Turkey: Dutch Foreign Minister must demand independent enquiry into police violence

17 June 2013

Turkey: Dutch Foreign Minister must demand independent enquiry into police violence

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is extremely concerned over recent developments in Turkey, and has condemned the excessive police response to the demonstrators. ‘Last weekend the violence against the demonstrators in Istanbul and other towns and cities escalated still more,’ he says. ‘Now there’s even open talk of sending in the army against them. That would, however, be an extremely dangerous step. I’m calling on our Foreign Minister, Frans Timmermans, to speak out unequivocally against this when he visits the country on Wednesday.’

In Istanbul principally, but also in other Turkish towns and cities, there have for a number of weeks been major demonstrations against the Erdogan government. The demonstrations were in the first instance directed against the redesign of a park in Istanbul, but have quickly grown into a protest against Erdogan’s authoritarian style of government. The Turkish police have intervened harshly in the demonstrations and this has led to strong criticism from the international community and a range of human rights organisations.

‘The media is reporting the use of chemicals in the water from the water-cannons that have been employed,’ says Van Bommel. ‘Also, there is evidence that the most powerful kind of tear gas has been used, even in enclosed spaces. Furthermore, five people have been killed. What’s most important now is that this violence must be stopped and not allowed to escalate further, and it’s also vital that an immediate independent enquiry into the police violence is established. Timmermans should be urging this on Wednesday in Turkey.’

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