Bianet: Berkin Protests Spread Across Turkey

The news of Berkin Elvan’s death triggered a series of protests across the country, including high school students boycotting classes in Izmir province, demonstrators initiating sit-ins with bread in their hands and local business owners putting up signs on their shop windows.


The death news of Berkin Elvan, a 15 year-old boy from Istanbul who died after a 269-day comatose due to a police gas bomb canister, caused an outrage across the country.

A series of protests spontaneously broke out with demonstrations in public schools, streets, local shops, university campuses, and commemoration ceremonies.

High schoolers boycotted classes 


After Berkin Elvan’s death news broke out, students of İzmir Karataş High School boycotted their classes, a protests that spead immediately to other high schools in Ankara (Kırkkonaklar) and Istanbul (Ahmet Sani Gezici).

Berkin vigil with breads 


Protests began early morning in Ankara at Güvenpark with one protestor initiating a sit-in with a bread in his hand and a banner saying “I am Berkin”.


Later on, the protest gained support from others and the concepts went viral in other cities including Antalya and Istanbul’s Avcılar district.


Another demonstrator started a sit-in protestor in front of the headquarters of NTV, a television network that received a lot of criticism during the Gezi Protests by reportedly showing penguin documentaries instead of making live protest coverage.


Berkin boycott on campuses


Students are calling for boycott across Turkey’s universities.

While students at Middle East Technical University stopped going to classes, some classes in Ankara University’s Cebeci Campus have also been canceled.

Students from Istanbul University set up a commemoration corner for Berkin Elvan.

According to various sources, university protests have spread to the follow university departments: Ankara University (Political Science, Humanities), Anadolu University (İki Eylül campus), Ege University, Istanbul Technical University, Koç University, Sabancı University, Galatasaray University, Mersin University, Antalya University and Boğaziçi University.

Messages on local shop windows 


The protests also had its ramification on the social media with thousands of users sharing photos of local shop windows with commemoration messages.

Business owners in Okmeydanı district also decided to close their shutters for two days. (BK/BM)

11 March 2014