Turkey unrest: Police investigated over demonstrator's death

Ethem Sarisuluk was declared brain dead after being shot in the head with a live bullet during a violent police crackdown in Ankara

Istanbul

Turkish authorities are investigating the death of a demonstrator who was shot during anti-government protests.

Ethem Sarisuluk was declared brain dead in hospital after being shot in the head during a violent police crackdown on protesters in the Turkish capital, Ankara, two weeks ago.

There has been international condemnation of the brutal police tactics against the protesters. At least four people have died so far. But unlike others who died of injuries related to tear gas and a traffic accident, Mr Sarisuluk, 27, was killed with a l live 9mm bullet to the head, according to preliminary autopsy findings.

There was widespread anger in Turkey when police initially failed to respond to a request from prosecutors investigating the case for the name of the officer concerned, despite dramatic video footage which appears to show him firing a handgun at a group of unarmed protesters, including Sarisuluk, at close range.

The police officer’s name has now been handed over to investigators, together with his handgun, according to a report in Hurriyet newspaper, which identified the officer only as AS.

The police’s apparent initial reluctance to cooperate had fuelled suspicions they were being allowed to use violence against protesters with impunity.

The footage shows the officer, whose identity number can be clearly seen, putting down his riot shield and running towards a protester, who he then kicks repeatedly. Finding himself confronting a group of demonstrators, the policeman draws his handgun, waves it and appears to fire three times in the air, before Sarisuluk falls. A preliminary autopsy found the protester was hit in the head by a 9mm bullet.

Protests have quietened in the last two days. Demonstrators have turned to the new tactic of standing still and silent in public places, emulating a man who stood in Takism Sqare for eight hours, but their numbers have been smaller, and in what appeared to be an attempt to defuse the tension, the Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc - who earlier threatened to send the army onto the streets - said the government welcomed what have become known as the “Standing Man” protests.

But, in a sign the government is preparing for further clashes, Turkish police are to order 100,000 new tear gas cartridges, and 60 new water cannon vehicles, according to Millityet newspaper. Police have already used 130,000 tear gas cartridges in just 20 days, according to the report.

Another Turkish newspaper, Takvim, has been widely condemned after it ran a fake “interview” with the CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour as its front page story, in which it claimed she had “confessed” the American network had distorted its coverage of the protests in order to destabilise Turkey for international business interests.

The paper carried a small disclaimer in which it tried to claim that while the interview was fake, its “revelations” were based on truth. “This interview is not real, but what you will read here is real,” it said.

Ms Amanpour reacted angrily, tweeting “Shame on you” to the newspaper. Its allegations, while bizarre, are typical of the strange paranoia which appears to be gripping the Turkish government and its supporters. The Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has variously accused Israel, unspecified foreign governments, and some shadowy group he calls the “interest rate lobby” of being behind the mass protests against him.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert