ORHAN KEMAL – Their son was killed and now their foundation is on the hit list

Their son was killed and now their foundation is on the hit listSeven years ago, a 20-year-old youngster was shot dead in his fatherand#39s car in Izmir while he was allegedly trying to escape from the police.He was under the influence of alcohol and apparently trying to escape from the police with the hope of not being fined and to prevent his driving license from being taken.

How Baran Tursun was killed was disputed at the time. The police officer who shot him claimed that his gun went off accidentally and said that he had warned Baran to stop, which Baran did not do.

According to Baranand#39s friends who were in the car at the time of the incident, there was no warning to stop and the police officer fired after deliberately targeting Baran. Several bullet shells were found in the officersand#39 car and one bullet unfortunately struck Baran in the head.

He was in a coma for five to six days but eventually lost his life. The officer who killed him received a sentence of two years and one month and stayed quite a short time in prison.

Losing their son had a terrible effect on the Tursun family, as happens for all families who lose their children. The Tursun family, however, turned their pain into a humanitarian effort and they decided to start a foundation in the name of their killed son.

The Baran Tursun Foundation, which was established two years after his killing, aimed at documenting police killings and helping the victims.While they were trying to help others, they themselves continued to be victimized.

Berrin Tursun, the mother of Baran, was sued by the very police officer who killed Baran. He claimed that Ms Tursun had libeled him and, as a result of this defamation case, Ms Tursun was condemned to pay the court expenses, which she refused to do.

Her refusal led to an official confiscation order on their properties. Luckily their friends paid the court expenses and lifted the order and saved the family from the pain of paying something to their sonand#39s alleged killerAs if this was not enough, Baranand#39s father, Memhet Tursun, was given 11 months and 20 days in prison for insulting the police officerand#39s lawyer during the court trial.

None of these painful developments have deterred them from their way. During all these years their foundation has continued functioning.

While the so-called security bill — which would give the police authorization to open fire during demonstrations for so many reasons — was being discussed in Parliament, the Baran Tursun Foundation announced their report on extra-judicial killings by the police. The foundation said that 183 people have been killed in this manner since 2007 in Turkey.

Their findings have attracted a lot of attention and their arguments were carried to Parliament by the deputies of the opposition parties. It has become a common argument that if the police killed 183 people under the current laws then imagine what would happen with this new package the government is trying to introduce, which will empower the police to fire even at a person who uses a slingshot against the police.

Well, this information given by the Baran Tursun Foundation has not resulted in revising the draft law or softening the hearts of members of the government. It has certainly created a serious impact in a negative way.

The National Police Department sent a letter to the General Directorate for Foundations (VGM) and demanded that it close down the Baran Tursun Foundation, claiming that it turns the police force into a target.After losing their beloved son, they now face the risk of losing all the properties donated to the foundation.

If it goes unnoticed, it is certain that the foundation will be closed down. The government calls Turkey an andldquoaanced democracy.

andrdquo I think this term andldquoaanced democracyandrdquo is a kind of self-mocking attitude, a joke that ridicules Turkey. In this andldquoaanced democracyandrdquo it is now preparing to close down a foundation for documenting extra-judicial killings.

Turkeyand#39s backward journey to democracy continues at full speed.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman