ANKARA - Hürriyet
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a fast-breaking dinner organized by the riot police sub-directorate in Ankara, July 24. AA photo
There has been constant "dark propaganda" on media outlets and social media networks about the Turkish police’s attitude during the ongoing Gezi Park protests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
said, addressing members of security forces in Ankara
“We are frequently witnessing attempts at defaming our police in the media and social media through dark propaganda. [Turkish] people know very well their police, and we only care about what people say. It is not the headlines of some newspapers that we care about, but the headlines of our people,” he said, praising the security forces’ attitude during the demonstrations.
“You have responded with huge democratic patience to street incidents that took place in our cities in the last two months. Western police couldn’t do it,” he said, adding that the police’s attitude towards citizens in Western countries was "much more backward" compared to that of the Turkish police,
“Here there is a hand of affection, while [in Western countries] there is an iron fist. But they do their PR well. They also try to do everything they can to defame the Turkish security forces,” Erdoğan said during the fast-breaking dinner organized by the riot police sub-directorate.
Erdoğan also acknowledged that some errors had been committed during the nationwide wave of Gezi Park protests, but stressed that the government would not let “the entire police forces be blamed by putting forward those who made mistakes.”
Erdoğan argued that police’s patience had been tested with all sorts of “provocations.” “We don’t regard the brain-paralyzed mindset that insults this country’s police without feeling shame, but the feelings of the people. We don’t regard those who call to our police to disobey the orders, but what our people say,” he said.
“They can do any improper action to provoke you, but you should give them a lesson by acting lawfully, with civility and morals. The indecent are afraid of civility, don’t forget that.”
Erdoğan also said that the police had become an organization that put the individual above the state under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
“In democratic countries the police exists to protect the rights of the individuals, rather than the state. In 10 and a half years, this is the transformation for which we endeavored,” he said, emphasizing that AKP had ended torture and all sort of ill-treatment.
“If you protect the state against its citizens, this state becomes cruel and poised to collapse. A state that sees its own citizens as a threat is a cruel and tyrannical state. We can’t have such a perspective,” he said.
The nearly two-month-long protests that were sparked by the redevelopment project of Istanbul's Gezi Park spread mostly due to the violent police crackdowns against demonstrators. Erdoğan had rejected criticismd, describing police's actions during the protests as a "heroic saga."