Six Turkish policemen committed suicide during protests, report says
Riot police stand ready to confront protesters during a demonstration in Ankara on June 5, 2013.
Six Turkish policemen have committed suicide since anti-government demonstrations started in the country, a report says.
Faruk Sezer, the head of the police union Emniyet-Sen, claimed that the police forces have been suffering extensively due to being forced to work under ‘severe conditions,’ Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Sunday.
The Turkey unrest was triggered by the police violence against an environmental protest at Istanbul's Taksim Square on May 31. Turkish police have come under strong criticism for using excessive force against peaceful protests.
However, Sezer said the violence seen during the unrest “at the end is the reflection of the violence suffered by the policemen,” adding, “the police are already subjected to violence within the establishment.”
On Sunday, thousands of protesters continued to stage anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul, Ankara and the western city of Izmir for the 10th consecutive day, while Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held his own support rallies, hitting three cities in one day.
Earlier in the day, Erdogan denounced his opponents as “looters”, “anarchists”, and “terrorists”, urging his supporters to respond to protests by voting for his ruling party in local elections next year in the city of Adana.
He has faced international condemnation for his handling of the anti-Ankara protests, which soon spread to nearly 80 cities across Turkey and solidified into calls for Erdogan’s resignation.
On June 7, the Turkish premier called for an immediate end to the demonstrations in the country and said the government was open to “democratic demands,” adding that the demonstrations were “bordering on vandalism.”