World Bulletin/News Desk
“If it was a coup attempt, then I was tasked to stop the coup attempt,” said a police officer on trial for brutally beating to death a suspect during the Gezi Park protests in June 2013.
The policeman gave this defense at the fifth hearing into the death of Ali Ismail Korkmaz, who died in intensive care after being severely beaten during the protests in a central Turkish city.
Police officer Mevlut Saldogan said the former prime minister, current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said that the Gezi Protests were a coup attempt, and if so it was his task to prevent it.
“I did what I had to do,” he said. “It is an insult to charge me with intentional homicide." Saldogan kicked Korkmaz three times, in the head and the chest, causing injuries that led to the 19-year old's death.
Saldogan said that on the day of the protests, he had returned from the country’s southeast with a loaded gun. If he had wanted to kill the protesting student, he could have used it.
The hearing, held on Wednesday at the 3rd High Criminal Court in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri, was suspended after the defense was presented.
Saldogan faces life in prison. Police officer Yalcin Akbulut also faces 16 years in prison on charges of willfully causing serious injury and death. Baker Ismail Koyuncu and his relative Ramazan Koyuncu risk 12 years on charges of willfully causing serious injury.
Ali Ismail Korkmaz's mother, Emel Korkmaz, who was also present at the trial, said she was proud of her son and hoped the suspects would face sentences.
Sahap Korkmaz, the father of the victim, said that reports showed Ali had been unarmed, and that he was running from a fire. "Medical reoprts show that all of them are responsible for Ali's death," he said.
The Gezi Park protests last summer began as a small environmental demonstration and grew into nationwide anti-government protests.
The protests erupted after the government moved in May to replace part of a leafy park at the heart of Istanbul with a mall.
The redevelopment plan for the construction of an Ottoman-era barracks on Gezi Park greenery became the cause of demonstrations that saw protesters clash with police in more than a dozen provinces and damage public and private property.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Kasım 2014, 16:53