Turkey's EU minister defends egg charges
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Despite bodyguards’ efforts to protect Egemen Bağış, one of the eggs hit his right cheek and caused it to redden. DHA photoEU Minister Egemen Bağış yesterday defended the charges brought against a student who threw an egg at his face last year even though he said he would be happy to eventually see the case dropped.
“This is a lawsuit about injuring a person, not about throwing eggs or protesting,” said Bağış, adding that the case was initiated by the prosecutor without his filing a complaint. “The doctor told me that if the egg had landed a centimeter higher, I would be blind today. I’m not happy that young Turkish people are being put on trial, but everyone should acknowledge that what happened was wrong,” he said.
The minister however also voiced hope that the case would be dropped as soon as possible, as he said he did not want “any of our young people to live with this anxiety even for a second.” “I think that our youth’s understanding of democracy should be based on discussing ideas, not on violent attacks. I hope that young people realize and admit to their mistakes,” Bağış added.
A prosecutor is seeking up to five years of jail time for two students who are accused of throwing eggs at Bağış during a visit he made to İzmir’s Ege University in December 2011. The students hurled eggs at Bağış while he was making a speech. One student risks up to five years in jail for “intentionally injuring a person,” while the second faces up to two years for chanting slogans. The two 20-year-olds were detained by police after the incident but were later released.
Despite bodyguards’ efforts to protect the minister, one of the eggs hit his right cheek and caused it to redden. The students shouted “AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party], get off of our campus.”