Gov't to meet Istanbul park protest organisers

Turkish Acting Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that they would review democratic demands of protesters. Arinc also said he would meet some of the original organisers of a protest to save a park in Istanbul.

Gov't to meet Istanbul park protest organisers

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkish Acting Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Tuesday,"Our and Turkish people's common wish is towards a dominating peace, safety and common sense on the streets. I'm happy to say that the protests, involving violence and vandalism, have lost steam in the last two days."

Turkish Acting Prime Minister Bulent Arinc held a press meeting at noon on the latest developments in Turkey about the ongoing Taksim Gezi Park protests.

"There is a need to clearly communicate to remove confusion in people's minds. In line with this, today we will meet with the associations and representatives of those who opened the lawsuit ... to learn their views," Arinc told a news conference.

Arinc said that they were respectful to all reactions against the government and they would review the democratic demands of the protesters.

Arinc also underscored the need for all Turkish citizens and all parties to calm down and called for restraint in the face of provacations.

Detailing the recent number of casualties and the total loss, Arinc noted that "The total cost of Taksim Gezi Park protests is over TL 70 million."

"244 police officers and 64 protesters were injured across Turkey. Unfortunately, a young citizen, Abdullah Comert, lost his life during protests in southern Hatay province," told Arinc.

"Police have struggled against both provocation and for their life safety since the previous days of the demonstrations."

Arinc said that the initial protests triggered by environmental concerns were "rightful and legitimate" and it was natural that people claim their rights by protests but only in a democratic and peaceful manner.

He converyed that the "Innocent and democratic reactions of our citizens are being exploited by marginal and illegal groups."

Pointing out the damage caused by extremists and vandals who dragged the protests into violence, Arinc said, "Across Turkey, 110 police vehicles were damaged and 207 civil vehicles were torched. Some threw stones at ambulances and harrassed citizens, trying to restrain human rights and freedoms."

Acting PM Arinc: "I apologize for the police aggression against our citizens who were involved in the initial protests and acted with environmental concerns."

Hinting at the possible faulty acts and discourse of Turkish government towards the incidents, Arinc expressed the need for the government to well-assess the incidents and criticize itself.

"The ruling people in democracies should act and speak in more constructive and encompassing way," noted Arinc.

Arinc highlighted that the protests were actually launched by citizens with innocent and democratic concerns over the environment, unfortunately it turned into an organized violence by marginal groups. 

Arinc also called upon Istanbul Municipality to act on consensus with the residents of Istanbul for the planned projects and hold a referendum if necessary. "I would support a municipal referendum for the (Topcu) barracks project in Taksim."

Answering a question on United States Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks on Taksim Gezi park protests and incidents, Arinc stressed that "(US Secretary of State) Kerry or others; the likes of what is happening in Turkey also happen in dozens of instances in their respective countries. We expect them to diagnose and react to the happenings in Turkey in the same way that they do to similar incidents in their societies."

Turkish President Abdullah Gul received Arinc at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara, earlier today. The meeting was closed to the press and lasted 45 minutes.

Arinc is serving as the acting prime minister as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan left for Morocco on Monday and is set to have talks in Algeria on Tuesday.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Haziran 2013, 10:50