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Press briefing notes on Turkey

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Location: Geneva
Date: 4 June 2013

1) Turkey

We are concerned about reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers against protestors who initially gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the redevelopment of the historic Taksim square - an important venue for political protests - and Gezi Park, and against others who joined demonstrations to support them throughout Turkey.

We welcome the acknowledgment on the part of authorities that disproportionate force may have been used and their call for an investigation of law enforcement officers who are alleged to have broken the law and violated international human rights standards. Such investigations should be prompt, thorough, independent and impartial, and perpetrators should be brought to justice.

There have also been reports that a high number of people have been arrested and dozens have been injured throughout Turkey. All those injured must have prompt access to medical care and human rights safeguards during arrest and detention must be upheld to avoid unlawful or arbitrary detentions.

We call on the Government of Turkey to ensure that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is fully respected and urge protestors to ensure that demonstrations remain peaceful.

We encourage the authorities to enter into a genuine dialogue with the civil society, including neighbourhood associations, on the urban projects in the Taksim square and Gezi park.

ENDS

For more information or media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org); Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 93 10 / cpouilly@ohchr.org);or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9434 / ethrossell@ohchr.org)

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