Justin Vela

Witnesses say police responsible for death of Turkish protester

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Several witnesses to the June 2 beating of Ali İsmail Korkmaz, a 19-year-old anti-governement demonstrator in the central Anatolia city of Eskişehir, have said plainclothes police are responsible for the attack, according to local media.

Kormaz died on July 10 due to the severity of the attack.

Last week The National published my wrap on the deaths in the anti-government demonstrations that rocked Turkey over the past weeks.

“The police as the representative of the state can kill you,” said Zozan Pehlivan, a 31-year-old student and anti-government demonstrator in Istanbul. “It doesn’t matter what you protest … the police can kill you and nothing will happen.”

In addition to Korkmaz, protester Mehmet Ayvalitas was hit by a car that drove into a crowd of demonstrators in Istanbul. Abdullah Comert was killed after being hit by a police tear-gas canister in Antakya, a city in the south of the country. In Ankara, Ethem Sarisuluk, 26, was shot in the head by a pistol-wielding police officer.

A police officer in the southern city of Adana also died after falling off a bridge while chasing protesters.

But Sarisuluk’s death in particular has drawn the ire of those opposed to the government. In a video of the killing on June 1, a lone police officer fires his pistol in the direction of the demonstrators. One of the nine millimeter bullets hits Sarisuluk in the head and he collapses.

Read more 

There are a lot of questions to be answered about the aggressive behavior of police forces during the protests, and also the impunity with which they doled out violence. Human Rights Watch has called on Turkish authorities to improve its guidelines for using tear gas.

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Written by Justin Vela

July 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

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