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All states should suspend teargas shipments to Turkey: Amnesty

Protests reignite across Turkish cities after 22-year-old protester Ahmet Atakan by police teargas canister

Ahram Online , Friday 13 Sep 2013
A Turkish riot policeman fires during clashes with demonstrators as they protest the death of Ahmet Atakan in Antakya on Monday night (Photo: AP)
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Amnesty International called on "all countries" Thursday to cease teargas shipments to Turkey following the violent state response to anti-government protests last week.

"All countries should suspend shipments of teargas, armoured vehicles and other riot control projectile equipment to Turkey until the Turkish authorities can guarantee protesters’ right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression," Amnesty stated.

Amnesty referred to media reports which reveal that Turkey’s police has requested some 100,000 teargas canisters and more than 100 armoured vehicles from Brazil, India, South Korea and the United States, Ankara's major suppliers of "riot control equipment."

Amnesty mentioned other countries that expressed readiness to supply Turkey with such equipment, including Belgium, China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Israel, and the UK.

"International partners – including in the European Union – must urge the Turkish authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the excessive use of force and ensure that all police are properly trained in how to respond to peaceful protests in line with international standards."

The international human rights body urged the Turkish government to "respect peaceful protest and end the abusive use of force."

Ahmet Atakan, a 22-year-old protester, died on Tuesday after being hit in the head by a police teargas canister, Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Atakan participated in a protest in the southern city of Antakya that took place to show solidarity with students opposed to the construction of a road through a university in Ankara.

According to the Associated Press, Atakan is the sixth anti-government protester to lose his life in recent months.

In response to Atakan’s killing, several Turkish cities saw renewed protests against the Islamist government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which police employed water cannons and teargas.

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