The World Medical Association has called on the Turkish authorities to end immediately the excessive use of force against peaceful protestors and to ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly. It has also called for an independent and impartial investigation into the excessive use of force and for officials found to have ill-treated demonstrators or other members of the public to be brought to justice.
The WMA’s intervention, in a letter from the Association’s President Dr. Cecil Wilson to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan, comes at the request of the Turkish Medical Association.
In the letter the WMA writes: ‘The purpose of this letter relates to the current demonstrations that started peacefully in Gezi Public Park in Taksim Square-İstanbul on 27 May. The Turkish Medical Association (TMA) has drawn our attention to alarming violence with excessive force used against protestors. TMA reports hundreds of cases of injury and detention following police confrontations with protestors in Ankara as well as in other provinces including Adana, Eskişehir and Gaziantep. According to our sources, the majority of the injuries were caused by the use of water cannon and tear gas.
‘The WMA condemns strongly crowd control or riot prevention technology – such as tear gas and water cannon – that is misused, including to perpetrate human rights abuses or that is used in a manner out of proportion with the need, or against populations with particular vulnerabilities.’