Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blog #7: Turkish Prosecutor Dies After Being Taken Hostage

A shooting took place in Istanbul that ended with the deaths of a Turkish prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, as well as the two gunmen who took him hostage. Apparently, Mehmet Selim Kiraz was taken hostage because he had headed an inquiry into the death of a boy, named Berkin Elvan, during anti-government protests in 2013. A statement posted online said that the prosecutor would be killed if their demands were not met. The gunmen released pictures of the prosecutor with guns held to his head, then live TV coverage of the hostage was banned for security reasons. Police negotiated with the gunmen for six hours, but stormed the courthouse after gunshots were heard coming from the prosecutor’s office. The two gunmen died during the operation but Mr. Kiraz was badly wounded and later died from his injuries. According to the Turkish prime minister, the gunmen had posed as lawyers in order to enter the courthouse. A lawyer said that the gunmen demanded that the police tell them the names of four security services members who were connected to the death of Berkin Elvan. Suspected members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Part-Front (DHKP-C) took the prosecutor hostage, who were seeking to avenge the boy’s death. Turkey, the European Union, and the US considers the DHKP-C a terrorist group. The group is responsible for a suicide bombing in February of 2013.

The two gunmen entered the courthouse with no problem. This brings up questions as to how the two managed to get past security at a main courthouse in Istanbul. Also, the whole reason behind the hostage crisis was the death of 14 year old Berkin Elvan, who went out to buy some bread and then spent nine months in a coma before dying after being hit by a tear gas canister thrown by police. So far, no one has been charged for the death of the boy. This also brings up questions on police brutality. A possible outcome of this situation should be increased security and more consequences for police officers, or, they should actually charged for the crimes they commit, in order to avoid situations like these.

Bethany Shaffer
9:21 p.m.

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