Prime Minister Erdoğan blesses Turkish police for ‘heroic’ action during Gezi unrest
Erdoğan said the police had been 'quite tolerant' of the protests since they began almost one month ago. AA photo
A graduation ceremony at the Police Academy offered a unique opportunity to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to hail and encourage the national police, as he said the police forces had written a “heroic saga” during the Gezi Park interventions.
“We will not let circles who have been adversaries of Turkey or international and national media to wear down our police. I and my government congratulate our police wholeheartedly. On behalf of my country and nation, I would like to thank all my police siblings for standing up against incidents that have been going on for weeks, with sacrifice and patriotism,” Erdoğan said in a speech delivered at the ceremony on June 24.
Erdoğan also asserted that the police countered the protests within the scope of law, despite cases of attacks and provocation that would never be tolerated in another country, as he called the actions of the police “a heroic saga.”
The prime minister has repeatedly and constantly defied criticism leveled against the police for brutality against protesters during the Gezi Park unrest, despite the fact that the excessive use of police force during the unrest in the country since May 3 has resulted in the deaths of three protesters and one police officer and the injury of nearly 5,000 people.
“Like I expressed before, our police have passed a very important, a very challenging democracy test with success,” Erdoğan said, adding that the police had been following orders within the authority granted to them, as much as fulfilling their duty within the scope of law and legitimacy, with great success.
“Sustaining such a long-term struggle without disrupting its solemnity and its discipline for 48 hours, while remaining hungry and thirsty, I am saying this clearly, is a task only our police can achieve. As the prime minister of a government that has extended freedoms to this extent, increased the standards of democracy and done so many reforms, I am expressing this with all my heart and all my sincerity: We are a government that says ‘zero tolerance to torture.’ We are a government that changed, democratized our police’s rules of intervention into incidents and of custody and interrogation. If our police made a mistake, we would say it openheartedly and do what was required. However, nobody, regardless of who they are, whether a lawmaker or someone, has the right to swear at and insult our police,” Erdoğan said, adding that the actions of the police were admirable.