Turkish Protests Witness Severe Health Violations: Doctors, Nobel Laureates Denounce Maltreatment Of Emergency Healthworkers [GRAPHIC VIDEO]

Turkish Protests
An international panel of health specialists convened in NYC yesterday to condemn the aggressive use of tear gas by police forces against medical personnel and demonstrators during recent Turkish protests. BBC | YouTube

Yesterday, public health experts met at the New School in New York City (Facebook, Tumblr) to issue a letter of protest against possible human rights violations perpetrated by Turkish police forces against health care workers during the nation's recent demonstrations.

"We call upon the Turkish government to obey international law in the treatment of protesters and those providing medical treatment to them, and to start a good-faith dialogue with the protest movement," stated the letter of dissent, which was signed by 25 scientists, including four Nobel laureates.

The unrest has lingered in the Turkish city of Istanbul since May 28, which began with a peaceful protest by 50 environmentalists at Gezi Park, which had been slated for demolition by the Turkish government. Nearly two months later, the police continue to detain and arrest protestors on a daily basis.

Citing the reports from Turkish Medical Association, the letter states over 8,000 hospital admissions have been recorded, including five deaths and 61 life-threatening injuries.

The panel's main grievances focus on the overuse of tear gas in confined spaces, which can cause severe skin burns and irritation of the throat, lung, and eyes. One protester has even lost an eye during the confrontations.

Tear Gas Burn Victim [BBC, Warning: Graphic]

Tear gas has also been tossed into hospitals to intimidate doctors and nurses trying to treat injured protestors.

Both practices may be in violation of the Geneva protocol, which has strict rules on the use of asphyxiating gas during conflicts. Footage of the event has shocked many Turkish citizens and upset human rights and health officials across the globe.

"More than 4000 academics around the world have already signed a petition to protest the police brutality," concluded the panel.

Video from the conference will be made available here later.

 

Source: Altindis E, Alpar MA, Aksay E, et al. Turkey Must End Violent Response to Protests. Science. 2013.

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