Top Turkish court rules for retrial of police officer who killed Uğur Kurt

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has founds rights violation in the murder case of Uğur Kurt who was killed by a police officer in 2014 as he was attending a funeral in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı Cemevi. The top court ruled for a retrial of the police officer in question and ordered the state to pay compensation to Kurt’s wife.

Duvar English

On May 14, 2014, Uğur Kurt was killed by a bullet fired by a police officer as he was attending a funeral of his relative in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı Cemevi – an Alevi place of worship.

A small number of students were at the time in the Okmeydanı neighborhood to protest the murder of teenager Berkin Elvan during the 2013 Gezi Park protests. Riot police attempted to disperse the protestors using teargas and water cannon, chasing them down streets past the cemevi where the funeral Kurt was attending was taking place.

As Kurt was extending condolences to the family of his relative, he was hit by a bullet fired by the police officer Sezgin Korkmaz. He was dispatched to a hospital but lost his life there.   

During the three-year-long hearing process, the police officer Sezgin Korkmaz stood trial without arrest and was given 20 months in prison on charges of “involuntary manslaughter.” And this jail term was converted to 12,100 liras in administrative fine and further divided into installments. Kurt’s wife Narin Kurt took the case to the Constitutional Court on the grounds of violation of the right to life and lack of effective criminal investigation.

In its ruling, the Constitutional Court said that the administrative fine was not an adequate and deterrent measure in terms of preventing similar rights violations, according to reporting by the daily Evrensel.

The top court said that the Constitution’s 17th Article on the right to life had been violated. “It is understood that the (rights) violation stems from the public authorities’ actions. It has been ruled that the obligation to run an effective investigation process has been violated. Therefore, it should be said that the (rights) violation also stems from the authorized judiciary organs’ processes and actions,” the Constitutional Court said.  

The top court ordered the state to pay 90,000 liras in non-pecuniary damages to Kurt’s wife Narin Kurt and ruled for the case file to be sent back to the Istanbul 11th Heavy Penal Court for a retrial of the murder case.