Erdogan links dead teen to "terrorist" groups

2014-03-15 22:36
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP)

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

Istanbul - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said a teenager who died this week after sustaining a head injury in anti-government protests last summer was linked to "terrorist organisations", in comments likely to fan political tensions.

The death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan on Tuesday after nine months in a coma sparked Turkey's worst unrest since nationwide anti-government demonstrations last June, compounding Erdogan's woes as he battles a graft scandal that has become one of the biggest challenges of his decade in power.

Erdogan made his remarks, his first about Elvan, late on Friday at a campaign rally in southeast Turkey ahead of nationwide municipal elections on 30 March.

"This kid with steel marbles in his pockets, with a slingshot in his hand, his face covered with a scarf, who had been taken up into terrorist organisations, was unfortunately subjected to pepper gas," Erdogan told a crowd of supporters in a speech broadcast on state-run TRT-Haber news channel.

Elvan, then 14, got caught up in street battles in Istanbul on 16 June while going to buy bread for his family.

He was hit in the head by what is believed to be a police gas canister, slipped into a coma and became a rallying point for government opponents, who held regular vigils at the hospital where he lay in intensive care.

After his death, riot police used water cannon, tear gas and rubber pellets to disperse tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Turkey's largest cities chanting "Tayyip! Killer!" and "Everywhere is Berkin, everywhere is resistance".

'Anarchists, terrorists'

At campaign rallies, Erdogan has accused a coalition of "anarchists, terrorists and vandals" as well as opposition parties and an influential US-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of orchestrating the unrest to undermine him.

Using harsh words unlikely to soothe public anger, Erdogan - who unlike President Abdullah Gul and other public figures did not send condolences to Elvan's family - criticised the boy's parents and suggested he had not really gone to buy bread.

"His mother says 'my son's killer is the prime minister'. I know love, fondness for one's child, but I could not understand why you threw steel marbles and carnations into your son's grave," Erdogan said at his election campaign rally.

Elvan's family are Alevis, a religious minority in mainly Sunni Muslim Turkey which espouses a liberal version of Islam and has often been at odds with the Islamist-rooted government.

In a tone contrasting sharply with Erdogan's fiery rhetoric, Gul called on Saturday for calm ahead of the local elections.

"Our people will go to the ballot box soon. It's everybody's duty to avoid moves, comments and behaviour which could raise tension in this critical process and to use common sense," Gul, a political ally of Erdogan, told the Hurriyet newspaper.

Read more on:    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

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...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.