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Turkey police accused of human rights violations

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Amnesty International has accused Turkish police of gross human rights violations during anti-government protests which rocked the country in June, Press TV reports.

In a statement on Wednesday, Andrew Gardner, Turkey researcher at the London-based Amnesty International, said, “The attempt to smash the Gezi Park protest movement involved a string of human rights violations on a huge scale.”

“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,” the statement added.

The statement also said Turkish police officers were “instructed” to use force against anti-government protesters.

“The levels of violence used by police … clearly show what happens when poorly trained, poorly supervised police officers are instructed to use force – and encouraged to use it unsparingly – safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely ever to be identified or prosecuted for their abuses,” the statement added.

The statement also urges Ankara to tolerate dissenting opinions, saying “The Turkish government must learn to tolerate the dissenting opinions expressed through street protests.”

In June, a peaceful sit-in aimed at saving Istanbul’s central Gezi Park from being razed prompted a violent police response.

Thousands of protesters were injured after the protests spiraled into nationwide demos against the administration of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan branded the protesters as “terrorists,” and claimed the demonstrations were part of a plot to topple his government.

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