What You Can Do NOW to Stop the Abuse of Protestors in Turkey

A protester covers her face during clashes with Turkish police near the prime minister's office in Istanbul (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images).

A protester covers her face during clashes with Turkish police near the prime minister’s office in Istanbul (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images).

In Turkey, a major human rights crisis looms.  Here is what an update on what you can do about it.

The Crisis

As protests continue to rock Turkish cities, Amnesty International has warned that injuries due to “police abuse will continue to escalate unless the authorities bring police tactics in line with basic human rights standards.” Police excesses have been “disgraceful,” Amnesty says. The number of those injured by excessive police force is as yet unknown, but is believed to be in the thousands. Many of the injuries have been serious. There are as yet unconfirmed reports of deaths.

With Turkish media often seeming to downplay events in Turkey, social media has taken a key role in disseminating news about the protests. The images of police excess are truly shocking.

Amnesty notes:

Video evidence has documented police deliberately firing tear gas canisters protestors. Members of the public who have not been protesting have been affected by the excessive use of tear gas, which has been used in confined spaces such as the metro station in Taksim and allegedly in buildings where protestors were sheltering.

The authorities claim to have detained close to 1000 people. Dozens of amateur videos taken at the scene of demonstrations show law enforcement officials hitting, kicking and beating protestors with truncheons, including when they had been incapacitated by the effects of tear gas.

John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia program director at Amnesty International, notes that “[three] days after the start of an unprecedented wave of police repression against protesters, the Turkish authorities have shown little remorse and no indication of a change in police tactics.” Amnesty is “particularly concerned about the use of tear gas in confined spaces where it represents a major threat to health,” says Dalhuisen.

What You Can Do

As we watch these horrific scenes, we are not powerless. One voice of protest can be ignored, but thousands, and hundreds of thousands cannot.

Here are steps that you can take today:

1. Write directly to the Turkish government! 

The easiest, first step is to use this electronic form to write to Turkish officials, voicing your concerns. You can use our model language or use your own, but your letter should be brief, factual, and polite. Urge your friends and family to write letters as well.

Your letters should do the following:

A. Call on the authorities to immediately end the excessive use of force against peaceful protestors

B. Call for them to ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly

C. Urge them to initiate a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the excessive use of force  and bring to justice law enforcement officials found to have ill-treated demonstrators or other members of the public.

You can also write to the Turkish Embassy in your home country.

For the the Turkish ambassador to the United States, write to:

Ambassador Namik Tan
Embassy, Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008

2. Use social media like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.

Facebook messages should ask people to participate in the action, not just “like” your message. The Turkish government doesn’t read your “likes,” but it notices when it is deluged with hundreds of thousands of letters.

Here are some suggested messages for twitter:

.@RT_Erdogan Intervene now! No more abusive use of force by police @aforgutu #insanhakları #humanrightsforturkey #humanrights

.@RT_Erdogan Turkish authorities must allow the right to peaceful protest of the demonstrators @aforgutu #insanhakları #humanrightsforturkey

.@RT_Erdogan No more police beatings! No more firing tear gas canisters deliberately at protestors @aforgutu #humanrightsforturkey

.@RT_Erdogan Release up to date and accurate information on numbers and extent of injuries @aforgutu #insanhakları #humanrightsforturkey

.@RT_Erdogan Call immediate, independent & impartial investigation into allegations of excessive force @aforgutu #humanrightsforturkey

.@RT_Erdogan Change track: Stop the violence, allow peaceful protest, investigate abuses and never allow it again @aforgutu #insanhakları

.@RT_Erdogan No more deaths at demonstrations in #Turkey! @aforgutu #insanhakları #humanrightsforturkey #humanrights

3. Stay informed. 

We will update the action as needed. Consider joining Amnesty International – USA’s Turkish Regional Action Network, follow us on Facebook or at our blog site, Human Rights in Turkey. This is an urgent and on-going crisis. We need your support.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

55 thoughts on “What You Can Do NOW to Stop the Abuse of Protestors in Turkey

  1. 'we take this truth as self evident, that all men are born free' MLK

    It is a travesty of international human rights standards that some member states of the UN flout the instruments designed to bring such states into the fold of human treatment of its citizens. Moreover, that such states having ratified their specific agreement then renege on it. The current crisis in Turkey is in my opinion such a case.

