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The headline of the week is once again the disproportionate use of force and violence by the police…
The police used water cannons, teargas bombs and rubber bullets to disperse the thousands gathered with carnations in their hands in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday 22 June, in memorial for people killed during recent protests.
The police intervention continued in Istanbul as well as in other cities such as Ankara and Adana, with the number of injured increasing day by day. The mainstream media continues to broadcast only the statements made by the government, leaving out any news on the Gezi Park resistance.
The police officer who shot Ethem Sarısülük dead during the Gezi Park protests became another name on the list of “unpunished” public servants as he was released free on a pending trial. A group of young people beaten by police in an underground parking lot in Antalya did not file a criminal complaint.
Ambassadors to EU member states, who were targeted by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his rallies with statements like “Behave yourself”, met with government commissioners. Progress was made when the ambassadors signed a common statement for the first time in Turkey in which they expressed their concern over the recent developments, especially regarding police attitude towards peaceful protesters and respect for freedom of the press.
Following the arrests, comparable to a modern day ‘witch-hunt’ due to message sharing on social media sites, Facebook denied accusations that it was collaborating with the government. The same day, Istanbul’s Police Department’s Security Branch announced that they have launched an investigation into twitter messages on the Gezi Park resistance.
To sum up, the government continues to jeopardise the constitutionally embedded human rights of both freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, particularly in monitoring social media platforms and banning anyone from entering Gezi Park for two weeks.