Turkish teen injured in protest dies

15-year-old bystander slipped into a coma after being hit in the head last year with a tear gas canister.

Last updated: 11 Mar 2014 09:49
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Berkin was hit by a tear gas canister during mass anti-government protests last year [AP]

A teenager who fell into a coma after being hit by a tear gas canister during mass anti-government protests in Turkey last year has died at an Istanbul hospital, his family said.

"We lost our son Berkin Elvan at 0700 [0500 GMT]. May he rest in peace," his family wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Fifteen-year-old Berkin was walking to buy bread for his family on June 16, when he got hit in the head by a suspected police tear gas canister, as mass anti-government protests began to sweep Istanbul that month.

Berkin's story, as he spent 269 days in a coma, gripped the nation and became a symbol of the heavy-handed tactics used by police to reign in the biggest demonstrations that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had faced since coming to power in 2003.

The protests started as a small environmentalist movement to save an Istanbul park from being razed, but snowballed into a nationwide wave of protests against Erdogan, who critics say had become increasingly authoritarian.

Berkin's death brought the toll from the unrest to at least eight including a policeman.

The protests saw an estimated 2.5 million people take to the streets across Turkey over three weeks to demand Erdogan's resignation. More than 8,000 people were injured in the demonstrations, according to the medics.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.