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Thousands mourn man killed amid clashes in Turkey

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Story highlights

  • The death of Burak Can Karamanoglu follows Tuesday death of Berkin Elvan, 15
  • It is not clear which groups were involved in a fight that led to Karamanoglu's death
  • Berkin died nine months after he was wounded, apparently by a police tear gas canister
  • Berkin's father lashes out at Turkey's PM; Karamanoglu's father criticizes boy's mourners

Thousands of mourners gathered Thursday for the second mass funeral in two days after a 22-year-old Turkish man died from a gunshot wound.

Crowds carrying Turkish flags escorted the coffin of Burak Can Karamanoglu through the streets of Istanbul. His death Wednesday increased tensions in a country riven by deep political polarization in the run-up to municipal elections scheduled to take place nationwide on March 30.

The Istanbul governor's office issued a statement explaining that Wednesday night, Karamanoglu "lost his life as a result of a verbal argument between two groups that escalated into a fight where a gun was used."

Two other men received gunshot wounds, the governor's office said. Neither of the wounded was in critical condition.

It is not clear which groups were involved in the fight that led to Karamanoglu's death. But the violence took place amid clashes in nearby streets between riot police and mourners who had attended the funeral of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan on Wednesday.

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Berkin died in an Istanbul hospital this week, nine months after he was critically wounded, apparently by a tear gas canister fired by riot police.

    The boy's death triggered a massive outpouring of grief and discontent, as demonstrators in several Turkish cities blamed the death on the Turkish government and excessive police force.

    After burying his son, Berkin's father took to the airwaves to denounce Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    "I am addressing the Prime Minister. If he wants, he could bring the murderer of my child to me in one hour," Sami Elvan told CNN sister network CNN Turk.

    He went on to criticize Erdogan for refusing to discuss the death of his son or of six Turkish men who have died since anti-government protests erupted in May 2013.

    In a worrying sign of growing political tension, the father of Karamanoglu -- this week's gunshot victim -- lashed out at the crowds of mourners who clashed with police after Berkin's funeral.

    "There wasn't a place, a storefront they didn't damage. They burned and destroyed everything," said Halil Karamanoglu, in comments published by the state broadcaster TRT.

    "I am hurting right now. Take pity on this nation, take pity on these children. Common sense ... we have to be united," he said.

    Turkey's Prime Minister has not discussed Berkin's death in lengthy television interviews and at daily political rallies.

    But at a public appearance Thursday, Erdogan drew attention to Karamanoglu's shooting death. He blamed the killing on the protesters who criticize his government.

    "Yesterday, unfortunately, they killed a youth that had just returned from military service. What are the people expressing sorrow yesterday going to say about this child of ours?" Erdogan said, according to the semiofficial Anadolu news agency.