A man pours water on an armoured police vehicle after it was set on fire by fire bombs during clashes between protesters and riot police in Istanbul
A man pours water on an armoured police vehicle after it was set on fire by fire bombs during clashes between protesters and riot police in IstanbulReuters

A second person has died in clashes between protesters and police in Istanbul's Okmeydani neighbourhood. The victim, who still remains unidentified, died of injuries caused by the explosion of a grenade, which wounded another civilian.

Earlier on Thursday, Ugur Kurt, 34, died after being shot and critically injured while attending a funeral procession in the predominantly Alevi (a moderate stran of Shia Islam) neighbourhood.

Protesters had gathered to rally about the Soma mine disaster, in which 310 workers were killed, and the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who was shot in the head during Gezi Park's anti-government protests of last year.

Police attempted to disperse the protesters who gathered around Elvan's home with water cannon and teargas. An armoured police vehicle caught fire after being targeted by a Molotov cocktail thrown by a protester. Police then exited the vehicle and opened fire on the group.

Kurt was shot in the cheek and jaw by a stray bullet allegedly fired by police officers as he was attending the funeral in a cemevi, a place of gathering of fundamental importance for the local Alevi population. He was immediately taken to the hospital but Istanbul's governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu confirmed his death on Twitter overnight.

In reaction to the clashes, prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan released another controversial remark claiming that Elvan's death has become "a thing of the past".

"They wanted to hold a ceremony to commemorate Berkin Elvan. Will we perform a ceremony for every death? He died and it's over," he told fellow AK Party members in Ankara.

"I don't understand how the police can be so patient [against protesters]," he continued.

The ruling AK Party of Erdogan, has come under intense scrutiny for its handling of the Soma mine disaster.

Erdogan has been criticised for his remarks after the coal mine fire, specifically his comments that this sort of accident is "normal". He was forced to take refuge in a shop in Soma after furious relatives besieged him.