Gezi Park protests similar to Occupy movement, not Middle East uprisings: President Gül
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
President Abdullah Gül admitted June 4 that 'There may be people who think that no one asks them about what happens in Istanbul' regarding Taksim Gezi Park. AA photo
The protests sparked by outrage over the demolition of a park in Istanbul, which spread to cities across Turkey, recall the Occupy protests in the West rather than uprisings in the Middle East, President Abdullah Gül said June 4.
"Someone who lives in London can perceive the situation differently. I'm watching [the events] closely too. But what happens in Turkey is completely different compared with what happens in the Middle East. These are countries where there are no free elections, where the peoples will is not reflected [in the ballot box] and the courts are not up to Western standards," Gül said during a meeting with Turkey's International Investors Association (YASED).
The president, who personally intervened to appease the tension following violent clashes between police and protesters, stressed that Turkey was a country currently in an accession process to the European Union, and could not regress back. He said it had democratic institutions that were healthy, but admitted that after 10 years in power the government may cause some reactions among dissidents.
"There may be those who don't approve of the [government's] actions. There are times when politics in Turkey can hurt feelings, so they may get hurt. There may be people who think that no one asks them about what happens in Istanbul," Gül said.
He added that he acknowledged that people were protesting about trees and because of fears the government was interfering in their lifestyles, and said all such issues were problems also seen in Western countries. "Two years ago in London, cars were burned and shops were looted because of similar reasons. During revolts in Spain due to the economic crisis, people filled the squares. The Occupy Wall Street movement continued for months in the United States. What happens in Turkey is similar to these countries," Gül said.
He also added that violence and police excess were "under control." "Don't be concerned about Turkey's future. We are a predictable country, both economically and politically. Stability will continue," Gül said.