Recovering Turkey’s image will take time after Gezi protests, says Deputy PM
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
‘There has been serious damage done to the perception of Turkey abroad,’ Deputy Prime Minister Babacan says. REUTERS photoThe Gezi Park incidents seriously damaged Turkey’s image, which will take a long time to recover, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said on Sept. 27.
“There has been serious damage done to the perception of Turkey abroad. I don’t think this is damage that can be recovered in a few months. It will take some time for Turkey to regain its good image,” Babacan told broadcaster Bloomberg HT on Sept. 27.
He said the protests that started with environmental concerns changed with the involvement of many illegal groups.
With regard to the Gezi protests’ economic effects, Babacan said the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed) policy change and the general picture in global finance had a major effect on Turkey’s economy in the past four months. However, he added that the Gezi incidents also had “additional affect” on the fluctuating economic trend.
“The major reason for the fluctuation in Turkey’s market is the global picture, which is affecting all other countries. But we must admit that the second reason is the Gezi incidents, which had additional influence. When perception is harmed, investors’ decisions and reactions [change]. But we should not forget that the real influence was global markets,” said Babacan.
The Gezi Park protests, which started at the end of May against a redevelopment plan in the part next to central Istanbul’s Taksim Square, turned into nationwide unrest that lasted nearly two months.
Six protesters were killed during the incidents in Turkey this summer, Ahmet Atakan (22), Abdullah Cömert (22), Ali İsmail Korkmaz (19), Ethem Sarısülük (26), Mehmet Ayvalıtaş (20) and Medeni Yıldırım (18). Police officer Mustafa Sarı also died after falling from a bridge while pursuing fleeing protesters in Adana. Nearly 7,500 people have been injured, according to the Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB).
On May 31 police launched a violent dawn operation on occupying protesters in Gezi and dispersed a few hundred protesters from the park with tear gas and water cannon while burning their tents. The protests then spread across Turkey and continued for nearly two months.