Clashes in Turkey amid mourning for teen

2014-03-13 09:16
Anti-government protesters stand behind a barricade that they set on fire during a demonstration in Ankara. (Adem Altan, AFP)

Anti-government protesters stand behind a barricade that they set on fire during a demonstration in Ankara. (Adem Altan, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Istanbul - Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters in Ankara and Istanbul on Wednesday as tens of thousands took to the streets to mourn a teenage boy who died from injuries suffered in last year's anti-government protests.

At least one person was killed as protests swept the country, a 30-year-old policeman who died of a heart attack after officers confronted demonstrators in the eastern town of Tunceli, the Dogan news agency reported.

In Ankara, police clashed with demonstrators as they tried to stop traffic, and in Istanbul, large crowds shouting anti-government slogans lit a huge fire as they made their way to a cemetery for the burial of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan.

Elvan, who died in an Istanbul hospital Tuesday after 269 days in a coma, was hit on the head by a tear gas canister while going to buy bread during the protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that gripped Turkey in June.

"Berkin's murderers are the AKP police," protesters shouted in Istanbul, referring to Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Authoritarian

Scuffles broke out when police tried to prevent a group of protesters from gathering on the city's Taksim Square, the epicentre of the June protests. Police made a number of arrests, and clashes left several people injured.

In the western city of Izmir, one woman was left with a broken leg and several others were hospitalised after police tried to stop crowds marching toward local government buildings, news channel NTV reported.

The renewed unrest, following clashes in at least 32 cities on Tuesday, adds to mounting pressure on Erdogan, whose government has been rocked by a corruption scandal ahead of elections that could decide his fate.

Elvan's story became a symbol for many Turks of the heavy-handed police tactics against the mass protests in June, a major challenge to Erdogan's 11-year-rule.

The protests started as a relatively small environmentalist movement to save Istanbul's Gezi Park, but evolved into a nationwide wave of protests against Erdogan, seen as increasingly authoritarian.

An estimated 2.5 million people took to the streets across Turkey over three weeks in June. Medics say more than 8 000 people were injured and at least eight killed, including Elvan.

'Enough is enough'

On the campaign trail on Wednesday, Erdogan accused protesters of trying to "sabotage" upcoming local elections, which will be followed by a presidential vote in August.

"A government can only be changed at ballot box," he said at a rally in the south-eastern Mardin province.

"Trying to set the street on fire 18 days before elections is not democratic behaviour."

The prime minister has vowed to step down if the AKP, in power since 2002, loses the 30 March elections, seen as a test of his popularity after last year's unrest and an ongoing graft probe that has ensnared key AKP allies.

Elvan's parents have lashed out at Erdogan, who at the time of the boy's death praised police "heroism".

"If he [Erdogan] had wanted, the murderer would have been found within an hour," father Sami Elvan told CNN Turk.

Protestors hung "wanted" posters featuring pictures of Erdogan on bus stops in Ankara's Kizilay square. Others carried banners warning: "Murderer state, you will be held accountable!"

"Erdogan's police killed this guy. He should be ashamed but he didn't even send his condolences to the family," said a student who gave her name as Ayse.

"Enough is enough, we are fed up with this government of murderers," she told AFP.

Several political parties and trade unions called for mass protests after Elvan's funeral against AKP authoritarianism and the swelling corruption scandal.

Erdogan himself has been implicated in the scandal, with leaked recordings surfacing online in which he purportedly can be heard talking to his son about hiding millions of euros in cash. He has dismissed the recordings as fabricated.

After the scandal erupted, the AKP-dominated parliament passed new legislation tightening state control over the Internet and judiciary, attracting widespread criticism and raising questions about the state of democracy in Turkey.

The European Parliament warned on Wednesday that the new laws could hinder Turkey's bid to enter the bloc.
Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  turkey  |  turkey protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

 
 

Men24.com

Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.