Deputy PM: Okmeydani incidents upsetting'

Photo: Deputy PM: Okmeydani incidents upsetting' / Turkey

"The incidents after clashes between the police and demonstrators in the Okmeydani district of Istanbul are upsetting," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Friday as he attended the opening ceremony of a historic mosque in Uskudar, Istanbul, Anadolu Agency reported.

Ugur Kurt, 30, died after being hit by a stray bullet in the head while attending a funeral procession in an Alevi prayer house, close to the scene of an earlier demonstration in the Okmeydani district.

A second, as yet unidentified, man died on Friday after sustaining injuries during clashes Thursday night between police and demonstrators. The man was allegedly injured by shrapnel from a pipe bomb which police said was hurled by protesters. Eight police officers were also wounded in the blast.

"The deaths are upsetting. But unfortunately, we can see that there were some 'murderers' who covered themselves with red masks, who carried guns and attempted to set police vehicles on fire," Arinc said.

The demonstrators were protesting the deadly coal mine disaster last week in Soma, western Turkey, as well as the death of an Istanbul teenager, Berkin Elvan, who was fatally injured during 2013's Gezi Park protests in Istanbul and who died in March 2014 after 269 days in a coma.

Arinc said they would fight against those who "want to burn the police alive." "The public needs peace and safety," he said, calling on people to assist security and police forces.

"We will definitely arrest those groups wearing the masks and carrying guns, and they will be brought to justice and punished," said Governor of Istanbul Huseyin Avni Mutlu, speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the Aziz Mahmud Hudayi mosque.

Mutlu said they would not heed those who "dreamed" about becoming more powerful than the state and the nation.

Governor Mutlu called on people to be responsive to such events, to watch carefully, and to avoid any acts of agitation.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the mosque after a thorough restoration work has been completed, Deputy PM Arinc underlined the nationwide grief at Soma disaster, which claimed 301 lives and is the worst mine accident in the history of the Republic of Turkey. Arinc offered condolences to the families of the victims, while congregants at the mosque for congregational Friday prayers also prayed for the victims.

The Turkish parliament has established an inquiry committee into the Soma tragedy.

Eight people, including Soma Mining Company owner Can Gurkan and general manager Ramazan Dogru, have been detained so far, while investigations into the disaster are ongoing. The eight are accused of negligence "leading to the reckless deaths of more than one person."

The inauguration ceremony included such notables as Adnan Ertem, general director for foundations, as well as Osman Nuri Topbas, a Muslim scholar and author.

Pointing to the significance of the restoration of the Aziz Mahmud Hudayi mosque, Arinc said, "Aziz Mahmud Hudayi was a Muslim scholar as well as a poet, composer, author, and statesman. He has an important role in the Muslim world and is known by everyone in Turkey. We are proud of completing the restoration of this sacred place, which has been visited by crowds from all across Turkey."

Born in the 16th century, Aziz Mahmud Hudayi died in Uskudar, Istanbul in 1628, and is buried next to the mosque which bears his name. Hudayi's prayer, written on a placard near the tomb, reads. "Those who visit us when we are alive and those who visit our grave after our death and read the Fatiha while passing by our tomb are ours. May those who love us not drown at sea, may they not suffer poverty in their old age and may they not pass away without saving their faith."

Follow us on Twitter @TRENDNewsAgency