Tahir Elçi, a celebrated human rights lawyer and activist promoting peace, was killed in Diyarbakir after a gun battle between the police and unidentified shooters.
He was issuing a press statement, calling out for an end to violence between the Turkish state and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) when he was shot dead. He was 49 years old.
Masses gathered after hearing the news of his death in Istanbul by organising a vigil at Istiklal Street.
It can be said that the vigil happened spontaneously as over the years Istiklal Street became the main venue to protest injustice.
His death incited anger as he was an advocate for peace and reconciliation.
Almost everyone who knew him stated that “he was a good man that helped everyone around him.”
The protestors held photos of Elci and stayed in silence to commemorate him, then chanted slogans to express their outrage.
The following slogans were chanted: “Murderer State”, “You can’t kill us all”, “Şehîd Namirin” which means martyrs never die in Kurdish.
The police tried to disperse the crowd by driving armoured vehicles towards them and fired water cannons.
Yet the crowds remained.
It was a sad day for peace in Turkey.
It was a sad day.