Turkish PM vows to prevent all ‘unauthorized street protests’
AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has vowed that the government will not tolerate demonstrations in the street “whoever they are and whatever their intent is,” while slamming elements of the media and the opposition over the March 31 killing of a prosecutor.
“There will be no toleration, not even for a minute, of those who go out [to protest] on the street without permission, threatening the country’s security, whoever they are and whatever their intent is,” Davutoğlu said on April 1 at the massive funeral for slain prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who was taken hostage by two assailants before being killed during their confrontation with the police in Istanbul.
According to Article 34 of the Turkish Constitution, “Everyone has the right to hold unarmed and peaceful meetings and demonstration marches without prior permission.”
“We have decided to take certain precautions after provocative acts in some Istanbul streets following what these terrorists, these murderers, these cowards did yesterday,” Davutoğlu added.
Media targeted again
The prime minister also slammed several media outlets on the grounds that they printed pictures of two assailants holding a gun to the prosecutor’s head.
“I openly say that it was me who gave the instruction for the implementation of the accreditation. I am ready to take the brunt of all criticisms,” Davutoğlu told reporters on April 1 after the funeral in Istanbul. He was referring to the fact that reporters from certain media outlets were not given permission to cover the funeral because they had printed pictures that could be “used as tools of propaganda by terrorists.”
The Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC) criticized the imposition of accreditation on media outlets, underlining that it was against the freedom of press.
“What is more important than press freedom is human dignity. Everybody will respect this dignity. What is as important as press freedom is the respect shown to the funeral and the grieving of the people. Another issue as important as press freedom is for it not to be a tool of propaganda used by terrorists who threaten the future of the country,” Davutoğlu said.
“Some media outlets have shown perverseness by printing these pictures even with the family’s pain so recent. These media outlets have no right to attend this funeral. I have not even seen any human sensitivity in some media organizations. They should have thought whether their actions would serve the interests of terrorists,” he added.
Terrorists linked abroad
Without giving detail about the police operation against the two assailants, Şafak Yayla and Bahtiyar Doğruyol, Davutoğlu stated that they had discovered international phone calls made by the two gunmen, purportedly showing their link to circles abroad.
“We have been closely following these details since last night [March 31]. We have given instructions for any operation against those involved with this incident, wherever they may be hiding. No one should think this heinous attack will not be responded to … Freedoms will be protected. Our people have realized this attack was a trap,” he added.
Opposition should have attended funeral
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu also criticized two opposition leaders, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Devlet Bahçeli of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), for not turning up to the funeral.
“I call on politicians to review [their choices]. Bahçeli and Kılıçdaroğlu were not here. Those who do not stand with the people in their painful days cannot play a role in their future,” he said.