Turkey will solve issues with democracy, President Gül says
President Abdullah Gül dismissed the necessity for a leaders’ summit over the ongoing Gezi park protests on June 12. AA photoPresident Abdullah Gül said today that the Gezi Park protests should be solved in a "democratic way" within the law and without resorting to violence.
“This kind of problem should be solved by discussing different thoughts, dialogue and within the law. There may be disagreements; in such situations the courts should be resorted to. In the end, these [disagreements] must be solved without resorting to violence,” Gül told reporters.
Gül said that the most contradictory thoughts must be able to be voiced within the framework of rules. “It is democratic maturity to take into account and listen to these demands,” he said.
However, the president stressed that the protesters should not resort to violence. “Violence should not be allowed … [Violence] is not permitted in Turkey, in New York, in Berlin, or in Spain,” said Gül.
He also called on the international media to be cautious about covering the Gezi protests. He said what was happening in Turkey was not caused by people’s demands for rights, freedom and democracy, but that these demonstrations were held by people who had “different demands.”
Freedom of expression
“We evaluate all peaceful demonstrations, expression of thoughts as a democratic right and we say this from the beginning. We are honored to say this,” said Gül, adding that Turkey was a democratic country unlike countries in the region hit by uprisings.
However, Gül said that it could not be regarded as democratic right if key places of the country such as Taksim Square in Istanbul and Kızılay Square in Ankara are attempted to be seized permanently, breaking rules and by use of violence.
On the other hand, Gül said those who disagree with the project in Taksim must be listened to. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with several people among the protesters yesterday must be regarded as a positive step taken for such a dialogue, Gül added.
Gül also said the police and administration were aware that the intervention at Gezi Park on the very first day was wrong.
“What happened in Gezi Park on the first day [of incidents] was unfortunately wrong. Istanbul police acknowledged this too. This is why their attitude has changed [in a positive way] yesterday and the day before [Monday and Tuesday],” said Gül.
Meanwhile, German President Joachim Gauck conveyed his worries about the incidents in Turkey to his Turkish counterpart in a phone conversation, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported yesterday. Gauck told Gül that the “police violence against the protesters was worrying.” The two leaders agreed on the importance of dialogue between the two sides in such protests.