There were violent protests again in Istanbul after
the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan.
The innocent teenager who went to buy bread during the
previous demonstrations and protests in Istanbul in 2013 was hit by the police
with a tear gas canister. He was in a coma for 269 days and died last Tuesday
morning. The Turkish police became violent against people in the hospital Berkin
was being treated at. His mother is convinced that “God did not
take my boy. Tayyip Erdoğan did”. His father
said that he would like his son be remembered "as a
child killed by the state. He was just an innocent boy killed on his way to buy
The bread is now a symbol of these protests and is used
to symbolize Berkin Elvan. This story and quotes have been circulated all over
social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter.
Tayyip Erdoğan is the current Prime-Minister of Turkey. He has
been in power since 2003 and been re-elected with a large majority three times.
However, there has always been dissatisfaction amongst Turks, which has
grown since the
Gezi Park protests last year.
In 2001 he created a new political party Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), which is considered Islamic
and conservative. Tayyip Erdoğan is now considered the most influential Turkish
politician after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the father of the Turkish
His reformation of Turkey has helped its
development, but many of these reforms have been
achieved only because of his ambition to join the EU. Over the years Erdoğan created a strong network of influential people who would support him,
but it was shaken when his important ally Fethullah Gülen withdrew his support after the Gezi Park protests.
After this, many corruption scandals
have become public, which shook the AKP government but Tayyip Erdoğan does not want to abdicate his power. In recent years,
Tayyip Erdoğan has become more conservative and authoritative in certain matters, which has resulted in many Turks labeling him
as a dictatoreven though a majority had voted for him in a democratic election.
Tayyip Erdoğan exerts most of his control through his network of multiple Turkish
newspapers and has recently passed a law that enables him to monitor and censor
the Internet. He has already made it clear to the public that after the
municipally elections at the end of March he will ban Facebook and YouTube, two
of the social media platforms used to spread information about the Turkish protests and the scandals
that affect his government.
Going back to the recent
demonstrations in the last few days about Berkin Elvan, the Turkish protesters
had clashes with the police in
some Turkish cities, but mainly in Istanbul and Ankara.
In Istanbul, where the funeral
ceremony of Berkin took place, people gathered and showed their support for the teenager by chanting "Berkin's murderers are the AKP’s police" and "The rage of mothers will
suffocate the murderers”. Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons multiple times in order to stop
people going towards Taksim Square, where the Gezi Park is.
Hotels, small shops and apartments were used as places of refuge for the protesters, the only protection
that they have against the force and tear gas used by police. The biggest clashes took place in the neighborhood where I was lived during my stay
Last Wednesday, a quiet and populated
neighborhood witnessed warlike scenes as police clashed with activists. The
protestors barricaded some streets in Kurtuluşto protect themselves from the police, but unfortunately a protester
died and many others were hurt during theprotests against the government.
The demonstrations will be calmer
during the next few days, but the Turkish people will be ready rise again. They
are angry not only with the government, but also the brutal force used by the police.
Nothing will stop them from defending their rights for a democratic and liberal
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