Special to WorldTribune.com
ANKARA — Turkey’s Islamist government is facing scruting over its purchase of an unmanned aerial vehicle designed to battle civilian protesters.
The opposition has questioned the government over its purchase of the Skunk Riot Copter. The copter, produced by South Africa’s Desert Wolf, was designed to fire a range of non-lethal balls to disperse crowds.
“What is the list of the vehicles and materials that have been purchased
to be used in the case of riots in 2014 up until June 20 and how much have
they cost,” parliamentarian Sezgin Tanrikulu, a member of the opposition
Republican People’s Party, asked.
In a question to Interior Minister Efkan Ala, Tanrikulu raised the
prospect that the government would use Skunk to quell the current wave of
unrest. Human rights groups have criticized Ankara for what they termed the
harsh repression of anti-government demonstrations.
Skunk, which contains a thermal camera, is said to contain a payload
that included paintballs, pepper balls and high pressure carbon fiber air
system. The UAV was also equipped with lasers, strobe lights and
loudspeakers for crowd control.
Officials have acknowledged that Turkey was acquiring a huge amount of
anti-riot equipment from foreign countries, including the United States. In
June, Germany said it was restricting security exports to Turkey.