Funeral march for Berkin Elvan

Posters around our university building invited us to leave together at two o’clock, to walk to Şişli Meydanı to await the hearse bearing the body of young Berkin Elvan. But for some reason the students left a bit early. Some faculty walked together.

It’s a ten-minute walk to Şişli square. Police had blocked a street that ran parallel to the main avenue that we expected to march along.

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We pass Şişli Meydanı every day; it lies equidistant between home and office.

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I had hoped to stay on the edge with some freedom of movement. I did not think the police would attack a funeral procession. Seven years before, the march for Hrant Dink had been unmolested. In fact we would not see any police violence ourselves on this day; but that is because we would hear about it and stay away.

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More and more people came, and we became more and more hemmed in. A band of men passed through with linked arms, making way for the hearse. I was pushed back into the people behind me.

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In the photo below, we were somewhere near the building corner on the lower left, at the edge of the gap made for the hearse. But I cannot say that I can make us out.

The hearse passed.

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We walked towards Taksim.

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Slogans were chanted, including Hırsız katil Erdoğan (“Thieving murdering Erdoğan”).

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Political parties were not much in evidence, though there was a band of comrades from the Turkish Communist Party, and this one Rainbow Flag. Earlier an enormous Turkish flag had occasionally brushed my head.

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I liked seeing this shop with signs in four alphabets and six languages. (I assume that, along with the Turkish, Russian, English, and Armenian, it is both Arabic and Persian that I see, though I can read neither one.) HDP is the Peoples’ Democratic Party, whose offices in Fethiye had been physically attacked three days before with the support of the local mayor, from a nationalist party.

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Now we neared the spot where Hrant Dink had been assassinated.

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Above the stone in the sidewalk where Hrant Dink’s body had lain, this banner said, “A child and bread are holy. We shall not forget you, Berkin.”

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Other marchers seemed to be continuing on to Taksim, but we heard the police were starting to attack there, so we turned off and passed the Armenian cemetery on the way to the Muslim cemetery where Berkin’s body would have been buried by now.

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But we did not go all the way to that cemetery.

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We went back to our department.

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In the office we heard that police attacks were blocking our normal route home.

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