The families of those who lost their lives in the police crackdowns during the Gezi Park protests and those who were injured during the protests announced the establishment of a shared association on Jan. 21.
The “Gezi Martyrs and Wounded Platform” was formally established following a meeting at the Istanbul Bar Association. The attendance of the elder brother of Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, the first protester who died during the protest after being hit by a car while running from the police, represented the families of the victims.
The parents of injured teenager Berkin Elvan also participated in the meeting. Elvan recently turned 15 in a coma, due to a head injury sustained from a gas canister fired by police as he went to buy bread during a crackdown in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood last June.
Volkan Kesen Bilici, one of the hundreds of injured protesters, said the new group intended to exert pressure to ban the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, widely used by the riot police throughout the protests, as well as the abrogation of special and anti-terror courts.
“We also want to reach all those who have been exposed to violence across Turkey. We call on them to contact us,” Bilici said.
Berkin Elvan’s father, Sami Elvan, slammed police impunity for seriously injuring his son, vowing that they would continue to demand the authorities be held to account for the violence directed toward protesters.
Five protesters – Ayvalıtaş, Ahmet Cömert, Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz and Ahmet Atakan – as well as one policeman, Mustafa Sarı, were killed in incidents directly related to the nationwide Gezi unrest.
Another young protester, Medeni Yıldırım, was shot during a protest against the building of a new gendarmerie post in Diyarbakır’s Lice district. That incident also caused a huge outcry among Gezi protesters.
More than 8,000 injuries were reported during the demonstrations, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).
Doğan News Agency
21 January 2014