News / Europe

Turkish Deputy PM Apologizes to Protesters

Turkish youths shout anti-government slogans as they march in Ankara, Turkey, June 4, 2013.
Turkish youths shout anti-government slogans as they march in Ankara, Turkey, June 4, 2013.
Dorian Jones
Thousands of Turkish anti-government protesters marched again Tuesday,  even after the deputy prime minister said the government has "learned its lesson."

Demonstrators filled central Ankara and the main square in Istanbul as night fell Tuesday, defying government appeals to end their protests.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said it was wrong to use "excessive force" against the marchers. But he refused to apologize to those who he says have destroyed property and interfered with people's freedom.
 
He said he was apologizing to the environmentally-minded protesters injured by police during a demonstration against government plans to demolish Gezi Park, adjacent to Istanbul's Taksim Square.

The nationwide unrest was sparked last Friday after police violently evicted demonstrators who were peacefully protesting against the planned redevelopment of one of the few parks in central Istanbul. The deputy prime minister also said he was prepared to meet with protestors.

He said he would find an opportunity to meet the youngsters who held the initial protest.

  • Riot police officers gather in central Ankara, Turkey, June 10, 2013.
  • An anti-government protester gestures during a demonstration in central Ankara, June 9, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters remove bricks from a sidewalk to build a barricade in central Ankara, June 9, 2013.
  • Riot police chase protesters at Kizilay Square in central Ankara, June 9, 2013.
  • Supporters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan listen to his speech at the Ankara airport, June 9, 2013.
  • Supporters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cheer upon his arrival at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, June 7, 2013.
  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters after arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, June 7, 2013.
  • Pedestrians walk among tents set up by protesters in Gezi park, Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 6, 2013.
  • People observe a destroyed urban bus with a destination sign that reads ''This bus goes to Dictator'' at Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 6, 2013.
  • Thousands of protesters gather for another rally at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, June 3, 2013.
  • Protesters carry the Turkish flag and shout anti-government slogans during a demonstration at Gezi Park near Taksim Squar, Istanbul, June 3, 2013.

The first reactions from demonstrators on Twitter and other social media have generally been skeptical. Many criticize the deputy prime minister for only condemning the police’s initial response to the protests and not the ongoing crackdown.

There were clashes in both Istanbul and the capital Ankara Monday night, with police using tear gas, water cannon and, according to some reports, plastic bullets. A 22-year-old protestor was shot dead in the southern city of Antakya near the Syrian border.

Many protestors are calling on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize. Much of the protesters' anger of the protests is direct against Erdogan, whom they accuse of acting in an increasingly authoritarian way. On Monday, during a visit to Morocco, the Turkish prime minister repeated his tough stance against the protestors, calling them "marginal" and claiming calm was returning to the country.

But pressure on the government continues to grow, with members of Turkey’s 240,000-strong public sector workers union launching a two-day nationwide strike Tuesday.

The leftist union is a strong critic of the government. Earlier this year, police raided its national offices, and dozens of its officials are on trial under the country’s anti-terrorism law.  

Observers warn the growing unrest has started to unnerve financial markets, and Turkey's stock market plunged on Monday. With no signs that the protesters are ready to quit, that nervousness could well continue.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: deniz from: diyarbakır
June 05, 2013 4:20 AM
People who participate in the demonstrations are mostly white Turks (the people belong to rich classes) and radical leftists. What make them ally are liberal economic politics and anti-Islamic feelings.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 04, 2013 10:31 PM
So this unrest was initiated by the disagreement of citizens to the revelopment of a park planned by the present Islamic government. Why demonstrators are against the plan? Is the plan related to Islam? Are they really marginal? How do they want to be the park? Is it a solution if PM puts off the redevelopment plan?

