Council of Europe urges Turkey to implement ECHR judgments on excessive police force
Police disperses protesters in Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue. Turkish police were repeatedly accused of using disproportionate force against demonstrators since the beginning of the nationwide Gezi Park. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELThe Council of Europe has urged Turkish authorities to quickly implement European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgments regarding police’s use of excessive force against demonstrators, noting the flood of new applications on such violence.
The council released a statement after a Sept. 27 meeting to review and assess the implementation of the sentence in the Oya Ataman case.
The case, which dates back to 2007, was opened after a complaint against police officers’ use of tear gas on a small group of demonstrators protesting against plans for an “F-type,” solitary-confinement prison in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square.
The council said in its statement that despite new regulations and directives since the ruling in the case, the measures have not been adequately implemented.
“The [European Court of Human Rights] continues receiving new, similar applications and delivering judgments finding violations of the convention on account of unjustified interferences with the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of the excessive use of force during demonstrations, as well as the lack of an effective remedy in this respect,” the statement of the council said, while calling for additional measures.
“The deputies further invited Turkish authorities to consider amending the Turkish legislation with a view to ensuring that the domestic authorities are under an obligation to assess the necessity of interfering with the right to freedom of assembly, in particular in situations where demonstrations are held peacefully,” it said.
The council also said Turkish courts should act “promptly and diligently” on reports of ill-treatment in conducting investigations launched against law enforcement officers who have failed to comply with measures.
It also called on Turkey to provide information on whether fresh investigations have been launched,
adding that the council would carefully watch progress on the matter.
Turkish police were repeatedly accused of using disproportionate force against demonstrators since the beginning of the nationwide Gezi Park protests in late May. Successive raids on Gezi Park, located in Istanbul’s central Taksim area, stirred a huge outcry inside and outside Turkey.
The government has defended itself, arguing that police reacted to attacks by “marginal” and violent groups while defending its right to use tear gas in such instances.
Six protesters and a police officer have been killed in the demonstrations, while dozens were seriously injured, including a 14-year-old bystander Berkin Elvan, who has been in a coma for months since being struck by a tear gas capsule fired by police.