Across Turkey, new unrest as Berkin Elvan is buried


The New York Times reports: An enormous outpouring of grief and antigovernment rage during the funeral procession for a teenage boy felled by a police tear-gas canister turned into another mass confrontation with the Turkish authorities on Wednesday as mourners clashed with antiriot squads in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. At least one person was killed.

The new unrest came a day after protesters battled with police officers in at least 15 cities over news that the boy, Berkin Elvan, 15, had died. He had been comatose with head trauma since June, when Turkey was first engulfed with antigovernment protests against the decade-old tenure of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is seen as increasingly authoritarian.

The boy, who was struck by a tear-gas canister while buying bread, has become the newest symbol of simmering anger at Mr. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party, known as AKP, and over the tough police repression of political dissent and a recent corruption scandal that has entangled the top echelons of the ruling party.

“Here’s a thief! Here’s a murderer!” and “Mothers’ anger will strangle murderers!” funeral marchers screamed as they walked, blowing whistles. “Berkin’s murderer is AKP’s police!”

More than 100,000 people converged in Istanbul to participate in the boy’s funeral procession to a cemetery. The burial itself was peaceful as hundreds of riot police were deployed nearby.

“He was our hope, he was our miracle, he was our son, brother, everything. We were waiting for him to wake up but we unfortunately lost him,” said Damla Atalay, 32, a lawyer, who marched in a convoy behind the coffin. “We are here because this little boy is part of us, it could happen to any of us, to our son, brother.” [Continue reading…]

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