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Farewell to Mustafa Koçak in Istanbul

Prisoner Mustafa Koçak, who died last night on the 297th day of his death fast, was bid farewell in Istanbul

28-year-old prisoner Mustafa Koçak died in a prison in the western Turkish province of İzmir on the 297th day of his death fast which demanded a fair trial.

Koçak was arrested in an operation that started with the statements of an informer in 2017. A court in Istanbul sentenced him to an aggravated life sentence plus 39 years imprisonment in a trial which resembled a theatre. He was convicted of procurement of weapons in the hostage taking of the Public Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, following the cover-up on the case of Berkin Elvan, 14-year-old killed by the Turkish police during Gezi Park demonstrations in the summer of 2013. The prosecutor was killed on 31 March 2015 under police fire during the raid to free him. The allegation that Koçak was a member of the “Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front” (DHKP-C) was based exclusively on the false statements of former DHKP-C member Berk Ercan, who hoped to obtain impunity by means of contradictory accusations. There was no evidence of Mustafa Koçak’s complicity in the hostage-taking case.

Because of the curfew in many Turkish cities since Wednesday due to the corona pandemic, only the closest family circle and a few friends were able to attend the funeral of Mustafa Koçak, who had lost not less than 30 kilograms. Before the funeral a mourning ceremony took place in the Alevi House of Prayer and Assembly (Cemevi) in the left-wing Gazi neighborhood in the district of Sultangazi. Among the participants were HDP deputies Züleyha Gülüm and Musa Piroğlu.

The police had sealed off the building hours before and besieged it to prevent people from entering. Several people who tried to say goodbye to Mustafa Koçak were fined for violating the Corona Ordinance. While the slogan “Mustafa Koçak is immortal” was chanted on the ground, people outside Cemevi replied: “The wrath of mothers will suffocate the murderers”. Mourning songs sung by Koçak’s mother and siblings made even those who seemed calm until that moment cry.

After the mourning ceremony, Koçak’s coffin, wrapped in a red flag, was taken to the Kıraç İstiklal cemetery in the Esenyurt district, where it will be buried according to the religious rituals. On the way there, however, the police repression continued, and the convoy of cars belonging to the family of the deceased was harassed by Turkish security forces in armored vehicles.

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