Death of Berkin Elvan

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Berkin Elvan
Born(1999-01-05)5 January 1999
Died11 March 2014(2014-03-11) (aged 15)
Cause of deathFatally injured after hit by a police tear gas capsule
Resting placeFeriköy Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Sami Elvan (father)
  • Gülsüm Elvan (mother)

Berkin Elvan (5 January 1999 – 11 March 2014) was a 15-year-old KurdishTurkish[1] boy who was hit on the head by a tear-gas canister fired by a police officer in Istanbul[2] during the June 2013 anti-government protests in Turkey. He died on March 11, 2014.[3] Lawyers representing the family said Elvan's condition worsened over the last week of his life, with his weight dropping to 16 kg from 45 kg.[4][5][6] Widespread demonstrations erupted following Berkin's death.[7][8]

He was buried at the Feriköy Cemetery, Istanbul.


On the 16 June 2013, Berkin Elvan was in an area where the Gezi Park protests unfolded near his home in Okmeydanı, Istanbul. That day his mother wanted to go out and buy bread, but Berkin bravely said that the streets were too dangerous and because he was younger, he could run faster in case of an emergency. Thats when he was hit on the head by a tear gas canister[9] thrown by the police officer Fatih Dalgalı. However, in another report sent to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, it was stated that he was found to be carrying explosives when he was brought to the Okmeydanı Training and Research Hospital. He fell into coma and died after 269 days on the 11 March 2014.[10] His funeral was held in Istanbul on March 12 and attended by thousands of people.[11] He was buried at the Feriköy Cemetery, Istanbul.[12]

Investigation and trial[edit]

On 12 March 2014, four police officers testified for the ongoing investigation concerning the case of Berkin Elvan's injury during the Gezi protests. Overall, 18 police officers have testified as suspects under the investigation so far, including these four.[13] The prosecution evaluated the footage of the surveillance cameras for three years until they were able to identify and prosecute Dalgalı.[3] He was prosecuted for manslaughter on the 6 April 2017, but the court decided not to issue an arrest warrant for Dalgalı.[3] On 3 February 2020, the gendarmery issued a report mentioning that Elvan was partly to blame for his own death, since he was in an area of protests.[9] After two more hearings in 2021, Dalgali was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in prison, but the court abstained from ordering an arrest for Dalgali.[14]


Following Elvan's death, protests erupted throughout Turkey in Adana, Adıyaman, Antalya, Ankara,[15] Ardahan, Bursa, Bolu, Çorum Düzce, Edirne, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, Konya, Hatay, Malatya, Sivas, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Kayseri, Tunceli, Tokat, Zonguldak[16] and worldwide in cities such as Nuremberg,[17] London,[18] Paris, Vienna, Helsinki, Strasbourg,[19] Stockholm, New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bielefeld, Berlin, Brussels, The Hague, Dresden, Duisburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Lausanne, Lisbon, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Warsaw, Seattle, Pennsylvania, Toronto.[20]

Banner placed in Greece, in March 2014 at the place where Alexis Grigoropoulos got shot in Exarchia, Athens.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that the boy was a "member of a terrorist organization" as he had his face covered by a scarf.[21] Berkin was known to disagree with the governments actions.

In March 2014, Maoist rebels attacked a police station in Tunceli in revenge for Elvan's killing.[22][23]

On 31 March 2015, suspected members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage on the sixth floor of the Istanbul Çağlayan Justice Palace. They demanded that the police announce the names of four members of the security services who they said were connected to the death of Berkin Elvan. The police negotiated with the gunmen for six hours, but eventually stormed the courthouse "because of gunshots heard from inside the prosecutor's office". The two gunmen died during the operation, while the prosecutor was badly wounded and later died of his injuries.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Çocuk mezarlığında yaşıyormuşuz". Yeni Özgür Politika (in Turkish). 1 July 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Funeral of Turkish boy Berkin Elvan brings thousands to Istanbul streets | World news |". Archived from the original on 2020-02-04. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  3. ^ a b c "No justice yet for 14-year-old Berkin Elvan killed by police in 2013". Ahval. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  4. ^ "BBC News - Grief breaks out as Turkish boy dies in coma". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  5. ^ "Turkey: Berkin Elvan, 15, hurt in Istanbul clashes, dies after months in coma | euronews". 11 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  6. ^ "15-year-old Gezi victim Berkin Elvan dies after 269 days in coma - LOCAL". Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  7. ^ "BBC News - Turkey clashes after boy hurt at Istanbul protest dies". BBC News. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  8. ^ "Funeral of Turkish boy Berkin Elvan brings thousands to Istanbul streets". Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b English, Duvar (2020-03-02). "Gendarmerie report says Gezi protest victim Berkin Elvan 'partly to blame' for his own death". Archived from the original on 2020-08-13. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  10. ^ Germany, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Stuttgart. "Proteste in Istanbul: Istanbuler Trauermarsch schlägt in Gewalt um". (in German). Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  11. ^ "Funeral of Turkish boy Berkin Elvan brings thousands to Istanbul streets". The Guardian. 2014-03-12. Archived from the original on 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  12. ^ "Berkin Elvan Commemorated in 5th Year of His Death". Retrieved 2020-11-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Berkin Elvan protests continues!". Hürriyet. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Ruling in Berkin Elvan case: 16 years, 8 months in prison". Bianet. 18 June 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-06-24.
  15. ^ "Harsh intervention by the police to the "Berkin" protests in Ankara and İzmir". CNNTURK. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  16. ^ ""Berkin Elvan" protests throughout Turkey". Radikal. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  17. ^ ""Berkin Elvan" protests in Germany". DW. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Berkin Elvan protests in London". Londra Gazete. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Europe was in the streets for Belkin Elvan!". Portal SOL. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Berkin Elvan protests around the world". Hürriyet. 13 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  21. ^ (German)
  22. ^ TİKKO’dan Berkin Elvan için misilleme eylemi Archived January 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Gerilladan Berkin Elvan için misilleme eylemi
  24. ^ Bloody end to Turkey prosecutor hostage crisis

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