Turkey protests: clashes spread after funeral of teenager Berkin Elvan
The country's Prime Minister has accused the demonstrators of attempting to sway elections in May
Protests in Turkey over the death of a teenager who was hit by a police gas-canister continue, as the country’s leader accused demonstrators of attempting to create chaos and influence upcoming elections.
15-year-old Berkin Elvan died on Tuesday, nine months after being hit by a police tear gas canister during widespread anti-government protests and slipped into a coma. He was injured while walking to a bakery to buy bread and was not taking part in the protests.
On Wednesday, a 22-year-old man died and two others were wounded when violence broke as tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a funeral procession in Istanbul to remember Elvan, who has become a symbol of civilian resistance in Turkey.
The young man has since been named as Burak Can Karamanoglu, was shot in the head, according to a preliminary autopsy report cited by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
About 2,000 people converged in an Istanbul neighborhood to protest his death on Thursday.
Speaking at a rally in the southern city of Mersin ahead of elections on 30 March, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the protests, but acknowledged that the results will serve as a referendum on his rule.
“These people are fakes. They have nothing to do with democracy or freedom,” he said. “They foresee the result of the elections and think, 'Can we get results through chaos?”'
In the eastern city of Tunceli, the governor said a police officer died of a heart attack during clashes with anti-government protesters Wednesday. Officials denied reports that police tear gas caused the heart attack, insisting that the policeman had not been exposed to the gas.
The two deaths brought the toll from anti-government protests in Turkey since May to at least 10.
Additional reporting by AP
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