Written by Canan Sagar
Friday, 02 May 2014 13:21
Berkin Elvan was 14 years old when he became one of the victims of the police attacks on the Gezi Park resistance that led to the June uprising in Turkey in 2013. The police aimed at the young boy and shot him in the head with a gas cylinder. He was in a coma for 269 days and died on 11 March 2014, just 15 years old when he died.
Berkin had left his home to buy a loaf of bread for his mother.
The majority of the cities in Turkey protested against the brutal suppression of pickets at Gezi Park last June when 2.5 million protested and 8,000 received injuries from police attacks. Protests have continued since then.
Berkin’s funeral took place on 12 March and police brutally attacked the funeral injuring 20 of the demonstrators, one was shot in the head by a tear gas canister and 150 were arrested.
The masses were chanting “prime minister resign”, and, “AKP government killed Berkin”. However, there is no sign that the prime minister Tayyip Erdogan or members of the AKP government will resign.
It is said over a million people in 30 cities took to the streets that day and for the next few days. Marches were also supported by the left unions KESK, DISK, TTB and TMMOB who called for mobilisations with a one hour stoppage in workplaces.
The RED militants, section of the IWL-FI, were at the fore-front of the fight carrying their flags. ISL comrades joined the 1,000 protestors in London who marched to the parliament buildings to show solidarity to the Turkish resistance and in memory of Berkin.
Youth in the forefront
The high school Youth Opposition of Hope started a protest in Kadikoy, Istanbul on 17 March 2014.
Many students went to the streets of Istanbul after Berkin’s death, and called on all high school students to go out onto the streets, and stated that in commemoration of Berkin they would not leave the streets.
They protested against the Turkish government and police force and shouted “if there’s no Berkin, there’s no lesson”, marching and chanting slogans, “We will not forget Berkin, he will live in our high schools”.
Berkin’s mother Gulsum Elvan said, “it’s not god who took my son it is Tayyip Erdogan”.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister, MPs and their children have been taking something else – millions of euros from the public purse.
Mrs. Elvan said that “their children steal and our children die”!
Although the cause of death was known, the government asked for an autopsy, which increased the anger of the masses and was an insult to his family.
Konak, Directorate of Education, requested a list of students, teachers, administrators who attended the protests after Berkin Elvan’s death. He convened an urgent meeting for one reason only, that was to find out who had attended Berkin Elvan’s funeral.
On 19 March an abandoned house in Besiktas was occupied by students. They named the house the “Berkin Elvan Student home”.
The four story building had not been occupied in over four years. The occupation took place on the birthday of Ali Ismail Korkmaz who was beaten to death by police in Eskisehir in the June uprising.
A placard was hung in front of the house saying “Berkin Elvan Student home”. One youth said, “We came to this neighbourhood as friends and neighbours. Firstly, we would like to invite everybody to help with cleaning. We want to make this house a permanent student home. In time we will build a library, student centres and a symposium and there will be art and cultural activities”.
The neighbourhood expressed astonishment but approval.