Remembering slain Turkish prosecutor on first anniversary

Turkey commemorates first anniversary of death of public prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, remembering his legacy in path of justice

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Thousands attend commemoration of death of slain Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz on March, 31, 2016.

Updated Apr 11, 2016

It was one year ago today when gunshots were heard from the room of a Turkish prosecutor who was working day and night on the case of the death of a Turkish teenage according to his family.

On March 31 last year, gunmen from the armed radical leftist group DHKP-C entered a courthouse near the central Istanbul district of Mecidiyekoy, disguised as lawyers wearing robes.

The prosecutor Kiraz was seriously injured and later died in hospital after being taken hostage in his room.

The attack deeply saddened the majority of the country.

His death disappointed not only justice in Turkey but also justice seekers in the country since Kiraz was well known as protector of those who are exposed to injustice.

On the evening of the attack, Mehmet Kiraz was investigating the killing of Berkin Elvan, the 14-year-old boy who was injured during the Gezi Park protests after spending 269 days in a coma.

Ironically, his murderers had demanded confessions from the police officers who allegedly shot Elvan that they were guilty of murder and made other demands. The three DHKP-C gunmen fired their guns in the middle of the so-called negotiations which were later revealed as being aimed at gaining extra time.

The Marxist-Leninist group has carried out a number of attacks and assassinations in Turkey. The group was placed on the US and EU's terror lists after conducting terror attacks on foreign consulates and embassies in the country.

The group took responsibility for a suicide bombing which targeted the US embassy in Ankara on Feb 1., 2013, which killed one guard and injured multiple American staff members.

Special police units stormed the prosecutor's office after hearing the gunshots and found Kiraz lying next to his desk where he used to sit with his coffee and court files.

All three attackers were killed at the scene and the heavily injured Kiraz was taken to hospital. But Kiraz, who had been a prosecutor for 14 years, did not survive.

Kiraz left two children behind - one daughter and one boy who might follow his father’s path into justice.

Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was commemorated in the first anniversary of his killing on Thursday by his colleagues at the Istanbul Palace of Justice.

Today his legacy is being memorialised in a number of justice institutions, including the courthouse where he was murdered, in the campus to which his name was given - Martyr Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz Campus.

His friends decorated his room with flowers and many people throughout the country have given speeches.

But one - Justice Minister Mehmet Bozdag - stands out as the most significant, giving a crystal clear message:

"Those who attempt to hold hostage, format, modify or transform the independence and future of our people and state with the bloody and dirty method of terror and terror organisations will never succeed."

Author: Tuncay Sahin