Police forces firing rubber bullets at the Gezi Park resisters from anti-riot armored vehicles, aka scorpions, used bullets containing metal balls and not colored dye.
The bullet that wounded tradesman Volkan Kesanbilici and caused him to lose his left eye had dozens of metal balls in it. Kesanbilici was hit on May 31 by a police bullet fired from a scorpion vehicle.
This fact was discovered during the medical operation on July 5, 2013. The doctors delayed the operation because Kesanbilici’s retina was detached. It was impossible to remove all the small balls from Kesanbilici’s sinus cavities. Kesanbilici talked to ANF.
He stated that the police forces attempted to hide the use of bullets with metal balls and that they came to the hospital where he was held for that purpose. He reiterated his determination resist and he maintained that he would be back to support his fellow resisters as soon as he is healed. He protested against claims that the Kurds have not supported the Gezi Park. He said, “ I am a Kurd and even though some groups tried to expel us from the Park we were there. As a person who got injured on the earliest days of the resistance I am the evidence.”
Kesanbilici, who owns a stationery shop in Merter and has a child, stated that he closed his shop and went to Taksim to support people there as soon as he heard about the initial police interventions.
The Scorpion Directed its Projectile at Me and…
Kesanbilici related the moment he got hurt and what happened afterwards,
“The situation on Istiklal Street was like a state of emergency. Police shut down all the entrances to Taksim Square from Istiklal Street. The only way to reach the Gezi Park was through Tarlabaşı. I was about to enter the square from the Tarlabaşı Bouleveard, when a weapon mounted on a police vehicle directed its beam of light onto me and I felt a severe pain in my left eye. I did not realize at first that it was a rubber bullet as the police forces had only used gas canisters so far. My whole face was covered in blood. I felt dizzy and tried hard not to fall down. I entered the hotel nearby. Volunteer doctors gave me the first medical treatment. They told me that my situation was critical and that I needed to go to a different hospital. I was immediately taken to a cab, but reaching the hospital was not easy because of the police barricades at every corner. It took us half an hour to get to the Taksim Ilkyardım Hospital. There the doctors first sutured my eye as there were cuts. However, x-rays showed the presence of a foreign object near my brain. The doctors said that I should be transferred to a fully-equipped hospital.
The doctor’s report stating that my situation was life-threatening was about to be swept under the carpet
Examinations at the Okmeydanı SSK Hospital continued until the morning. The report by the director of the emergency room caught my attention. It stated that my situation was life threatening. I was lying on a stretcher. I was alone as my friends were taking care of the paperwork. My medical reports were next to me. Then someone got closer to me. When I opened my eye I realized that he was the guard of the hospital. He asked, “Gezi Park events?” When I answered in the affirmative he took the judicial report prepared by the emergency doctors and told me that he was going to give it to a specialist doctor. After he left I did not realize what was going on at first. Then I called my friends and told them that we should get back the report attesting to my life-threatening condition. When my friends found the guard, there was a policeman in plain clothes and he was criticizing the director of the emergency room who had provided the report. My friends intervened and took the report from the policeman. They also said that they would file a criminal complaint. That was how we saved the judicial report. Otherwise it would have disappeared.
I will continue to struggle even with only one eye
Kesanbilici was then taken to the Çapa Faculty Hospital since the conditions at the SSK Hospital were inadequate. He said that here the doctors delayed the operation on his eye because there was bleeding in the eye. As the bleeding had not fully stopped and his retina was still detached, he underwent a dangerous operation. The doctors could not intervene in the case of the bullet that was stuck in his sinus cavities. The terrible truth was revealed during the second operation which he had on July 5th. The rubber bullet, contrary to the police’s claims, was not to mark but to kill. The removed bullet had metal balls in it, not colored balls.
Kesanbilici added that some of the metal balls which were critically close to his brain were not removed. Nevertheless, he sees himself as lucky. He said that the bullet hit the bone in his nose and this prevented the bullet from reaching his brain. If the bullet had not hit the bone he would not be alive.
Kesanbilici began the judicial procedures against the police forces involved in his case. He is looking forward to getting better and to joining the resisters again. “I will resist with one eye. No obstacle will stop me from supporting this rightful struggle. I am a Kurd and I was there!”
Kesanbilici argues that the events demonstrated that the Prime Minister Erdoğan, who accused the resisters of being a small minority, was himself in the minority. He also stated that this belief led Erdoğan to call the police forces heroes, even though they wounded hundreds of unarmed people.
I am Kurdish and I was there
Kesanbilici stated that the government claims that the Kurds did not support the Gezi Park resistance were lies. “I am from Van and I am a Kurd. I am denouncing the discrimination against Kurdish youth by some political organizations. I resent this as a person who was there as soon as I heard of the police intervention. Some groups ostracized us and ignored our long struggle for existence and they tried to stigmatize us. These acts were not in line with the spirit of Gezi and hurt me deeply. For this reason, I would like to tell those organizations that I am the proof that we, the Kurds, were there.”
10 July 2013
This post is also available in: Turkish