Teen's death sparks protests across Turkey
ISTANBUL — Protesters clashed with police on Tuesday in cities across Turkey because of the death of a 15-year-old boy who was hit in the head by a tear-gas canister during anti-government demonstrations last summer.
Police unleashed water cannon and tear gas on thousands of demonstrators, another pre-election headache for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as he battles a corruption scandal that has become one of the biggest challenges of his decade in power.
Istanbul and Ankara have had protests in recent weeks against what demonstrators regard as Erdogan's authoritarian reaction to the graft affair, which has included new laws tightening Internet controls and handing government greater influence over the appointment of judges and prosecutors.
Berkin Elvan, then 14, got caught up in street battles in Istanbul between police and protesters on June 16 while going to buy bread for his family. He 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.
A crowd chanted “fascist government, Erdogan killer,” as Elvan's coffin was carried through the streets of the working-class Istanbul neighborhood his family calls home.
There was similar police intervention against thousands of protesters on both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, among dozens of places across Turkey where posts on social media had called for protests.
In the Mediterranean city of Mersin, two women were injured when struck by a water cannon vehicle, one of them suffering a head wound, the Dogan news agency said. Four police were reported injured in the clashes there.
Police detained 20 people as they skirmished with protesters trying to march to the offices of Erdogan's AK Party in the Black Sea city of Samsun, Dogan reported.
In the southern city of Adana, protesters threw stones and aimed fireworks at police lines as water cannon vehicles advanced against them, spraying water. Large numbers also protested in the western cities of Izmir and Eskisehir in the most extensive protests since last summer's unrest.
Crowds chanted “murderer Erdogan” and “the murderer state will be brought to account” as mourners carried Elvan's coffin, wrapped in red cloth and strewn with red carnations, to a “cemevi,” an Alevi place of worship, in central Istanbul.
Alevis are a religious minority in mainly Sunni Muslim Turkey who espouse a liberal version of Islam and have often been at odds with Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ukraine to pull artillery in east as truce between government and rebels holds up
- Muti backs out of Rome theater commitment
- At least 40 Iraqi soldiers killed in Islamic State strike; dozens captured
- Libyan clashes could endanger oil exports
- Nations urged to follow U.S. example on Ebola
- Islamic State link with well-heeled companies or individuals targeted
- Yemen signs peace deal with Shiite rebels
- Turks, fleeing Kurds battle as Islamic State besieges town in Iraq
- Hong Kong college students boycott classes in fight for democracy
- Jordan-based bank liable in suicide bombings that killed, injured Americans