Turkish police target medics during Gezi protests: Report
Nisan Su Aras ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
A Turkish police officer is shooting a tear gas against protesters in Ankara. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Turkey’s security forces directly targeted medical facilities and confined spaces while systematically using tear gas as a weapon during the Gezi protests, the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) organization stated in a report released on Sept. 24.
“Police and other law enforcement officials attacked clearly identifiable, independent medical personnel and medical facilities with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.
Police beat and detained dozens of physicians and other medical personnel for providing emergency medical care to those injured during the demonstrations,” the report from the New York-based NGO stated.
Systematical use of gas
The report titled, “Contempt for freedom: State use of tear gas as a weapon and attacks on medical personnel in Turkey” detailed numerous examples of the police’s systematic use of force against protesters and medics.
“The police systematically used tear gas as a weapon against hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, firing gas canisters and capsules directly at protesters at close range, in confined spaces, and in other areas with no outlet for escape,” it stated.
The PHR further suggested that the police fired rubber bullets and live ammunition directly at protesters at close range, while also beating and detaining hundreds. The government has engaged in unnecessary and excessive violence against protesters, which constitutes ill-treatment on a massive scale, the report stated.
The study also documented testimonials explaining that detained protesters and healthcare workers were exposed to sexual harassment by police officers, and the police had forcibly obtained blood and saliva samples without consent.
It also said that some 130,000 canisters were fired in just 20 days.