Duvar English / Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the brutal killing of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd by the police, calling the officers’ actions part of an “inhumane mentality.”
Floyd died on May 27 as a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as he lay on the ground, moaning, “please, I can’t breathe.”
Four city police officers involved in the incident were fired from their jobs the next day as protests erupted across the country condemning violence against blacks.
The Floyd case was reminiscent of the 2014 killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man in New York City who died after being put in a banned police chokehold as he, too, was heard to mutter, “I can’t breathe.”
Garner’s dying words became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement that formed amid a wave of killings of African-Americans by police.
Erdoğan called the police attitude in the killing of Floyd “racist and fascist,” saying the killing became “one of the most painful manifestations of the unjust order we stand against across the world.”
“Turkey always stands against all attacks targeting humanity, no matter where, under what pretext or in what form they are committed,” Erdoğan said.
“We will continue to fight to protect the rights of all of humanity without any discrimination based on race, color, religion, language or faith in line with our Prophet’s principle, ‘a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white,'” the president added.
Turkey has experienced increased police brutality since the 2013 Gezi Park protests that started as an environmentalist protest that snowballed into a months-long anti-government movement.
More than 20 people died as a result of the violence that erupted between police and protesters in the events, including 15-year-old Berkin Elvan who got hit in the head with a police gas canister when he was out to buy bread.
Elvan’s death has become a symbol of police violence and systematic impunity in Turkey.