A report by the Equal Rights Monitoring Association of Turkey has detailed infringements in the last five years on the people’s right to protest in the country.
Turkey was critical of the Dutch police’s ‘heavy-handed’ tactics in last weeks protests against the barring of two Turkish ministers’ entrance to the Netherlands. However, the reports findings show that protesters in Turkey are not faring any better.
According to the report, 264 peaceful meetings and demonstrations were hindered in the last 15 months in Turkey.
The five-year report revealed police took legal action against 116 thousand protesters. The report also stated that the Turkish government repeatedly violated the European Court of Human Rights’ judgements on the right to assembly and demonstration. Only between October to December in 2015, 37 peaceful protests faced police intervention.
Tear gas and water cannon have been the most frequently used methods of intervention against protesters followed by battery and bludgeoning. In two instances, the use of real bullets was reported. Between 1 January-10 November 2016, 227 police interventions were observed. 160 of those were press statements, sit-in protests and other demonstrations. In addition, 52 celebrations, commemorations and leaflet distributions were prevented. Only 32 of the 227 events were able to go ahead despite police intervention.
According to annual reports from the Ministry of Justice, between 2011 and 2015 116,804 people were indicted due to perverting the course of justice in meetings and demonstrations and 67,453 were tried. While the number of protestors that were indicted in 2011 was 16,283; it was 17,137 in 2012; 25,965 in 2013; 26,151 in 2014 and 31,268 in 2015.