Turkey’s heavy-handed response to summer anti-government protests – which saw the use of tear gas, live fire, beatings, and so on – was criticized during and after the riots. Arrests and injuries reached the thousands, and Turkey’s European NATO partners in particular demanded investigations into who was responsible and how far up in the Turkish political and security echelon they went.
Ankara at times reacted badly to the criticism, with Erdogan lashing against critics in general, and significantly against Germany. The crisis has in retrospect emerged as an inflection point in a percipitous geo-strategic decline which has left Turkey and its leaders, according to Reuters, “sidelined” and “increasingly lonely.”
Ankara is now facing new charges regarding its tactics, this time leveled by Amnesty International. The language of a report published earlier today is brutal:
“The attempt to smash the Gezi Park protest movement involved a string of human rights violations on a huge scale,” Andrew Gardner, the London-based watchdog’s Turkey expert, said in a statement. “They include the wholesale denial of the right to peaceful assembly and violations of the rights to life, liberty and the freedom from torture and ill-treatment,” he added…
Amnesty — detailing the use of live ammunition, tear gas, water cannon, plastic bullets and beatings — said the deaths of at least three protesters were linked to the “abusive use of force by police.” The police “routinely” fired directly at protesters, bystanders and sometimes into residential buildings and medical facilities, resulting in hundreds of injuries, according to witnesses interviewed by the rights group.
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