Turkish Police Potentially Violated Geneva Protocol with Overuse of Tear Gas

Turkish police forces may have violated the Geneva protocol by overusing tear gas against citizens and health care workers, some of whom were engaged in a protest against the government. The conflict began in May of 2013, when environmentalists gathered in Istanbul to protest the government’s intended destruction of Gezi Park. According to a letter of protest, signed by 25 scientists and 4 Nobel laureates, over the last two months the overuse of tear gas in confined spaces has resulted in 8,000 hospital admissions and 61 life-threatening injuries. Also, tear gas has been thrown directly into hospitals that have tried to treat injured protesters, purportedly to intimidate nurses and doctors. The Geneva protocol is strict regarding the use of asphyxiating substances during such conflicts.

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