Police chief defends gas usage despite complaints
ŞIRNAK - Doğan News AgencyResponding to the locals’ complaints about the excessive use of pepper gas at a meeting in the southeastern city of Cizre, a police chief has defended the use, saying police “could have fired on demonstrators during the Nevruz celebrations and would have killed 100-200.” The police chief of Şırnak’s Cizre, Ercan İçli, said on Jan. 4 that this could not be recommended, however, as it would serve the interests outlawed organizations.
When locals indicated that they were disturbed by the excessive pepper gas used by the police forces during a meeting organized by the Association to Support and Reinforce Security Services on Jan. 5, İçli said the police forces were not very happy about using pepper gas either. İçli said they had refrained from using pepper gas on Cizre’s İdil Street, where clashes often erupt, for a week. “The shopkeepers on İdil Street suggested they could manage the clashes without police help, as they were tired of pepper gas. But we rejected this, because they cannot take on the duties of the police,” İçli said.
İçli stressed that the police never arbitrarily used pepper gas and generally only used it when roads were blocked and citizens were disturbed. He said they showed particular concern not to shoot gas when there were elderly people or children around. He also recalled that a police officer was killed during last year’s Nevruz celebrations. “We do not use gas willingly, but sometimes people exaggerate it so much,” he said.