Boy killed in clashes with Turkish police in latest protest-related child death

Photo: Boy killed in clashes with Turkish police in latest protest-related child death / Turkey

A 15-year-old child was killed in Adana late on June 15 as police clashed with demonstrators protesting the deaths of two people earlier this month in battles between soldiers and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) sympathizers in Diyarbakir Hurriyet Daily News reported.

İbrahim Aras was killed in the southern province's Seyhan district in the evening amid the conflict between security services and around 200 protesters, according to daily Hürriyet.

There were conflicting reports as to the cause of death, with some eyewitnesses claiming Aras was killed when an explosive he was about to throw detonated in his hand. Others, however, reported that Aras was killed when police fired a tear gas canister at his head during a battle in which officers resorted to gas and pressurized water against protesters, who responded with rocks and other projectiles.

Police have killed several people in the past year after striking them with tear gas canisters, most notably 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died March 11 after spending 269 days in a coma caused by trauma to the head from a canister fired during last year's Gezi protests.

Adana Police Chief Cengiz Zeybek did not elaborate on the cause of death when questioned by reporters.

Police sought to quickly remove Aras' body, but were prevented from doing so by residents, who demanded that a prosecutor first inspect the scene of the killing.

Before Aras' death, Zeybek convened an impromptu meeting with some of the protesters, informing them that their protest was illegal and demanding that they disperse. When one of the emissaries criticized the police for their conduct, Zeybek said, "Is the state going to ask you how to do its job?"

One eyewitness who provided testimony to the prosecutor said she had reacted to police, saying "You're killing people here," prompting an officer to laugh, saying, "We're hunting birds" before departing the scene.

Ramazan Baran, 24, and Abdulbaki Akdemir, 50, died on June 7 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir's Lice district during a clash between soldiers and PKK sympathizers infuriated at the state's continued construction of police stations throughout the region, touching off a series of protests around the country.

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