Policeman suspended for forcing colleague to use tear gas

Policeman suspended for forcing colleague to use tear gas

Policeman suspended for forcing colleague to use tear gas

DHA Photo

A policeman who physically forced a colleague to use tear gas on demonstrators during a recent protest in southeastern Turkey has been suspended pending an official investigation.

Around 400 local shopkeepers organized a Feb. 12 protest in Gaziantep’s Karataş district against a new industrial zone built by the municipality in the area. Police intervened to disperse the crowd, detaining one person, as protesters attempted to march to the governorate.

One policeman can be seen in Doğan News Agency’s footage forcing a colleague to use tear gas against the protesters, grabbing him on the back of the neck and forcing him forward. “Spray it, spray it,” he said repeatedly, using a slang word in Turkish.

A day after the incident created uproar on Turkish social media, the Gaziantep Governor’s Office announced that an administrative review and investigation process has been launched into the conduct of the policeman for his “negative behaviour.” The policeman has been suspended until the conclusion of the investigation over "his attitude that triggered a social outcry."

The Feb. 13 statement also defended the decision to disperse the crowd, stressing that the protesters had shut off the traffic in the area and ignored warnings.

“These scenes are indications that there is a civilian dictatorship in Turkey,” main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Engin Altay said on Feb. 12.

“Anyone who attempts to use his right to react is seen [by the government] as a potential criminal or terrorist,” Altay added.