Turkish homeless man burns to death after being neglected

Friday, January 19, 2007

On one of the very crowded streets of Istanbul, Turkey, an elderly homeless man died of burns thought to have been caused by a fire he lit to warm himself. The police officers who came to help could not extinguish the fire with the small bottles of water which they had.

The man was seen earlier in one of the most crowded streets of Istanbul screaming "I do not have a blanket, someone stole my blanket!". He was offered a cookie and a coat by two passers-by before someone called an ambulance. He was refused admittance to two different hospitals because he lacked identification, and the ambulance eventually left him where he was picked up.

Witness Accounts


He was shaking. He couldn't walk. I brought him 15 - 20 empty boxes and started a fire for him to get warm. I put my coat on him, he was wet. They told us that he died in the morning.


He died in front of everyone's eyes. Like an animal. What kind of a government is this? He was shaking like a leaf. He was purple all over because of the cold. His clothes were smoking. My friends thought he was burning. It was that night's dew that was evaporating... We are ignorant, we didn't know. But someone else called for an ambulance. They came, this guy can in fact walk. He is sane. But that day he was almost unconscious and he couldn't walk. We carried him to the ambulance and thought he was saved. They brought him back an hour later. I asked him what happened. He told me that "they didn't want to provide care because I didn't have an ID to show." For God's sake, what kind of a government is this?


I just saw him the other day. I gave him a cookie. He thanked, but didn't accept. He was shaking, miserable. I would have taken him home, only if I knew.