    Having ratified the instrument for the Turkish Republic the Turkish state has agreed to implement every aspect of the agreement. For example agreeing to train security and police forces in human rights procedures when handling public disturbances.

    it is a contradiction for a state whose culture places so much importance on honour to demonstrate so little of it when disregarding the terms of the Human Rights agreement they have signed.

    Human rights is not an option in a civilised world. Its a necessary tool for the furtherance of humanity in its struggle to treat all peoples as equal and implement freedom for all under 'heaven'. Furthermore, it is my opinion that states who sign up to implement human rights for its citizens have a moral if not a legal obligation the see the implementation completed. It is NOT an option its a requirement. There is no get out clause; no fair-weather bad weather opt out. What ever unrest or strife may arise such States must implement human rights in its handling of the events.

    The above is just my thoughts and opinions but prompted by the terrible scenes police violence in Turkey. i offer this post and comment in support of my many dear friends in Turkey and those friends so close in my heart and thoughts just now.. Ray Baldwin BSc hons, MIET.

    • Uzunca bir süredir, çeşitli entrika ve yollarla iktidarını devam ettiren Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN ın diktatörlüğünde ülkeyi yönetmektedir. Kendi çevresinin refah seviyesi hergün artmakta iken diğer insanlar eziyet ve baskı altındadır. son günlerde ülkemde cerayan eden hak arama hareketine karşı bütün dünyada eşi ve benzeri görülmemiş şiddetle karşılık verilmekte ve insanlarımız susturulmaya çalışılmaktadır, bu gün yurdun çeşitli yerlerinde polis ve güvenlik güçleri istanbula toplanmış adeta bir olağan üstü hale hazırlık çalışmaları vardır,
      Ülkem insanları bu gidişata artık dur demek istediği halde hükümet bu mevzuda halkımızı mezhep ve din savaşlarına sürüklercesine hareket etmekte, halen osmanlı imparatorluğu özlemi içerisinde hareket etmekte ve demokratik düzen ile cumhuriyete sahip çıkanları hergün birsürü yalan ve dolanla baskı altına alarak ve uydurma yalan suçlarla tutuklamakta, insanları birbirine düşürmeye çalışmaktadır, kısa bir süre içerisinde şu anda yaşadığımız polis ve devlet şiddetinin artıp adeta bir katliama dönüşmesinden korkmaktayız,
      Bütün dünyanın dikkatine ve yardımına ihtiyacımız vardır, dilerimki ülkemde kimsenin burnu kanamadan, bu diktatörlüğe bir son verelim ve ülkem gene o eski barışcıl günlerine dönsün,

  2. Your help would be really apreciated. Thing got pretty rough here.

    • Letters do not heal Chemical Burns, Dear Friends , I apologise in for use of this space, today, I am writing to ask your urgent help to the people in Turkey. Over 50 000 people known o be injured during the protests.Chemical Burns Voluntary medical service, doctors and nurses are working under gas and chemichally altered water canons. Please orginise medical supply parcels, burn treatment medication, chemical burn medication, bephantol, wound cleaners, instructions in clear simple English was asked from the doctors on the ground.

