111 photographers detained or targeted by violence during Gezi protests: NGO
ISTANBUL - Radikal
An injured Turkish photographer is accompanied by a colleague in İstiklal Avenue, after being hit by a rubber bullet, during a police crackdown in Istanbul, July 8. AP photo111 photographers were detained, targeted by violence or had their photos erased by the police during the demos in Istanbul and Ankara between May 31 and July 8, the Association of Photographers has said in a report.
The report, which collects the testimonies of many press and documentary photographers, said that the largest part of the injuries were due to gas canisters and rubber bullets fired by the police during the repeated violent crackdowns. Many photographers also complained that their cameras had been broken or pictures erased.
The report also stressed that the yellow press cards did not prevent, in most cases, the detention of photojournalists. Contrary to many European countries, press cards are delivered by a Prime Ministerial Office in Turkey.
Hürriyet Daily News photojournalist Emrah Güler and daily Hürriyet photoreporter Selçuk Şamiloğlu were among those injured while trying to cover the protests that were sparked by the attempts to demolish Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
The report also relates the experience of Mehmet Kaçmaz of the Nar photo agency, who underwent surgery after he was hit in the eyes by an object that couldn’t be identified. “As I saw a [police] panzer passing in front of us, I turned my back and the barrel was then directed at us. Just as I turned to [the panzer] I heard a noise. Like a ball hitting wood. I held my eye. When I saw blood spilling, I understood I was wounded,” he said.
The injury did not cause permanent damage to Kaçmaz’s health, but around a dozen protesters have lost their sight in at least one eye due to projectiles fired by the police that hit their eyes.