EU, US repeat calls for restraint over protests in Turkey

EU, US repeat calls for restraint over protests in Turkey

EU, US repeat calls for restraint over protests in Turkey

EU foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton. AA Photo

Representatives from the European Union and the United States government both released statements in the early hours of June 3 amid ongoing Gezi Park clashes overnight, calling for restraint on the part of police forces and protesters alike.

EU foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton tackled the issue in a recently released statement, in which she expressed “deep concern” and “regret” regarding the police brutality experienced on the streets.

According to her statement, Ashton “expressed deep concern at the violence that occurred in Istanbul and some other cities in Turkey, and regrets disproportionate use of force by members of the Turkish police,” AFP reported.

“Dialogue should be opened to find a peaceful solution to this issue,” Ashton’s statement further said.

President of the European Parliament commented on the events through his Twitter account, saying, "severity with which the police responded is completely disproportionate and will lead only to expansion of the protests."

A similar reaction came from the White House on June 3, only several days after the U.S. government spokeswoman Laura Lucas had voiced concerns over the clashes, with the second statement repeating the call to “exercise restraint,” describing the public demonstrations as “a part of democratic expression.”

The statement also called on public authorities to act responsibly and with restraint.

The official U.S. statement followed Envoy Francis Ricciardone’s remarks that were tweeted twice by the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.

“Of course, nobody could be happy to see those saddening images. I am not happy either. I wish a speedy recovery to all those injured. But if you are asking me about U.S. foreign policy, as you know, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the right to have peaceful protests are fundamentals of a democracy. I am not going to say anything further,” Ricciardone has said earlier.

Germany also called on Monday for calm and for dialogue in Turkey after days of clashes between anti-government protesters and police, according to Agence France-Presse.

"In the current heightened situation, it's important that all parties demonstrate calm," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, adding that Berlin was following events "with concern".

He said freedom of expression and assembly was "a basic right" in a democracy and that security authorities must also act "proportionally and appropriately".

"So what's now called for is de-escalation and dialogue," Seibert said.

He added that he saw "no direct effect" from the violence on Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Another response came from the Republic of Bulgaria, with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing concern over the events.

“Bulgaria is closely monitoring the events of recent days in Turkey, our neighboring country and a friend. We are concerned about the violence and express our concern about the excessive use of force by police against the protesters,” the official statement said.

Iraq also voiced concern over the events that may have deeper impacts on the region.
“Adopting violence will cause it to spread, which will affect the situation in the region,” said Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in a statement, according to AFP.

International organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have all condemned police brutality amid the protest, all releasing statements in support of the protests raging on throughout the streets nationwide.

The global hacking collective Anynomous has also launched attacks against the Turkish government in response to days of police violence, following and releasing updates on the events.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in countries abroad to show support for the Turkish crowds, with demonstrations going on in cities ranging from Athens to Berlin.