Minister in rare gesture

Minister in rare gesture

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Minister in rare gesture

Ministers will not be comfortable at any university as long as students and journalists are in jail, says a protesting student who was invited to the stage by Minister Yıldız. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız invited a protester to speak on stage at Ankara’s Gazi University yesterday after the student was initially tackled by security for demonstrating against the Cabinet member.

Yıldız’s invitation came in stark contrast to a wave of recent university protests that have seen government officials pelted with eggs and students bundled away by heavy-handed law enforcement officers. 

The minister was making a speech at a panel on nuclear energy when the student, Nesimi Yiğit Eryılmaz, stood up and shouted “Mr. Minister.” Before he could complete his sentence, however, around 10 security guards tackled the youth, pulling him down and covering his mouth and face with their hands.
Yıldız immediately instructed the security team to let the student go and invited him to come on stage and speak. 

“You will not be comfortable at any university as long as students and journalists remain behind bars,” the visibly distraught student, Nesimi Yiğit Eryılmaz, said on stage. 

At the end of the panel, Yıldız walked out with the protesting student and invited him to his ministry. Eryılmaz shook the minister’s hand, and responded, “Maybe one day.”

Leftist students have routinely protested government officials visiting universities and staged street demonstrations that police have often disrupted using force. About 500 university students are estimated to be currently behind bars.