Approximately 40 children arrested after protests in Ankara

Photo:  Approximately 40 children arrested after protests in Ankara  / Turkey

Some 36 children were arrested during protests in Ankara on March 12, the day when mourners buried a teenager who succumbed to his injuries sustained from the protests last June Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The children were interrogated by a prosecutor a day after being arrested. Following the interrogation by the prosecutor from the Juvenile Crimes Investigation Unit working under the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office, they were released on the same day, Anadolu Agency reported.

Riot police clashed with anti-government protesters in Ankara, likewise in other cities of Turkey, following the funeral of the teenager on March 12. Berkin Elvan, 15, had been in a coma since a police tear gas canister struck him in the head last year.

A general investigation into protests in the capital city of Ankara has also been launched by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office, the agency said. Earlier, an investigation was launched into protests that took place on March 11, the day when Elvan died.

The new investigation will be based on crimes, such as opposing the Law on Meetings and Demonstration Marches, resisting the police, and damaging public property.

Meanwhile, a main opposition party deputy stated that almost 200 children have lost their lives during conflicting situations in Turkey since 2002, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) first came to power.

"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has no right to do politics by playing the victim. Since 2002, 184 children have lost their lives during the incidents that have erupted," Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu was quoted as saying late on March 12 during a visit to Siirt.

Tanrıkulu's aides told the Hurriyet Daily News on March 13 that his statement was based on reports by human rights organizations.

In Siirt, Tanrıkulu also recalled the killing of 12-year-old Ugur Kaymaz in 2004. Late in February, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) fined Turkey a total of 143,000 euros in a case regarding the 2004 killings of Ahmet and Ugur Kaymaz.

Ahmet Kaymaz and his son, Ugur, were shot by the police while walking along a street in the southeastern province of Mardin's Kızıltepe district on Nov. 21, 2004.

The ECHR ruled that Turkey had breached "the right to life," the "prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment" and the "prohibition of discrimination" following the applications of Emine, Makbule and Resat Kaymaz, wife, mother and brother of Ahmet Kaymaz, respectively. They accused the police of deliberately killing their relatives and criticized the Turkish authorities for failing to conduct an effective investigation into the deaths.

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