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POLITICS > Turkish PM accuses CHP of abusing student protests

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

The main opposition CHP and the media are encouraging student violence, PM Erdoğan alleges as controversy over protests at ODTÜ continue

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Thousand of students marhced at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) yesterday as ODTÜ rector Ahmet Acar met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (inset photo) and President Abdullah Gül. The banner carried by the students during the march read ‘ODTÜ is Standing, Resisting [the] AKP.’ DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Thousand of students marhced at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) yesterday as ODTÜ rector Ahmet Acar met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (inset photo) and President Abdullah Gül. The banner carried by the students during the march read ‘ODTÜ is Standing, Resisting [the] AKP.’ DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday maintained his harsh language over last week’s student protests during his visit to the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) just hours before he met with ODTÜ rector Ahmet Acar. He attempted to legitimize the police violence at the ODTÜ campus by suggesting that it was students who had provoked the police in the first place to use disproportionate force. At the same time as Erdoğan’s meeting with the rector, students in several cities staged demonstrations to protest rectors who sided with Erdoğan over student protests.

While reiterating his resentment over academics’ support of the students at ODTÜ, Erdoğan blamed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for praising violence and provoking student protests. “God forbid, if another political party puts its own masses in front of those students, what will the CHP chair then say, how will he give account of his irresponsibility?” Erdoğan said, while calling on the CHP and the media to avoid exploiting the student protests.

His remarks came ahead of a meeting with ODTÜ’s Acar, who had criticized the police, saying they were responsible for the violence, in the aftermath of Erdoğan’s visit to the ODTÜ campus to witness the launch of Turkey’s first-ever domestically produced satellite, Göktürk-2.

According to media reports Acar requested an appointment from the prime minister after Erdoğan heavily criticized the former and his academic staff for supporting the students. Ahead of the meeting, the ODTÜ rector said the prime minister had been misinformed about the situation.

After meeting with Erdoğan, Acar made no comments to reporters regarding the meeting. Acar also met with President Abdullah Gül yesterday. Like the meeting with Erdoğan, Acar had requested the meeting with Gül.

Erdoğan slammed the attitude of the media following the clashes between police forces and students protesting his visit to the campus. “The media have been patting the backs of those students for the past 10 days,” Erdoğan said. “They are acting like [the students’] lawyers. They bless that protest. And then as if all of that isn’t enough, the leader of the opposition comes forth and praises the violence, inciting it.”

Swiftly responding to Erdoğan, CHP deputy chair Gürsel Tekin condemned the premier. “We know that Mr. Prime Minister lost his composure due to the latest developments, he might have delivered such a speech for this reason,” Tekin told reporters.

Students stage protests in several cities

Meanwhile, following a march on the campus, around 3,000 ODTÜ students flocked into the Devrim (Revolution) Stadium on campus to protest disproportionate use of force by the police against students on Dec. 18.

Inside the stadium, some of the students clasped in each other’s arms and formed with their bodies the words “ODTÜ is afoot.”

Afterward bands and singers, most of whom are known to perform protest music, took the stage at the stadium in a show of support for the students. Students from Ankara University and Hacettepe University also joined the protest.

In a related development, students at Istanbul’s Galatasaray University staged a demonstration protesting the university’s rector, who signed a joint declaration condemning the student protests at ODTÜ. Students gathered in the rector’s office building, and rector Ethem Tolga had not yet been able to exit the building when the Hürriyet Daily News went to print.

December/28/2012

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READER COMMENTS

Notice on comments

Faruk Beisser

12/28/2012 9:41:17 AM

Yes, yes, yes, arrest all including CHP and put them in the concentration camp Silivri!!! How dare, how DARE anyone even think of criticizing the Great Leader? And of course, the Gülen police is always defending itself beforehand to prevent being ''attacked'' by those violent, while peaceful, protestors. Yes, being peaceful is the greatest violence for the police!

Rimon Tree

12/28/2012 9:24:07 AM

It seems that the Turkish intelligentia is awakening after all! Great days to come? BB, don't you have another "good news" for Sultan on that topic? He might need them!

Rorschach ~

12/28/2012 3:40:29 AM

Of course...... It's always somebody else's fault.......

Fr Grey

12/28/2012 1:57:30 AM

(cont'd) Lastly, rectors have rights to speak. We should judge their content logically based on facts, rather than saying they are speaking for PM spinelessly. Imagination should be logically verified by facts. I know my comment may not be accepted by many readers. Please judge in logical ways, not some beliefs.

Fr Grey

12/28/2012 1:53:40 AM

(cont'd) Such students' movements are easily being used by the political parties/politicians. Sometimes, being used by other countries! They just hoped students to do something for them, which cannot be legally done by themselves. An trivial and obvious observation: the party/politicians who praised you did not protest. Why didn't they do so if they really think it is correct. Knowledgable students should think of this, both politically and scientifically. (to be continued)

Fr Grey

12/28/2012 1:42:26 AM

I still use my previous comment:[ I am not sure whether all students are innocent to the accuse "overshadow the success of the country". Are you sure? The students did choose the particular date, time, and place. Statistically, it is difficult to say they were chosen by random. If they want to produce a better effect during the progress of a special ceremony, they should prepare to be accused. In English, "overshadow" is a mild word, compared with "disrespect, dishonour .."] (to be cont'd)
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