Grieving father of Gezi Park police victim Ali İsmail Korkmaz
Grieving father of Gezi Park police victim Ali İsmail Korkmaz, Şahap Korkmaz

Another young man has lost his life at the hands of the police during the Gezi protests in Turkey. 19-year-old Ali İsmail Korkmaz was the fourth protester who died a victim of police violence along with 20-year old Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, 22-year-old Abdullah Cömert and 26-year old Ethem Sarısülük.

His death was reported in Hurriyet.

Ali Korkmaz went into a coma after he was attacked by a group of people with truncheons and sticks while he was trying to escape from police violence during the Gezi demonstrations on 2 June in the province of Eskişehir. He died on 10 July. Korkmaz was a freshman in the department of English-language teaching at Anadolu University.

"He died of cerebral hemorrhage due to head trauma and related complications", the Medical Faculty of Osmangazi University said in its autopsy report.

A person unknown to Korkmaz applied to the Eskişehir office of the chief prosecutor as a secret witness and gave this statement:

"Two policemen caught Ali and started to beat him with six people near them. They hit him several times on his head, waist and back with truncheons and sticks. Ali collapsed on the ground and lost consciousness.

"When he fainted, they stopped beating him. One of the men said, 'We chilled out well'. I was shocked. I wanted to help but was so scared. When he tried to stand up, a man with a stick went to him and said, 'Are you still here, you son of a bitch?' and started kicking him again.

"Then Ali stood up suddenly and tried to run. But two police officers caught him and hit him over and over again. Then he was not within my sight any more."

Korkmaz was sent by Mavi hospital to Yunus Emre State Hospital because it did not have an X-ray machine or a tomograph". At Yunus Emre doctors allegedly told him: "Yours is a judicial case. You have to testify in the police department before we treat you. There is just a bruise on your arm. Go home."

Despite having a document from Mavi Hospital showing that he had experienced a head trauma and his shoulder had been broken, he was diagnosed at Yunus Emre with "soft tissue injuries" only and told to take painkillers.

During his sleep that night, he had a cerebral haemorrhage which affected his speech and his memory. He was taken back to hospital and was admitted to intensive care. Thirty-seven days later, he died.

The Ministry of Health reported that he had been given all necessary physical examination and medical analysis at the hospital during his first visit.

"The patient was put under medical observation in emergency for three hours and was discharged from hospital when no problem was detected," said a spokesman.

Önder Öztürk, the Korkmaz family's lawyer, asked that the part of the skull that had been removed during emergency surgery be independently analysed but Dr Oğuzhan Dinç said that it had been thrown away.

Police trap

The deceased's father, Şahap Korkmaz, said that his son had walked into a trap and paid the price.

"It is clear that the police intervention at the demonstration and what happened afterwards had been planned," he claimed. "Police used teargas so that protesters had to run to the back streets to escape where they were attacked by persons in plain clothes and with sticks.

"We think they were undercover police officers, accompanied by civilians. While Ali was trying to run away from the teargas, he entered the street where those people were. He got stuck between police throwing teargas canisters and people with sticks. They beat my son so brutally."

The family believe that the investigation into his death will not be a just one. The prosecution office demanded related surveillance camera recordings of the attack but, said Şahap Korkmaz, the police department held on to footage from a hotel for several days before sending it on.

"Something must have been done to the footage at the police department," Şahap Korkmaz said.

İbrahim Tokur, an expert who went through the recordings of 40 locations filmed around the scene of the clashes, said: "The videos show a group of people considered undercover police officers and a group wearing gasmasks, carrying truncheons, chasing and beating protesters."

"One of the recordings also includes Ali and his friend but the most important part of the recordings that lasted about 20 minutes and included the moment when Ali was brutally beaten is not available," the expert added.

A video said to show attacks on fleeing demonstrators, just before Ali Korkmaz was beaten is available on YouTube:

On the first days of the Gezi protests, the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, warned protesters that he could hardly prevent bystanders from taking the law into their own hands and intervening in the protests.

And he did not stop them. His supporters showed their barbarism in Eskişehir by lynching Ali in an act that led to death.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claims that it represents a progressive democracy. It is wrong. Its actions over the Gezi protests and the death of yet another demonstrator prove that it actually functions as "progressive fascism".

Uzay Bulut is a freelance journalist based in Ankara

This article was updated November 30, -0001 00:00 AM
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