Police Systematically Used Tear Gas as a Weapon
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) urged the U.S. authorities to suspend tear gas exports to Turkey. “The Turkish government used needless and extreme forced,” said PHR regarding the police intervention during Gezi Resistance.
PHR conducted a one-week investigation in Istanbul and Ankara from June 25 to July 2, 2013. During this investigation, PHR interviewed more than 50 victims and witnesses of attacks on protesters and medical personnel, as well as violations of medical neutrality.
Some of the highlights from “the Contempt for Freedom: State Use of Tear Gas as a Weapon and Attacks on Medical Personnel in Turkey” included:
* The Turkish government used unnecessary and excessive force. The police systematically used tear gas as a weapon on hundreds of thousands of demonstrators.
* Independent medical personnel who courageously provided care to the injured in accordance with international medical ethical standards and Turkish law were attacked.
* Nearly all (94 percent) of the 169 individuals were exposed to tear gas and experienced multiple symptoms, including respiratory problems; skin rashes; hyperemia (redness due to inflammation) of the pharynx, eyes, and tympanic membranes; hoarseness; hearing loss; high blood pressure regardless of age; asthma attacks; and allergic reactions.
* PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s autocratic governing style responded peaceful protestors with violence.
* The police systematically used tear gas as a weapon on hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, firing tear gas canisters and capsules directly at protesters at close range, in confined spaces, and in other areas with no outlet for escape. Some 130,000 canisters were reportedly used against protesters
* Police reportedly used water cannons spiked with chemical agents (likely tear gas).
* Police and other law enforcement officials attacked clearly identifiable, independent medical personnel and medical facilities with tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets. Police beat and detained dozens of physicians and other medical personnel for providing emergency medical care to those injured during the demonstrations.