by: eyesopen from: Los Angeles
June 04, 2013 8:04 PM
He should apologise also for how his boss facilitated the flotilla to Gaza for his own political ends, putting people in harm's way, and placing Israel in an impossible situation. Erdogan destroyed the long history of good relations between the 2 countries, and poisoned the air with outrageous remarks. He was friends with Syria, before he switched direction, and Syria has always been a police state. Now, Turkey is inching towards being a police state, one that shows penguins on TV while there is blood in the streets.

by: Ahmet from: USA
June 04, 2013 5:13 PM
I want you to remind of that elitists/laicist/secularist minds/governments had persecuted over religious people for a long time in the past. They were looking for their rights making demonstrations such as right of education with their headscarf. They protested our government several times. But, you could not see any broken windows or official staffs. Generally, if leftist protestors join any demonstration, they begin to broke or fire everywhere. Lots of people were supporting the demonstration until some extremists or radicals or illegal groups join the demonstrations. Even our opposition party slowly started to recede its support. We can discuss each other. The protesters can protest our government. But lots of people support the government too. In arabic countries which live spring have just been kingdom who rule their countries by one person who gets the right from inborn for a long time. They do not have any democratic election or free speech. Yes, our prime minister has been electing three times by increasing his vote. And Turkish people can protest him and his party with the democratic ways, not violence. By the way, do not forget that Turkey is trying to solve PKK problem recently. Some countries do not want Turkey to solve that problem such as Iran etc. And today, Turkish police arrested Iranian agent who join among demonstrators in Ankara. Our secret intelligent (police and mit institutions) explained that around 250 secret agents joint among protestors. Some of them were arrested by Turkish authorities. By the way, first protestors who demand not to cut trees sued against some protestors firing or breaking or damaging public prosperities. You should know that the issue is not tree. Because this government have planted billions trees across the country. And you know, Koc University gave their students to join protestation by canceling their final exams. The same university cut lots of trees to establish their campus when Erdogan was mayor in Istanbul end of 1990s. Erdogan did not give any permission, but central government supported them at that time. These problems are like joke. But their real problems are different. As a result, you can not see any supporter behind arabic leader except police and army, but you can see lots of civilians (perhaps majority) supporting Turkish politician leaders. That is why social media rumors affected our people only two days, later they have recognized the play...

by: Kasam Ugliq from: Turkey
June 04, 2013 3:13 PM
hey Hasan... the bloodshed has already begun... look we put all of this on "you tube" - don't say you didn't know - because its all over the internet... Erdogan and his Muslim brotherhood terrorist organization must go... NOW... !!!
before Turkey becomes like Libya... we are not afraid
In Response

by: Goldie
June 04, 2013 7:48 PM
The whole world supports you, we in Egypt pray you topple that snake, and hopefully we can do the same. God speed

by: Hasan Gezi from: Turkey
June 04, 2013 1:25 PM
hey America it wasn't a "shopping Mall" that was about to be built... it was another filthy Mosque...!!! we are ruled not by the Turkish people will but by a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization... do'nt tell me they are changing "tactics" on us - its insulting to Turks... the Muslim Brotherhood Government must leave Turkey NOW!!! before bloodshed begins...

by: sam from: Accra
June 04, 2013 9:39 AM
If such brutish force could be used against citizens because trees need to be pulled down and shopping malls build, then how would it be if the call was for the government to step down?
Any lessons from Syria?

by: Emel from: Diyarbakır
June 04, 2013 7:41 AM
It's as if all the turkey you show in protest.

by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
June 04, 2013 7:41 AM
its very wrong when the government just gets irritated and hence become wild because it has just seen some faces of opposition party members amongst the crowd as if they are not members of the public..infact,if governing party members have chosen to be ignorant,then they are someones slaves.

In Response

by: osman from: konya
June 04, 2013 10:58 AM
I think a government should be able to use excessive force to whom is damaging environment , claiming that they intend to protect trees and intend to protest government. What they damaged is public propety and government was selected to improve and protect our country against to both internal and external attack. Addition to that it is certain that they get some support from outside of country. Because Our government steped forward finishing kurdish problem

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More