Amnesty International calls for the suspension of tear gas shipments to Turkey
Riot police fire tear gas during a protest in central Istanbul Sept. 10. REUTERS photoAmnesty International has called on countries providing Turkish police with anti-riot equipments, including tear gas and armored vehicles to suspend all shipments on Sept. 12.
The call comes as fresh protests broke out in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities following the death of a demonstrator in the southern province of Hatay on Sept. 10, with the police resorting to tear gas and water cannon against the crowd.
“The Turkish police’s return to the abusive use of force in response to demonstrations underscores the need for all countries to suspend shipments of tear gas and other riot control projectile equipment and armored policing vehicles to Turkey, until steps are taken to prevent such deaths and injuries,” Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher Andrew Gardner has said.
Countries such as the United States, Israel, Britain, China, Brazil, India, Belgium and South Korea are among those who have procured such materials, the association said.
It also quoted media reports indicating that new supplies of riot control equipment had been ordered.
“We’re calling on governments to take a stand and press Turkey to respect the right to peaceful protest and end the abusive use of force,” Gardner said.
The death of Ahmet Atakan, with some reports claiming that he was hit by a tear gas canister, has sparked outrage, triggering fresh protests across Turkey.
However, the authorities rejected those claims, arguing that Atakan died after falling from a building.
Atakan is the sixth protester to be killed in anti-government protests in Turkey this summer, after the deaths of Abdullah Cömert (22), Ali İsmail Korkmaz (19), Ethem Sarısülük (26), Mehmet Ayvalıtaş (20) and Medeni Yıldırım (18). Police officer Mustafa Sarı also died after falling from a bridge while pursuing fleeing protesters in Adana.