Turkish EU minister’s letter published in New York Times
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish European Union Minister Egemen Bağış has written a letter to the New York Times. DHA photoTurkish European Union Minister Egemen Bağış has written a letter to the New York Times, in response to an earlier letter published in The Times by international celebrities that condemned the government for its harsh crackdown on the recent Gezi Park protests.
“If there is one major reason behind the recent peaceful protests, it is because a vibrant civil society has flourished in Turkey, thanks to the opportunities we have provided to our people,” Bağış said in his letter, published on July 29.
“Unquestionably, Turkey has been undertaking the necessary steps for further democratization by expanding the rights and liberties of its citizens. During the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule over the last decade, millions of people have moved into the middle class. Socioeconomic transformation has been going hand in hand with democratization. People with different issues started to claim their rights as a consequence of this enormous socioeconomic change,” the letter read.
“Besides, be it for environmental issues or individual freedoms, protesting against a democratically elected government without resorting to violence I believe proves Turkish society’s European identity. Turkish people from all walks of life have opted for the AKP in the last three elections because people from different backgrounds had the chance to express themselves more openly. We, as the government, will continue to ensure the sustainability of a democratic environment as in other European democracies, where different voices can be heard in a peaceful manner,” Bağış’s letter added.