Further information on deaths in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı district


Public Statement, 27 May 2014, AI Index: EUR 44/012/2014

Turkey: Further information on deaths in Istanbul’s Okmeydani district

Amnesty International renews its call on the authorities to conduct prompt, effective, and impartial investigations into the full circumstances of two deaths in Istanbul’s Okmeydani district.

Both deaths occurred following clashes between youths and police on 22 May.

Ugur Kurt died after he was shot in the head while attending a funeral at the Cemevi (Alevi place of worship) in Okmeydani at around 11.30 in the morning. The autopsy report confirms the bullet wound, and the recovery of a bullet, “probably” a 9mm. The findings are consistent with the account that he was hit by a bullet fired by police.

The circumstances of the death of a second individual, who was later identified as Ayhan Yilmaz, are far less clear. Ayhan Yilmaz died on 23 May after sustaining injuries the previous evening at the scene of clashes between members of the public and police in the Okmeydani district. Subsequent reports that the injury was caused by shrapnel are not consistent with an injury caused by a tear gas canister as initially reported. Following the deaths further violent clashes took place in the district. Amnesty International calls on the authorities to ensure that any subsequent use of force by law enforcement officials adheres strictly to the principles of necessity and proportionality set out in international human rights standards. Amnesty International also urges demonstrators not to engage in acts of violence.