The death of a 13-year-old boy in Istanbul last week while playing the popular online game Metin2 has raised concerns, as police investigate whether he killed himself or was murdered. Hakan Ekinci was playing the game alone in his home in the city's Esenyurt district when he was discovered to have choked to death with twice-knotted bandages around his neck. The death comes eight years after another 13-year-old boy was killed in an eastern city allegedly over his refusal to sell his in-game character to other players.
Ekinci was found dead in front of his computer two hours after he went home to play video games while his family was at their bakery. Metin2 was on his computer, though his parents say they believe it might not be related to the game. According to a report in the Habertürk daily, police are investigating if he was "commanded" to kill himself by someone he met in the Metin2 gaming community. Metin2, developed by a South Korean company, is a highly popular game among Turkish youth but is criticized for its violent content. The role-playing game was banned from internet cafes by the governorate of Antalya in southern Turkey a few years ago due to its violent content. In 2009, 13-year-old Musa Kang from the eastern city of Erzurum, who was reportedly a skilled player controlling a character with high points, was killed by a teenager who told the court he was hired by two other children, apparently rival players, though these claims were never proven.
The Ekinci family told İhlas News Agency yesterday that they believed their son's death was a murder and ruled out allegations that he was a Metin2 addict. "My elder son had bandages after an accident and he gave them to Hakan before his death. We found out that Hakan left for home after taking the bandages and it was the last time he was seen. My son was playing online games but he was not an addict. He was not someone who would commit suicide, he was dreaming of becoming a doctor. It is impossible that he would kill himself with those bandages all alone," he said.