Outrage spread from Turkey to across the Internet on Monday after Ahmet Şahbaz, the police officer who allegedly shot and killed Turkish protester Ethem Sarısülük, was freed by a Turkish court on self-defense grounds.
Sarısülük was killed earlier this month during protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
Viral video of an officer in riot gear shooting at protesters and then running away from the scene surfaced on Twitter. A body, later identified as Sarısülük’s, is then shown lying on the ground. In the video below, people wave flags indicating medical attention is needed.
On Twitter, the hashtag #KiralikKatilAHMETSAHBAZ trended worldwide Monday. Kiralik katil roughly translates to “goon.”
Continue Reading Below
The move to release Şahbaz was largely met with disgust on the social media website, where users posted tweets in solidarity with Sarısülük. The Turkish protester wasn't seen with any weapon when Şahbaz shot and killed him.
Twitter users started tweets relating to the topic with the phrase, “I am Ethem Sarisulik.”
#KiralıkKatilAHMETŞAHBAZ I am Ethem Sarisuluk.My killer is A.Sahbaz.He shot me in the head.All I wanted was freedom of speech and democracy.
â€” idealist çapulcu (@ulkukaymaz) June 24, 2013
I'M ETHEM SARISÜLÜK.THERE WAS NO GUN IN MY HAND. POLICE SHOT ME IN MY HEAD AND I DIED.THEY SET THE MURDERER FREE. #KiralıkkatilAHMETSAHBAZ
â€” yasemin (@diemamin) June 24, 2013
My name is Ethem Sarısülük. I was unarmed. Police shot me in the head and i dead. Today, they released my killer. #KiralıkKatilAHMETŞAHBAZ
â€” Selin Nigar Sinan (@SelinNigarSinan) June 24, 2013
My name is Ethem Sarısülük. I had no weapon. A police officer shot me & I died. Today, they released my killer. #KiralıkKatilAHMETŞAHBAZ""
â€” Malina (@Nergismalina) June 24, 2013
Sarısülük’s mother said Erdogan was to blame for her son’s death, accusing him of being behind the police’s behavior during the protests.
"Tayyip made brother kill brother," Safyi Sarısülük told the (U.K.) Telegraph. "I am not blaming the police. The police are also our children. But Tayyip gives the order."