Police officer to be retried in the case of protest bystander shot dead during Gezi Park protests

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The Constitutional Court (AYM) decision was announced in the case of Uğur Kurt who was killed by a police bullet while waiting for the funeral ceremony of his relative in the Okmeydanı Djemevi in 2014, an event that coincided with the Gezi Park protests.

The supreme court ruled that the sentence given to the police officer by the first-degree court, which was 12 thousand lira of penalty to be paid in 12 installments, was “not explainable.”

AYM also stated in its ruling yesterday (March 23) that the defense by the Ministry of Justice was not rightful and judged that the police officer should be re-tried.

Happened during Gezi Park protests

On May 14, 2014, while the Gezi Park demonstrations were ongoing, police intervened in the protests taking place in Okmeydanı protesting the shooting of Berkin Elvan (15) in his head with a tear gas canister. Berkin Elvan died later after staying in a hospital in coma for months.

Uğur Kurt, who was at the Okmeydanı Djemevi in order to attend a funeral ceremony was shot in his head with a bullet from a police officer’s gun and immediately lost his life there.

Police officer Sezgin Kormaz stood trial for three years without being arrested. The prosecutor had requested a minimum of 16 years of imprisonment for “murder with eventual intent.” However, the court ruled for 1 year and 8 months of imprisonment for “reckless killing” which was then turned into a cash fine of 12 thousand and 100 lira.

Uğur Kurt’s wife Narin Kurt applied to the Constitutional Court on the grounds of violation of the right to life and not carrying out an effective investigation.

AYM did not find “sentence” deterrent

AYM has examined the case file and concluded that the prison sentence, and the cash fine it was turned into, given to the officer whose use of gun is considered as having resulted in the death of the victim, was not an appropriate or sufficient sanction to prevent similar rights violations, and for protecting the lives of people.

The Constitutional Court stated that “it is understood that the violation has resulted from the acts of public officers,” and that “the obligation to carry out an effective investigation which the right to life necessitates was violated.”

AYM, therefore, ruled for a retrial to take place.

“Not even necessary to explain”

The supreme court stated that turning the prison sentence for the police officer into a cash fine would not be a deterrent in similar events, and added that “it is not even necessary to explain that giving the opportunity to pay the cash fine in installments is something that is not worth any further evaluation.”


The supreme court has ruled that the right to life secured with article 17 of the Constitution was violated and that the case file should be sent to İstanbul 11th Heavy Penal Court for retrial.

The ruling also includes that a 90 thousand lira of compensation should be paid to Kurt’s wife Narin Kurt. (HA/PE)


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