish police have intervened in several towns to break up demonstrations, on the first anniversary of the death of a teenager who succumbed to injuries inflicted by the security forces during anti-government protests the previous year.

Several people were detained in Istanbul as they tried to gather in front of Gezi Park, the symbolic location at the origin of the 2013 rallies.

Elsewhere, in Ankara, water cannon was used to disperse hundreds of people protesting against police violence. Eleven people were reportedly detained.

They came to remember Berkin Elvan, just 14 when he was hit by a tear gas canister fired by security forces intervening in his Istanbul neighbourhood. His parents said he had gone out to buy bread.

After a long coma, the teenager died on March 11, 2014, prompting more large scale protests across Turkey.

No police officer has been prosecuted for his death.

As the boy fought for his life, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called him a “terrorist”, saying police could not be blamed as the teenager was wearing a scarf and security forces had no way of knowing his age.

According to Turkish media, Elvan’s family is demanding a million Turkish liras from the Interior Ministry, holding it responsible for his death.

Reports also say a statue of Elvan erected in Izmir has been attacked and damaged by unknown assailants.

Opposition parties were present during Wednesday’s demonstrations. They say that hundreds of children have been killed on the streets during the AK party’s 12-year rule, and yet the government is pushing for wider police powers.

For several weeks, the Turkish parliament has been examining a controversial bill that strengthens police powers, especially during demonstrations.