Amnesty Turkey's meeting with Istanbul governor ends in ‘disappointment’
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
People run away as Turkish riot policemen fire tear gas on Taksim square on June 11, 2013. AFP photoThe meeting of Amnesty International Turkey officials with Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu to invite him to stop police violence against peaceful protesters yesterday ended with disappointment, AI Turkey director Murat Çekiç has said.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Governor kept saying that police violence had a basis in legitimate cause. In that sense our meeting was a disappointment. On the other hand, Mr. Governor has not given a signal of implementing international human rights standards to put an end to police violence,” Çekiç said today in a phone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.
Çekiç said the aim of their meeting was to extend crucial demands such as stopping police violence immediately in Istanbul and starting a fair investigation to unveil the officials responsible.
Mutlu wrote on his Twitter account June 11 that they would “never touch Gezi Park and the protesters.”
“I ask you to wait calmly where you are without any provocations,” Mutlu wrote.
Çekiç said the promises Mutlu had made on social media that no police intervention would take place against the protestors were not kept.
“I was also at Gezi Park last night between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and witnessed that at least some 20 gas canisters were thrown inside the park despite the governor’s repeated words promising no intervention would occur in the park,” Çekiç said.
Later in the day Mutlu accused some “marginal groups” of trying to instigate conflict in Istanbul and called on citizens not to go to Taksim Square until security was entirely restored by police forces.
Andrew Gardner, a Turkey researcher for Amnesty International, also said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now bears personal responsibility for the violence, in a statement posted on humanrightsturkey.org.
“The Turkish prime minister has sought to declare the recent wave of protests over by personal diktat – this is not how the freedom of assembly works. Prime Minister Erdoğan now bears personal responsibility for the violence that immediately followed his words. Peaceful protest must be respected and the international community must urge him to change tack to prevent further unnecessary bloodshed. At this writing, violence continues in Taksim Square and elsewhere in Turkey,” the statement read.