Target: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Goal: Stop brutal police force being used against protestors in Istanbul
Recently, protesters in Istanbul have been met with police violence, including the use of tear gas and a water cannon. Hundreds of people have been injured and human rights group Amnesty International claims that two have been killed. Urge Turkish authorities to stop using violence against demonstrators and launch an investigation into the excessive force used by riot police at the continuing demonstration.
The initial protest was held over a controversial redevelopment project, part of which includes building a shopping center on a famed Istanbul park. The demonstration took on an anti-government tone after riot police used excessive force to quell the protest which, according to most reports, had been mostly peaceful. More than 1,700 people have been arrested, and Amnesty International reports that there have been several alleged cases of mistreatment by police, including several people “held for up to 12 hours in hot and overcrowded police vehicles without access to food, water or toilet facilities.” Tear gas canisters struck several people in the crowd in the head, including at least one journalist, according to the Hurriyet Daily News, and a water cannon has also been used against crowds.
“It is clear that the use of force by police is being driven not by the need to respond to violence – of which there has been very little on the part of protesters – but by a desire to prevent and discourage protest of any kind,” said John Dalhusien, Director of Amnesty International for Europe, in a press release.
The U.S. State department also expressed concern over the injuries. “We believe that Turkey’s long-term stability, security and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association, which is what it seems these individuals were doing,” state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “These freedoms are crucial to any healthy democracy.”
Call on Turkish authorities to take action on the clashes in Istanbul, and investigate the use of excessive force against citizens exercising their fundamental rights. Sign the petition below to call on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop the violence and investigate abuses against protestors.
Dear Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
I urge you to take action to stop the abuses against protestors in Istanbul. Already there have been hundreds of injuries because of the use of tear gas and water cannons against crowds of citizens who were expressing their fundamental right to gather and express their discontent. Your continued resistance against your own citizens is reprehensible and does not reflect a true democracy. Continuing violence against peaceful demonstrators cannot be allowed.
Stop the use of excessive force against protestors in Istanbul, and investigate human rights abuses against those arrested or injured during the initial demonstration.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Miguel Carminati via Wikimedia Commons