Turkey protests mark a democracy request, US Senator McCain says
Sen. John McCain speaks at the Brookings Institution June 6, 2013 in Washington, DC. McCain spoke about U.S. policy in Syria and the Middle East. Win McNamee/AFP photoU.S. Senator John McCain has become the latest foreign official to criticize Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the wake of Gezi Park protests, saying the spoke to a lack of democracy.
McCain said the revolts, which have spread all across the country after a minor sit-in protest against the demolition of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park, has come as a surprise but had stemmed from a demand for democracy.
“None of us expected this in Turkey. It’s pretty clear that this was a rebellion against Erdoğan’s push of the Turkish people toward Islam,” the Republican senator said June 6 at a speech at the Brookings Institute in Washington.
“I love Turkey. When you look at the economy, when you look at the success of that country, it is magnificent. But I think Mr. Erdoğan, in the view of many Turkish people, is becoming more like a dictator than a prime minister or a president,” he said.
“I think this was a rebellion against what Erdoğan was trying to push a various modern nation and democracy in a direction which they did not want to go,” said McCain, who lost the U.S. presidential election to Barack Obama in 2008.
“Restrictions on alcohol, children in Islamic-oriented schools ... And there are more journalists jailed in Turkey than any other country in the Middle East. There is no doubt he is intimidated both print media as well as other media by this business of suing them,” he added.