"Democracy is not just about elections," Turkish President Abdullah Gül said. AA photo
Democracy is not just about elections, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said today in response to the ongoing Gezi Park protests, adding that the message was received by authorities.
“If there are objections, there is nothing more natural than voicing them,” Gül said. “Everyone should show restraint. All the messages with good intentions were received, and what is necessary will be done.
“Democracy is not just about elections,” he said.
Gül added that Turkey was an “open society” where “everyone should feel free in their own country.” He also stated that the objections should be voiced through peaceful means.
Gül however warned the public of the danger of “illegal organizations” taking over the protests, saying, “Illegal organizations may intervene from now on. Turkey’s democracy has been tested; it is now time to remain calm.”
President Abdullah Gül intervened on June 1 to stop the police crackdown in Taksim, urging “sensitivity and maturity” to calm the five-day-long tensions down.
Gül called the Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, Interior Minister Muammer Güler and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He urged moderation, saying that the situation was “very sensitive.”
Hours later the police withdrew from Taksim Square, giving way to a large crowd which wanted to walk into the Gezi Park. The clashes eased after the move, before heating up once again last night.