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Funeral Of Turkish Prosecutor Draws Large Crowd In Istanbul

The body of the Turkish prosecutor who on Tuesday was taken hostage by Marxist rebels and subsequently killed in a shootout, was laid to rest in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Originally posted on
Updated on

The body of Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was laid to rest in Istanbul on Wednesday. The funeral drew a large crowd in Turkey's largest city.

Ozan Kose / Getty Images

People stand in Istanbul near the coffin of senior Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz.

Kiraz, who was taken hostage at gunpoint by members of the Marxist revolutionary group DHKP-C earlier on Tuesday, was killed in a shootout between police and the gunmen.

On Wednesday, police detained at least 19 members of the group, the BBC reported.

Update — 4:15 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz died due to injuries sustained while he was taken hostage at gunpoint on Tuesday.

#BREAKING Hospital officials:We have lost Prosecutor Kiraz at 21:55. He was deceased by the time he had arrived.


Turkeys Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed Kiraz's death on Twitter.

The prosecutor was severely wounded when security forces launched a rescue operation after hearing gunshots from the room where he was being held hostage by two masked gunmen.

Istanbul Commissioner Selami Altinok said that two gunmen were killed and prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz severely wounded when security forces launched a rescue operation hours after he was taken hostage on Tuesday.

Security forces broke into the room to rescue Kiraz after hearing gunshots from the office where he was being held hostage at gunpoint.

In a statement, Altinok said:

Our prosecutor Mehmet Selim is currently in the hospital, severely wounded. The two terrorists have been killed. Even though we've used all methods of communication, even though we've had good intentions, we were unable to get a positive result and they have attacked our prosecutor with their guns. And so we have done the operation. Our prosecutor is in surgery at the hospital. I hope he gets well soon.

Legal action is also going to be taken against the protestor terrorists. I wish health to our prosecutor. I want to particularly stress that no one can defeat the Turkish Republic State. If anybody attacks our state's prosecutor, or any state employees, our security forces will break that hand.

Mehmet Selim Kiraz, a Turkish prosecutor in charge of the case of murdered teenager Berkin Elvan, was taken hostage at gunpoint on Tuesday, according to local media reports.

Berkin Elvan davasına bakan savcı Mehmet Selim Kiraz adliyede rehin alındı

Special forces agents made their way into the courthouse where the prosecutor is being held hostage, Reuters reported:

The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) published a picture of the prosecutor with a gun to his head. The prosecutor is leading an investigation into the death last year of a teenager wounded during anti-government protests.

DHKP-C is a leftist terrorist group that was active in the 1980s and 1990s but has been dormant until the last several years. It took responsibility for bombing the U.S. embassy in Ankara in 2013.

The group plays a part in the protests against police that are ongoing in some poor neighborhoods that are DHKP-C strongholds in Istanbul.

Berkan Elvan, 15, was killed in March last year while walking home through a protest. He was critically injured after being hit by a police officer's tear-gas canister. Elvan, who was from a DHKP-C neighborhood, died after 269 days in a coma.

he negotiations between the DHKP-C protestors, who took the Istanbul Republic Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage in his room in the Caglayan Courthouse's 6th floor, and the police are ongoing.

According to local media reports, three hostage takers entered Kiraz's room and took him hostage after making his secretary leave. They put signs and posters of Elvan in Kiraz's room and circulated the photo of the prosecutor with a gun to his head on social media.


Negotiations are underway with the DHKP-C, police said.

#BREAKING Istanbul police chief says negotations underway with hostage takers at court house #Turkey

The hostage taker leading the negotiations with the police is being referred to as "Berkin" as per his wishes, T24 reported.

"If our demands aren't met, we will punish the prosecutor, we will not surrender," the hostage takers said in a statement, T24 reported.

In a statement to the Med Nuçe channel, the hostage takers demanded the police to release the names of the officers involved in Elvan's killing.

"We said everything we wanted to say, it is now up to them to decide what to do. First, we want the names (of the police officers) to be released, then the guilty ones need to stand trial in a public court in a place like Taksim. If our demands aren't met, we will punish the prosecutor, we will not surrender, we will become martyrs if need be."

In an earlier recorded message on YouTube, the hostage takers had warned that they would kill the prosecutor unless their demands were met.

In the wake of Elvan's death last year, thousands took to the streets of Ankara to protest against police brutality.

Adem Altan / Getty Images

Anti-government protesters march carrying portraits of late teenager Berkin Elvan in Ankara on March 14, 2014.


The group of gunmen have threatened to kill Kiraz if the police officer who killed Elvan is not arrested. The group has given Turkish officials until around 15:35 p.m. local time (around 8:35 a.m. ET) for their demands to be met, Al Jazeera reported.

Turkey has imposed a media blackout on the hostage situation, CNN Turk reported.

Turkish special forces enter courthouse after prosecutor takn hostage–@Reuters (Photo: @HDNER)

Elvan's father has pleaded with the gunmen for the safe release of Kiraz.

"My son is dead, I don't want any others to die. Let him go." - father of Berkin Elvan calls for prosecutor's release

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. Thumbnail image by T24.

Alp Ozcelik contributed to the report.

Felipe Araujo is the overnight homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Mike Giglio is a correspondent for BuzzFeed News based in Istanbul. He has reported on the wars in Syria and Ukraine and unrest around the Middle East. His secure PGP fingerprint is DD2D D9F4 F1B5 204B 8069 3056 D916 4D69 9ED6 04D5

Contact Mike Giglio at

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at

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