  3. I am Turkish descent living in London. I have been watching the international media and what it says about Turkey does not reflect the the bare truth. Turkish people are being tortured by the government and police and they need-ask for immediate help. As in the news the police is not attacking only with tear gas or water; we can not even call this excessive violence; police does it to kill; as as many as they can. Recently they attacked to an underground station throwing gas bombs inside to innocent people including children. They attacked to a place converted into a clinic to help injured people; broke windows and threw gas bombs. Waited outside the door to torture those are trying to get out of the place to breath. Doctors were assaulted. They usually target head; eye; inner organs to give major injury. The public call the prime minister second Hitler. People have been killed; tortured; and this has been still going on. Please do reflect the truth to help these people for human rights.

    The government distribute police uniforms to organised groups to wear those and attack people; have been evidenced.

    Evidences have been picked up and put together for human rights committees. Please do have a lin look at the links below.; and please do use them instead of lame pictures or videos. People in Turkey have been asking for support and attention to stop this.

    You can copy the link below to see the documents. The second, youtube one is the doctor's staement.

  4. Turkish Medical Association announced the latest data concerning the life toll.

    Istanbul: 1505 injured (880 treated in hospitals and 625 in volunteer infirmaries); 12 severely wounded, 1 dead. 26 in-patients, 5 intensive care, 2 in life-threatening condition (head trauma)

    Ankara: 1088 injured (788 treated in hospitals and 300 in volunteer infirmaries); 19 severely wounded, 6 head traumas, 3 vision loss, 1 in critical condition and 5 blinded.

    İzmir: 800 injured; 2 severe.

    Antakya: 1 dead.

    Adana: 117 injured; 5 severe, 5 head traumas.

    Eskişehir: 300 injured; 3 severe, 2 intensive care, 1 head trauma.

    Muğla: 50 injured; 1 severe, 1 risk of losing vision.

    Bursa: 2 injured; head trauma.

    Balıkesir: 155 injured.

    Kocaeli: 10 injured

    Antalya: 150 injured; 1 eye loss.

    Data forthcoming from Çanakkale, Samsun, Mersin.
    7 minutes ago · Like

    Total of 4177 persons injured treated in hospitals and volunteer infirmaries. 2 dead, 43 severly wounded, 15 severe head traumas, 10 eye losses.

    Translation by Cihan Tekay

  5. One third of the population almost , have to as a majority undertake all what happens as a must endure under these circumstances, writers, enlightened, thinkers, sincere believers in majority. Turbulences are not an intelligible way to be recognized ı'd reckon , therefore like Mr. Putin of Russia has suggested, talks have to begin in proper platform. Also the Holy Dianetics Head of the Office says people got to talk this out ; on the occasion of a holy night of Prophet Mohammad's ascension to the heavens , a miracle that happened 1400 lunar years ago on the thursday's night before. He, the exalted prophet had the opportunity to talk to the Prophets of God Almighty on matters concerning all of believing societies as followers of the Adamsons creation. May all relations to these venerable messengers be on the good results to the verdict in God's sight to regain peaceful order throughout the creation. Salutes in peace and unity.

  6. Please stand by cıtızens of Turkey,

    As of now, polıce forces are attackıng cıvılıans ın Ankara, Dersım and Antakya. We lost 3 of our young brothers durıng our peacefull acts.
    The representatıves of our organızatıon met wıth Bulent Arınc, Deputy PM but no actıons taken yet. I am worrıed that we may lose more cıvılınas.

  7. I have been living in Istanbul for almost ten years and I quickly saw Erdogan for what he is. Unfortunately, the majority of Turkish people are lazy and complacent. They moan a lot about their lives, but when election time comes round, they vote the same gang back into power again!
    My word for the PM is 'haydut' – thug.

    • If someone was elected and became PM in his coutry, he is not named as "haydut" in Turkiye. But, we Turks, call someone as "haydut" if he calls the majority of people as "lazy and complacent" even if he can live very confortable in those people for almost ten years.

  8. Thank you all for your support! Please spread the word and ask friends and family to add their voices… our strength comes from numbers!

