Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR
Turkish police killed 92 children in the past 13 years, counted among a total of 404 civilians law enforcement murdered in the same time frame, a recent report by police brutality monitoring organization Baran Tursun Foundation for European Union-funded ETKINIZ Project revealed.
Legal amendments to the Turkish police code of conduct in 2007 and 2015 increased officers' authority to use firearms, the report noted, adding that the shocking number of deaths were a result of "officers' lack of reluctance to deploy" weapons.
"Police used their weapons almost as a first resort by misinterpreting the principles of reasonable doubt, intuition and eventuality," the foundation said in the report.
Police's legal authority to deploy firearms has created the possibility for the defense of "we were just doing our job" when they fatally shoot a suspect, the report noted, adding that this mentality placed Turkey among countries with a high rate of police killings.
"Police killed 92 children under 18 between 2007 and 2020, along with 70 women and 214 men," Baran Tursun Foundation reported.
Some 13 of the children police killed died as a result of being hit by armored police vehicles, 10 were killed because they were the target of law enforcement's gas canisters, and three were battered to death in police stations.
'Camera off' in deaths under police custody
Separately, the foundation reported that some 29 people had died under Turkish police custody between 2007 and 2017, noting that the security cameras were said to be dysfunctional in all incidents.
"In this situation, it was impossible to prosecute or investigate the detention centers, facilitating impunity for the mistreatment and deaths," the report said.
In addition, police have often filed retaliatory lawsuits against the families of victims who tried to prosecute the officers for their crimes, Baran Tursun Foundation said.
'Officers should be removed from post'
The foundation suggested the state remove police officers from duty if they're the topic of an investigation for a violation of the right to life, and discouraged any promotions for the officers in question.
Baran Tursun Foundation also urged prosecutors to seek murder charges against police officers who were found to be in violation of the right to life and said that investigations should be carried out not by the police but the gendarmerie to ensure a credible process.
The report also urged the state to prevent any retaliatory action against families of the victims of police brutality.