Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Wednesday the Turkish government to improve its guidelines on the timing and level of use of tear gas to disperse crowds, focusing on prohibitions on direct targeting by police forces.
According to daily Hürriyet, HRW released a report, in which incidents of injuries caused by excessive or violent use of tear gas are mentioned, including directly shooting protesters with tear gas canisters, which could cause serious injuries, and even loss of an eye.
One of the cases included in the report was that of Burak Ünveren who lost his left eye after being hit by a canister from close range. 31 year old protester was quoted as saying, “I would guess that the police were around forty meters away from me when they fired at me. I am almost sure that this act of violence was deliberate”.
The report stated that Turkey had “a poor record on holding the police and security forces accountable for abuses, excessive use of force, torture and other ill-treatment, and unlawful killings”.
Human rights remain a crucial chapter for Turkey’s European future, as the EU criticizes heavily the excessive violence towards protesters by armed police forces, as well as the imprisonment conditions for detainees inside correctional institutions.