Teen's Death Reignites Turkish Anti-Government Protests

Thousands took to the streets after the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died from injuries sustained in anti-government protests last year.
Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 11, 2014

New protests erupted in Turkey Tuesday after a 15-year-old boy, who was wounded and went into a coma during last year's anti-government protests, died from his injuries. 

"The boy named Berkin Elvan passed away in a hospital after being in a medically induced coma for nine months. And now, you see the reaction here." (Via CNN)

Demonstrators carried Elvan's coffin through the streets of Istanbul following his death. The Guardian reports Elvan was on his way to buy bread last June when he was hit in the head with a tear gas cartridge fired by police. 

Tuesday, thousands took to the streets in Turkey's two major cities, Istanbul and Ankara, where police met them with water cannons and tear gas. (Via BBC)

The original protests last summer were small, dealing with development plans in Istanbul's Gezi Park. But after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a heavy-handed crackdown on the demonstrations, more and more people began protesting Erdogan himself.

According to The New York Times, the prime minister has been implicated in a corruption scandal in which he was heard on leaked phone conversations talking about shady financial dealings. Erdogan claimed the investigation into his inner circle is because of his former political ally and U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. 

In response to the leaked conversations, Erdogan has sought to ban YouTube and Facebook in Turkey, saying those social networking sites were tools used by his political opponents. (Via The Wall Street Journal)

CNN reports Turkish voters will head to the polls March 30 for municipal elections, but many suspect Erdogan's party, the AKP, will get a comfortable win. Meanwhile, activists have called for silent funeral protests for Elvan to take place across the country.