  9. Bless you and all that your organization stands for! Turkey needs your help in these turbulent times as we try to fight for our Democratic freedoms. We don't all know how this will end, but our passion for freedom and desire to keep Ataturk's legacy going will keep us going. Our own country won't let us have a voice, yet our story s so tragic and needs to be heard loud and clear by the world. Thank you for spreading the word.
    This tyrant needs to step down and be condemned. It is unbelievable to see such levels of hatred and inhumanity that this party has fostered.

  10. As a Turkish citizen, I demand that the police officer seen in the video attacking young people with no justification whatsoever be identified, dismissed, and punished with fines or prison, as stipulated by applicable laws, within 30 days. I reserve my right to start legal action otherwise at the level of the European Court of Human Rights against the psychological damage and moral hazard I suffer.

    Falls diese Polizei, die ungerechtfertigterweise die Jugendlichen angegriffen hat, innerhalb von 30 Tagen nicht ausfindig gemacht und zwecks Dienstenthebung, Geld- oder Haftstrafe, so wie es das Gesetz vorgibt, an die Justiz übergeben wird, erkläre ich hiermit, dass ich als einfacher türkischer Bürger für die mir zugefügten psychologischen und seelischen Schäden eine Schadensersatzklage beim Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte einreichen werde.

    Sebepsiz yere gençlerimize saldıran bu polis 30 gün içinde bulunup kanunun öngördüğü meslekten atılma, para veya hapis cezası için yargıya havale edilmezse, sade bir Türk vatandaşı olarak uğradığım psikolojik ve manevi kaybın tazmini için Avrupa İnsan Hakları Mahkemesi'nde dava açacağımı bildiririm.

  11. I had the opportunity to serve on the faculty at METU for more than a year in the 1974 -75 time frame.
    During that time, my family and I got to visit around the Turkish country side a good bit and get to
    know about the friendly people of the country. They were tolerant of our ideas ad our religious beliefs.
    They were for the most part dedicated to their constitution as worked out for them under Attaturk's
    direction. This constitution seems to have been rewritten by a few power hungry people.
    I can only say that I am sincerely concerned about the present state of affairs and hope that the
    democratic vision can be restored by peaceful means.

  12. For everyone who suffered the brutal violence and criminal acts.

    No one has the right to deprive anyone from their rights.

    Please read the above to see under the UN

    Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
    ^ Top

    Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Peace, Love and Light from Turkey

  13. You are all blind , have you not seen the way the New York police handled , the Wall Street protesters by tear gassing them and beating them with truncheons , why did you all not call for investigations then!!!
    The Turkish government was elected democratically, and if the Turks are not happy with the government , vote them out at the next election

    • so called democractic, buying votes and chating by use of voting engines is not accounting to democractic votes.

    • Actually you are blind.
      Keep your ideas for yourself…now at this very moment, hundreds of people are getting bombed with gas due this anormal police violation..this is fraking violance..police forces used to serve and protect citizens, not to beat and kick them.
      This ain't democracy right here in Turkey..
      This ain't my government, my PM, my bla bla..and yes, we will vote them out at next coming election. Nothing will be the same again from now on..you better try to understand that..and stop to disinform people..

    • How many times did you witness such a protest in Turkey? Wasn't Turkey democratic before?
      These people has a message, they are dying out there to speak to the government and the President. And this whole movement began out of nowhere, it was only an innocent movement of a dozen of environmentalists to protect a park which is absolutely legal and right! Police and authorities trying to turn this into a civil war. And the president you voted, he does not even bother to listen! All he does is threaten. Threaten the media, the people, even the private companies those announced to seize business to the media which unbelivabely did not display one single picture of what's going on in the streets. They showed documentaries of "life of the penguins" while the people was being tortured in the streets. You can vote for AKP again and it is your own moral and judgement even after all those things happened in YOUR and MY country!

