Grief-stricken Father of the Sixth Victim in Anti-Government Protests Reacts to Son’s Death

Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice

“Those Who Hail the Police as Heroes are to be Held Responsible for My Son’s Death”

Ahmet Atakan died in Antakya yesterday during demonstrations held to lend support to the protests at Middle Eastern Technical University (METU) and to urge the government to find the perpetrators behind Abdullah Cömert’s death during Gezi Park protests. The young man’s devastated father reacted to the death: “I’ve been living abroad for 30 years to raise these children. All this wasn’t to give them up.”

“Those Who Hail the Police as Heroes are to be Held Responsible”

Ahmet Atakan’s father Ali Atakan expressed that they wanted to see an end to the events. Ali Atakan, who has been accepting condolences at the family home in the Pınarbaşı district of Çekmece Town explained that he has been working abroad for 30 years: “All this wasn’t to give up my children. Shame on them who played a part in his death.”

Denying allegations that his son Ahmet fell from a building, Ali Atakan insisted “No, that’s simply not true. Don’t believe in such things. Those who spread these rumours don’t have anything better to do with their time.”

Ali Atakan went on to say:

“We have been overcome with grief, our pain is beyond words, shame on those who led to this. Shame on those who hail the police as heroes, and those who empower the police. The responsibility lies with them, not the police. We have no problems with the police, or with the people. Those who hail the police as heroes and empower the police are to be held responsible. Shame on those who lecture on advanced democracy. Surely this is not democracy, is it? This is not how good Muslims behave. I’m afraid these people haven’t understood the basic tenets of Islam. If they were real Muslims, if they’d understood the basic tenets of religion, they wouldn’t act this way. Whoever taught them this brand of religion, they should go and ask them. Breeding hostility, war-mongering, killing people, do these belong to Islam? Our religion is not that cheap. I’d like to call on to the Director of Religious Affairs. He should stand up for us, he’s there thanks to our taxes. Enough is enough.”

“Claims that He Fell Down are Ridiculous”

Hasan Akgöl, The Republican People’s Party MP for Hatay, pointed to the disproportionate use of force by the police:

“A group of 25 to 30 people were doing a sit-in in support of METU demonstrations. It all started in a calm atmosphere. Then the police attacked with a water cannon, threw in gas bombs; wreaked havoc. The deceased was found lying on the street. He was only 23 years old – in the bloom of youth. I ran to the hospital as soon as I heard the news. The young man had sustained injuries. Blood came from his ears, he had a chest injury. Since the cause of death wasn’t identified during yesterday evening’s autopsy, his case was referred to the coroner. What matters for us is not how the young man died but the fact that the event was triggered by police violence. What is at stake is disproportionate use of force and violent intervention.”

MP Hasan Akgöl responded to allegations by the Police Department and Hatay Mayor that Ahmet Atakan fell from a building:

“These claims are ridiculous. Such audacity is simply not acceptable. A person falling from a height would have fractures. There are rumours that the young man fell from the seventh floor as he was trying to throw a solar panel to the policemen. There are no seven-floor buildings in the area anyway. And it is impossible for anyone to land on the street from the seventh floor without fractures. I’ve been at the hospital since I heard the news and I followed all developments closely. The location where the young man’s body was found forecloses the possibility of him falling down from a height. Such allegations are aimed at misleading the public. They’re trying to misrepresent the course of events through such nonsense.”

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