Ankara slams French police violence, Western media over reform protests

Ankara slams French police violence, Western media over reform protests

Ankara slams French police violence, Western media over reform protests

A demonstrator looks on as riot police arrest protestors on May 26, 2016 in Nantes, western France, during a protest against government planned labour law reforms. AFP photo

Turkey has slammed French security forces’ violent response to protesters who took to the streets across the country to protest controversial labor reforms.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the violence of French police against protesters, as well as Western media for not covering the events, on May 30.

“I am also concerned and worried about the incidents happening in Paris right now. I condemn the violence of French police against people who use their right to protest and Western media that do not cover the incidents,” Erdoğan said, during an event in the Esenler district of Istanbul.

The president also criticized Western media organizations over their indifference to the protests, calling on human rights organizations and politicians to be more sensitive on the issue.

“Today, Paris and Brussels are burning. There are also very serious protests, incidents and acts happening in other Western cities. Media organizations that dwelled in Istanbul three years ago and almost live broadcasted non-stop in fact have turned a blind eye and remained deaf and mute to those events,” Erdoğan said, referring to the intense media coverage during the Gezi Park protests, which marked their third year on May 28.

Earlier on May 30, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç voiced Ankara’s concern over French security forces’ “harsh” intervention against protesters, calling on authorities to refrain from using disproportionate force.

“We call on French authorities and those who attend demonstrations for moderation for the settlement of the incidents as soon as possible. We are also concerned about French security forces’ interventions against demonstrators that are becoming increasingly harsh and invite authorities to refrain from using disproportionate force. We believe that all necessary measures will quickly be taken by the French authorities in order to return [the situation] to a calm environment and that those demonstrations will be staged in a peaceful way in line with democratic standards,” Bilgiç said on May 30, adding that Ankara was closely following the latest developments.

Bilgiç also noted that Turkey believed in the necessity of dialogue in democracies.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Paris and across the country on May 27 to protest a controversial labor reform bill, as powerful trade unions put up a show of force against the government’s refusal to scrap reforms aimed at boosting employment.

According to the government, the law was aimed at reducing high unemployment and making France more business friendly. Key parts of the legislation would let companies set their own working conditions for new employees, allowing managers to cut jobs during hard times and go beyond the 35-hour work week introduced in 2000, as reported by Agence France-Presse.