Berkin Elvan was only 14 years old when he was hit in the head by a tear-gas canister fired by a police officer during anti-government protests in Istanbul in June 2013.
He was on his way to a bakery to buy some bread for breakfast. He died 269 days later, on 11 March 2014, at the Okmeydanı Training and Research Hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
The investigation into Berkin’s murder was completed on 7 December 2016. However, of those present at the scene of the crime, only a single police officer has been charged.
Lawyers say that the footage from the day Berkin was hit in the head was enough to prosecute someone for wilful killing, but this has not happened and the officer has been charged with “killing with probable intent” rather than”wilful killing”. The lesser charge carries a reduced penalty of 20 years imprisonment.
Eight years have passed but the case still continues and his family continues to struggle for justice.
“The government is controlled by a single man, the courtroom is controlled by a single man: I believe that the decisions are made by the words of a single man”, said Berkin’s father Sami Elvan. He continues to struggle for justice for his son in the hope that Turkey will change one day.
“I believe that these cases will be heard again and the criminals will be tried when a democratic administration comes into power.”
He also believes that Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and businessman Osman Kavala are behind bars for no reason. “I believe there will be fair trials in the future and the perpetrators will be punished,” he said.