On March 31st, 2015 at around 12 o’clock, two militants of DHKC (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front) raided the Caglayan Courthouse in Istanbul and took hostage Mehmet Selim Kiraz, a public prosecutor of Berkin Elvan file. Berkin Elvan, who was shot by still unknown policemen during the June Uprising of 2013, had been murdered after staying in coma for almost one year. None of his murderes were revelead so far, however, despite all the attempts and demands from the family and popular democratic organizations.
Below is an interview conducted by Ahmet Şık, a journalist for Cumhuriyet newspaper, with the militants at around 16 o’clock, 3-4 hours ago before they were summarily executed by the SWAT teams. A twitter hashtag #BizDeSiziSeviyoruz (We love you too) became a Trending Topic in Twitter after the last Twitter post of the militants saying “Our people, we love you”.
Are you going to end your action? Can you tell me about the ongoing negotiations?
Through our Twitter account, we have posted the registration numbers of the policemen who came forward in the investigation file. According to the file, the Criminal Bureau of Security identified these three policemen among the 21 suspects. We have learned that these three police officers might be the ones who shot Berkin. The prosecutor already gave us this information. In the negotiations, we demand that the identities of these three police officers are disclosed on a live TV broadcast. The members of the negotiating delegation told us that it is 99% that Berkin was murdered by these policemen. Therefore we demand the disclosure of their names on a live TV broadcast. We examined the files here. We looked at the photographs of the suspected policemen. The photos of these three police men were framed in red according to the report by the Criminal Bureau. One has the initials G.T. with the serial number 35… We have also shared the registration numbers of the other policemen and we demand the disclosure of their names.
Do you think that your demand will be met?
The names of the perpetrators were known so far but were not disclosed. They will announce and will bring to the court after our attempt. The names of the murderers in Ali Ismail Korkmaz and Ethem Sarısülük cases were also known. But you see the results of the trials. Murderers are never given the necessary the punishment. That’s why we demand the murderers should stand trial in front of a popular court. And this is our second demand.
What would happen if the demands are not met?
Our demand is clear. Names should be disclosed on live TV broadcast. Negotiators should fulfill their commitments. Reveal the identities of the cops. And this officers should admit that they are guilty. We can negotiate other previously announced demands after this demand is met. If our demands are not met, we do what we said we would do. We provided the registration numbers of the police officers. We want the names are announced. We can end this after the names are revealed. Now we are making a final interview and we gave half an hour (at 19:40). If they do not confess their crimes on live broadcast, negotiations will end. Telephone communication will be terminated and we will punish the prosecutor.
Did you also demand the Police Chief and the Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor to make a statement at noon?
Yes, that statement was made in accordance with our demand. At the beginning we had given 3 hours. We managed to contact with the negotiation delegation just before the deadline. When the authorities promised that they will announce the murderers, we told them that the negotiations could continue if they do so. Then the Police Chief and Deputy Chief Prosecutor made a live statement. We extended the time. There would be no extension if no statements were made.
There are some rumors that you used an attorney ID to enter into the building and that one of you is a lawyer. How did you get in the courthouse with weapons?
We will make no explanations regarding how we got in there. It will be revealed in time, that’s for sure. At that moment, however, we will make no statements. Such rumors target the attorneys. On the other hand, the attorneys are already on target. Attorneys were targeted many times in this country. They were imprisoned and even killed just because they were defending their clients. In this country anyone who is against AKP and the establishment is a target already. We are not attorneys but DHKC fighters. We have decided to make this action and we tried all kinds of methods for it. We were forced to take this course of action.
Will an armed action bring justice?
Revolutionaries have made every effort to ensure justice in this country. So far, lots of attempts have been made. Revolutionaries rallied, attorneys pushed for it. But they have arrested the activists instead of the murderers. Investigations were launched against them. They were tortured. The justice only shows up when the interests of the establishment is at stake and it arrests those who demand real justice. We are here to bring justice. The methods we use and our action are legitimate.
You say that you are going to kill the prosecutor if your demands are not met. Is this legitimate?
We’re trying to see that this does not happen. It is up to them to meet our demands and save the prosecutor. They are their prosecutor and their policemen. Those prosecutors and police officers that protect their establishment. If they want them unharmed, they should meet our demands. We don’t think that the establishment values its own people. They are used, wasted and disposed of. Anyway, rest is their concern. We won’t make any negotiations beyond that point.
How about the health status of the prosecutor? Can I talk with him?
You can not talk to him. But he is in a good health condition. He has already spoken to another prosecutor colleague of his and to another police officer. He also said that he was okay.
Have you had any discussions with the prosecutor? There are some news reports claiming that he made some effort to find the perpetrators of Berkin Elvan case?
Yes, we talked to him. Prosecutors is trying to defend himself. When you check the file, however, you only see the applications of the lawyers. You do not see an effort from the prosecutor to advance the investigation. We know the progress of the file so far. So far, prosecutors did not even touch it. Attorneys and families looked for the CCTV images. Revolutionaries made numberless rallies for it. They were taken into custody. They were tortured. And arrested. There is not even a single step in this file taken by the prosecutor. It is also obvious from the similar cases that the judiciary does nothing. What they do is they protect the state and their criminals. And here it is the public prosecutor who is responsible from keeping the policemen unpunished.
We also told him so.
Large sections of the society reacted against the murder of Berkin Elvan already. Hundreds of thousands people revolted against this injustice. Don’t you think that your action undermines this legitimate basis?
Berkin Elvan was an ordinary person, but he was our child. We knew Berkin. Personally, we knew him from the neighborhood. We have raised Berkin. He was our beloved, brother and comrade. It is not that millions of people came to his funeral by themselves alone. Revolutionaries rallied for 360 days to point out the injustice and to form a public opinion. There were lots of martyrs during the June Uprising but none of them had such a funeral. Of course, it was important that Berkin was a child, but that much people gathered for Berkin thanks to the demands of justice. As we said at the beginning, we decided to take this action because so far everything has been made. We used the democratic channels to force some steps. But since the justice is not done, we said that our barrels will bring justice. Our ideology is our legimitacy.