  14. Dear All,

    I am dual natual Turkish-British, and a mechanical engineer who chooses to live in Turkey. I am asking for help from all big organizations to help us, as we have no media coverage as all are controlled by Tayyip Erdogan. The only communication we have with the outside world is Twitter and Facebook which are both to be banned and closed down soon in Turkey.

    It wasn't enough for the police to kill, injure and arrest so many people, they are now dressing up as civilians and using molotov cocktail, pretending they are terorists! All this is a very ugly game played on the real Turkish people. Please publish the links below if you could, we need every single help we can get. Please contact me via my email if you need more details/news.

    Thank you,

    Eylem Adams

  15. Here in London today on the radio they were saying (Radio Five Live which is a BBC radio) that the PM wanted to look good last night by announcing he intended to speak with the protestors….then this morning he backfired and ordered the use of tear gas….
    He is a self centred and obsessed individual – he doesnt care about his people very much like that other idiot of Assad in Syria….let's see if he keeps his promise now to ask all his supporters to come out and show everyone why they support him…
    Unfortunately where there is religion there are wars! This is not about a park or a shopping centre..I wouldnt want to be in the police arms at all….


  17. You are complain the Government to themselves .. I wish Amnesty just go help them. How they're complain, they Put Our lawyer jail too. something got to stop. No freedom of speech. there also.

  18. dont you think the people were happy before this all started..do you not care about your own people? your barbians..i..please stop hurting your own people..the world watching..and arent happy with what the see..thought you were more civilized than this..sheme..



  20. As human beings, we are all connected. We have been heavily tortured by the poliçe for the last 2 weeks and we have been tortured by the government for the last 11 years! I am one of the protesters, we never answered back against all the tear gas bullets aimed at us. Many people died, I saw people crushed by the Toma trucks (police trucks), many lost their eyes. I saw many crushed skulls. Last night we were at our tent talking, there was a computer engineer and one director on my side, one pregnant women with her husband on the other side. At 20.00 many tear gas bullets started to rain down on us! 2 grenades got into our tent, people were runing away, I saw a man holding his hear which was hardly hanging on his head. You cna see these on videos, all are proven. Think about what is happening when the cameras are not around!!! We are peaceful protestors but we have a fascist dictator! we hate him, we want justice and freedom! We do not want to play a role for the emperialists..we are human beings, we are people! People of the World, you are a part of this too…walk among us!

  21. Is DHKP-C would be terrorist when they attack to US embassy but freedom-lover when they attack to Turkey! ???

  22. The world is watching in shock and horror! Can only imagine how terrible this must be for those actually living there. Will share wherever I can.

  23. To the turkish government: don't be so cruel! Listen to the voices of all these young people! They are a part of turkish people and they are important for the future !

    Act in a democray way !

    Speeking, listening, be empathic and careful with the youth of your country !

  24. This protestes in Turkey are not only because of the "gezi park", but against all police departments, justice department and military department and for more civil courage.

  25. Nothing will be done, and your protest will be in vain. The people in power stay in power by the suppression of others. They have the technology and the ability to implement there end game objective. The United States will soon be in turmoil, that is why Homeland Security has roughly 1,300 armored vehicles and a billion dollars in ammunition. Governments don't buy things that they don't plan to use. The United States spends over three hundred million dollars in interest on the money they/we owe. With President Odumbo we are now at an all time high of people on Government assistance and most don't live a life worth living and simply shouldn't exist. Being a parasite shouldn't be rewarded.

  26. Sadism is the derivation of pleasure as a result of inflicting pain, cruelty, degradation, or humiliation, or, watching such behaviors inflicted on others. Turkey has a sadist prime minister!

  27. There will be no good in writing to either Turkish Embassy nor RT_Erdogan (PM). They are hard headed believing that the demonstrator are not real patriots and controlled by outside powers. They have an agenda and will proceed regardless who says what. During the demonstrations the Twitter and Facebook were only media to connect to the world. Now government insisting to close them to people too. Turkey needs world's attention now before it is too late. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jun/27/