Berkin Elvan

by Umit Ozturk 12 March 2014

Dear friends; here is some news update from Turkey, with sad news. Berkin Elvan was a 14 year-old boy who left home in June 2013 to buy bread. He did not take up arms. He did not attack anybody. Yet he was shot in the head by the Turkish police. He was in a coma for 269 days. He passed away yesterday. Turkish police continued to brutalise those attending Berkin’s funeral and the protesters across the country. The fascist regime of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not even apologetic for the attacks by the police since yesterday against scores of peaceful protesters who wished to mourn for Berkin’s death. Turkish police went on beating up, arresting, injuring, maiming and terrorising the peaceful civilian masses by water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets. Several people had serious injuries and at least one woman lost one of her eyes after having been shot by the police in Adana province.

When will the state terror come to an end? Perhaps it will stop only when the state as an institution ceases to be afraid of its citizens, abandoning millennia-long paranoia over freedom of speech and assembly, freedom to demand equality. No superiority; simply equality. Just equality; no toppings, no icing, no hidden extra wishes list.

I don’t know if my words make sense because I don’t know what I am doing at this very minute. I feel I am swarmed by grief and tears, clinging on the hope for a peaceful change towards a peaceful future. Perhaps I shouldn’t be complaining about my state of emotions; I should be grateful for the fact that I am not one of the parents of Berkin or other beautiful young souls who were murdered by the Turkish police in cold blood since the Gezi Park protests last June. I think one cannot feel the real temperature of the inferno in their heart as much as a parent.

There are many phrases and folk sayings in Turkish language about difficult situations, for instance “as bad as the loss of own child” or “only my mother cries [heartily], all the rest will not shed genuine tears”. In the provinces I grew up, whenever people saw a child in physical pain or in hard living conditions, they would say to him/her this: “I wish your mother was dead”. As a child myself, I would struggle to understand the logic of such a bad wish. I was told later that because it wouldn’t be fair for a mother to feel the pain in her heart when witnessing the hardship endured by her child. I heard the longer version later; “I wish your mother was dead so as to avoid seeing you in such a bad state”.

Many of us, I for one, feel the abject pain in our hearts after having heard the passing of Berkin. But let us not forget that the fascist Turkish regime whose police force shot Berkin had continually inflicted pain in his mother’s heart, day and night, throughout the 269 days since he was shot; and, nobody can guess how long will it take for her to be able cope with the loss of her beautiful son, the innocent flourishing young soul. Or, can time ever heal?

In her pain-stricken yet peaceful tone, Berkin’s mother asked this question to the Prime Minister Erdogan through national media, a few weeks after Berkin went into a coma: “How do you think you can now look at your own children in the face?”

May Berkin’s soul rest in peace. May the burden of grief in the hearts of his parents relieve soon for the fact that they now have a big family of millions of people who constantly have them in their thoughts and hearts.

Let us mourn, but also organise. Let us work together to build a different world where unarmed will forever be unharmed. — with Berkin Elvan.

Umit Uzturk
Umit Ozturk

Mediterranean Resources Network (MERNET)

BHCR Studios, BMECP Centre, 10A Fleet Street, Brighton, BN1 4ZE, United Kingdom

Tel :  (+44)-(0)1273 251574       Fax: (+44)-(0)871 900 2419




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    day. Bye

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