'Set streets free,' Turkish President Abdullah Gül urges protesters

'Set streets free,' Turkish President Abdullah Gül urges protesters

Set streets free, Turkish President Abdullah Gül urges protesters

Protesters wearing masks and hoodies pose as they demonstrate in the center of Ankara, on June 6. AFP photo

Resuming his bid to calm down tension in the country stemming from the ongoing anti-government protests sparked by outrage over the demolition of a park in Istanbul, President Abdullah Gül called for protesters to “set the streets free.”

Gül’s latest remarks on the issue came during a meeting yesterday with a delegation of lawyers led by the newly elected president of the Union of Turkey’s Bar Associations (TBB), Metin Feyzioğlu.

Debates in Turkey must be carried out in appropriate platforms and streets must be set free, Gül said, according to a text posted on the official website of the Presidency following the meeting. He also noted that suggestions by the TBB would be welcome during this process. 

Feyzioğlu previously made a call to the Interior Ministry and the Istanbul Governor’s Office to stop the disproportionate use of force by police. 

Noting that he talked to Interior Minister Muammer Güler concerning the extreme use of tear gas against protesters, Gül recalled that an investigation had already been opened into the issue. He, however, also added that he would discuss the matter again with Güler.

Again underlining that the events in Turkey had no similarity with the experiences in Middle East countries, he said: “The incidents in Turkey are not happening so that emergency rules be lifted [amid unsolved murders]. Let’s be aware of the point that we have come to as Turkey.”

Suggesting that some provocateurs have been misusing the protests, Gül said nobody should provide an opportunity to such provocateurs. Nobody has the right to disrupt the image of Turkey, he said.
Gül also made comments on the impact of social media in the Gezi protests, saying that even though he was one of the most frequent users of it, social media should not be used as an instrument to spread lies, provocative expressions, curses or insults, adding that those that do so would be committing a crime.