The Psychiatric Association of Turkey – Press Release

Translated from Turkish by Translators for justice

We do not want children to be killed, we want people to be able to mourn!
From the time when we took our first steps and put our hands on school desks, we loved this country! We loved the people of this country. We studied years and devoted our lives just to grow into people who are beneficial to this nation and country. We became doctors. We tried to provide the best solutions possible to the pain and problems of this nation’s people. When the citizens of this country were born, we had stood by them in the delivery rooms; we were also next to them when they were dying in their hospital beds. We worked for the people of this country day and night. We did not work to witness the killing of children by the government; we worked to witness the nurturing and healthy, happy growth of kids. We never imagined that children would be struck on the head by tear gas canisters fired by police when they were out to buy bread for their household, we never imagined that they would become so light like a bird and fly with their furrowed eye brows.*

The most fundamental necessity of life, as important as bread and water,is basic feeling of trust. Since the first moments of our lives, we want to be protected by our loved ones, mothers and fathers. While, it is not possible for our bodies to survive without bread and water, it is not possible for souls to live without the assurance of trust. As people of this country to whom will we trust, to whom will we lean upon if we know that fifteen year old kids are being killed by the hands of the father state?

Human beings are helpless and miserable in front of death. Human beings bury their children to the heart of the Earth together, cry together, have observance together and mourn together. This is the only way they can reduce this endless despair and sorrow and share this pain.

The death of children is most painful! Unexpected deaths are most painful! The tradition of mourning together dates back to the origins of being human. Mourning together makes people brethren, relatives, public and nation. As mental health specialists, we know that if people mourn, the sorrow for the death does not cause illness, does not give harm. However, if people cannot mourn after the death of their beloved ones, the pain in their heart burns in their heart, they can no longer eat, drink and work. They either isolate themselves from life or the anger eats at them from inside.

Having respect for people in sorrow is one of the earliest rules of humankind. Respect even for the death of your enemy! In history, we witness that the human race stopped fighting and let their enemy bury their dead. People who are brothers are being deprived from their right of mourning after the death of a 15 year old child. People who are mourning are attacked by pepper gas, riot control vehicles, plastic bullets and TOMA water cannons.

Conscience develops in the first years of human beings’ lives. Our conscience always tells us that we should not treat others badly; we should not violate other people’s rights. “Justice” is conscience. Whenever we have a feeling that the guilty will be punished, whenever we know that the consequence of bad behavior and cruelty will not be impunity, we feel secure and obey the laws. If and only if the state institutions guarantee justice, people’s conscience can be free from stress. We can live comfortably if we can trust justice.

We, The Psychiatric Association of Turkey, mental health specialists of this country, feel the deep pain after the death of fifteen year old child, Berkin Elvan: the people of this land share the grief of death with silence and nonviolence, they mourn together, today is the mourning day and we say

Stop, we don’t want our children to be killed

• Stop guns so that people can mourn
• Ensure justice so that people can trust their state

The Psychiatric Association of Turkey central administrative board

* Editor’s note: “The children becoming so light like birds and flying with their dark eye brows” is an iconic reference to the illustration of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, shot in the head with a gas canister and passed away after 269 days in coma. Most of the illustrations depicted Berkin’s eye brows as birds flying in freedom. (To see an example, please see ).

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