Ankara seeks to contain Occupy Taksim wildfire

Ankara seeks to contain Occupy Taksim wildfire

Ankara seeks to contain Occupy Taksim wildfire

'Our citizens showed their legitimate, logical and righteous reaction at Gezi Park,' Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was abroad for a tour of north African countries, Turkey’s head of state and other political leaders were in contact with each other on a whirlwind day of intense efforts in the capital city of Ankara, in a bid to sooth the unrest in dozens of cities across the country.

A hectic June 4 saw all parties issuing reconciliatory messages in unison, beginning with President Abdullah Gül’s meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç in the morning. Gül had initiated the meeting with Arınç, as the latter is substituting for Prime Minister Erdoğan during his absence from the country. 

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Arınç described it as “positive.” As an apparent result of all these efforts, members of the Taksim Platform are expected today [June 5] to meet Arınç as a group.

Respect for lifestyles

By noon, speaking at a press conference, Arınç was offering an apology to those citizens who were victims of the excessive use of force during the initial police raids at Gezi Park. He spoke in a fairly conciliatory tone, emphasizing the government’s “respect for different lifestyles,” which is a frequently voiced reason allegedly behind the country-wide protests. 

“Of course, not everyone has to vote for us, but we are sensitive towards the demands and expectations of those that do not vote for us. The responsibility of each of our citizens is on us, the most basic human rights, freedoms, and lifestyles of our citizens are our responsibility. We are open to all reactions, all demands within democratic culture and the legal framework,” Arınç said. He thanked the opposition parties for their stance on the issue, saying “We appreciate the approach of the MHP [the Nationalist Movement Party] since the beginning of the events, and we thank them.”

He repeated the same for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), but took a more reserved approach against the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). 

Arınç apologized to those injured in the initial phase of the protests. “In that first event, the excessive demonstration of violence against those acting with environmental sensitivity was wrong and unfair. I apologize to those citizens. I can easily say that, but I do not think we owe an apology to those who destroyed the streets,” he said.