WORLDPOST
06/05/2013 12:51 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2013

Turkish Protester Ethem Sarısülük Is Dead, Family Says [UPDATED]

Update June 17, 2013: Ethem Sarısülük's family says he is dead, according to The Hurriyet Daily News and The Telegraph.

Update June 11, 2013: Following a June 5 report by the Turkish Medical Association that protester Ethem Sarısülük had died, the organization is now saying that Sarısülük is in fact brain dead, but is being kept alive "connected to machines," according to an updated post in the Hurriyet Daily News.

Previously:
Turkish demonstrator Ethem Sarısülük has died after suffering a head wound during protests in Ankara, a spokesman for the Turkish Medical Association said during a press conference Wednesday, according to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News.

Sarısülük is the third person to die in six days of violent protests that began in Istanbul and have spread throughout Turkey. The other two were Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, 20, who was reportedly run over in Istanbul's Umraniye neighborhood on Sunday, and Abdullah Cömert, 22, who was reportedly killed in the southern border town of Antakya during clashes with police, per Hurriyet.

Cömert's death has been the source of much controversy. The governor's office in Hatay province, where Cömert died, initially said Cömert had been shot. Hatay's chief prosecutor's office, however, said an autopsy showed a blow to the head, not a gunshot wound, killed Cömert, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Multiple reports say Cömert was a member of the youth wing of the opposition Republican People's Party.

The clashes in Turkey began on the morning of May 31, when police raided a peaceful protest in Istanbul's Taksim Square, aggressively using tear gas and water cannons to disperse activists who were protesting the uprooting of trees in Gezi Park, the last green area in the city's center.

As of June 5, more than 4,100 have been injured, and 43 remain in critical condition, the Turkish Medical Association said in a statement released to media.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the protests on "fringe extremists," but Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc struck a more conciliatory tone after Erdogan left the country Monday for trip to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Arinc apologized for the use of excessive police force on demonstrators, calling it "unfair," the Telegraph reported Tuesday.

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