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Stop tear gas supplies to Turkey: Amnesty International

14 September 2013

Amnesty International has called on all countries supplying Turkish police with anti-riot equipment, including tear gas and armoured vehicles to suspend all shipments on 12th September.

The call follows fresh protests which broke out in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities, resulting in the death of a demonstrator in the southern province of Hatay on 10th September, as the police resorted to tear gas and water cannon against the crowd.

“The Turkish police’s return to the abusive use of force in response to demonstrations underscores the need for all countries to suspend shipments of tear gas and other riot control projectile equipment and armoured policing vehicles to Turkey, until steps are taken to prevent such deaths and injuries,” Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher Andrew Gardner has said.

Countries such as the United States, Israel, Britain, China, Brazil, India, Belgium and South Korea are among those who have procured such materials, the association said.

It also quoted media reports indicating that new supplies of riot control equipment had been ordered.

 “We’re calling on governments to take a stand and press Turkey to respect the right to peaceful protest and end the abusive use of force,” Gardner said.

The death of Ahmet Atakan, with some reports claiming that he was hit by a tear gas canister, has sparked outrage, triggering fresh protests across Turkey.  However, the authorities rejected those claims, arguing that Atakan died after falling from a building.

Atakan is the sixth protester to be killed in anti-government protests in Turkey this summer, after the deaths of Abdullah Comert (22), Ali Ismail Korkmaz (19), Ethem Sarisuluk (26), Mehmet Ayvalitas (20) and Medeni Yildırim (18). Police officer Mustafa Sari also died after falling from a bridge while pursuing fleeing protesters in Adana.

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