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    "Someone Gave Us the Flag and Told Us to Burn It"

    Hürriyet Haber
    30.03.2005 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme: 30.03.2005 - 00:01

    According to statements made to police and lawyers in the Mersin flag-burning case, the children suspected of burning the Turkish flag during Nehruz celebrations were "given the flags by a man who ordered them to burn the flags."The children, identified only as 12 year old C.S., 14 year old V.S., 12 year old M.A., 16 year old S.T., 13 year old F.B., and 18 year old E.B., are being tried on charges that would result in anywhere from 6 to 13 years in prison.  Pictured in newspapers with the flag on the day of the event, 12 year old C.S. said that he was returning from Nehvruz celebrations with his cousin V. when they encountered a group shouting slogans in support of imprisoned former PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. According to C.S.'s testimony, the two joined the group and began shouting the slogans. "While we were walking and shouting the slogans, a man we didn't know came out from a teahouse and gave us a Turkish flag and told us to throw it to the ground. At first I didn't want to do it, but he insisted. So I threw it to the ground, and then gave it to the man. Next, my cousin V. and M. took the same flag and stomped on it on the ground."  Not Able to Burn the Flag Suspect F.B. explained his friends C. and V.'s attempt to burn the Turkish flag like this: "While they were walking with the demonstration, a man came out of a shop with a Turkish flag and commanded them to burn it. They tried to light it on fire at first, but when their attempts to burn it didn't work, they threw it on the ground and trampled it instead."  Suit Identified A man identified as "Z.O." came forward to the state prosecutor's office in Mersin, acknowledging that the brown suit caught on videotapes of the flag burning events on March 20th was his, but that his actions has been innocent. According to Z.O., on seeing the attempts to burn and trample the flag, he had intervened to try and prevent this from happening. Z.O. was later released without charges.
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