Two 'wise men' refuse to attend meeting with Turkish PM over Gezi unrest

Two 'wise men' refuse to attend meeting with Turkish PM over Gezi unrest

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Two wise men refuse to attend meeting with Turkish PM over Gezi unrest

Wise Persons’ Committee Aegean region member, Professor Baskın Oran. DHA Photo

"Wise men" Professor Baskın Oran and columnist Murat Belge have announced that they will not attend the final meeting of the Wise Persons’ Committee, which had been formed by the government to assist in the bid to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. The two say they decided not to join because of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s mishandling of the Gezi Park protests in the country.

The prime minister’s unacceptable attitude and the failure to pass necessary amendments regarding the Kurdish issue were both factors in his decision, Wise Persons’ Committee Aegean region member Oran said.

“The prime minister’s attitude toward the people he invited to the meetings is one reason that led me to take this decision. Our Aegean regional team has delivered its report on June 5 and our mission has de facto ended. One cannot resign from a task already completed, hence I declared I am not attending the final meeting,” Oran told the Hürriyet Daily News. 

Oran reminded of the fact that Erdoğan had scolded a member of the committee who raised her opposition regarding Gezi saying it was a sociological issue. The prime minister rebuffed her, saying: “Don't you dare to teach me sociology.” 

Erdoğan had put Turkey and himself in deep trouble with his attitude, Oran added, noting the "rising nationalist wave" in the country.

“Kurds began showing their displeasure with the situation already. Because of the disgrace the prime minister created with Gezi, Turkish nationalism has reached its limits and now he is surfing on it. There has been no step to decentralize Turkey to stop the bloodshed in the country,” he said.

Earlier, columnist and academic Murat Belge, who had been a member of the southeastern region committee, said the atmosphere created by the government over the Gezi Park unrest in Turkey was not appropriate to finding peace. He said he would not attend Erdoğan’s meeting with the 60-member committee June 26.

Belge announced his “resignation” in his column today in daily Taraf, saying the choice of words and language of the prime minister during the unrest in the country since May 31 was a “personal insult” to him as well.

“As if all those Gezi things did not happen, as if all those insults were not said [by the prime minister], I found it meaningless and also impossible to speak about peace,” he said.

Erdoğan accused protestors of attempting to topple his government and being violent looters “burning and destroying.”

He has repeatedly and constantly defied criticism leveled against the police for brutality against protesters during the unrest, despite the fact that the excessive use of police force has resulted in the deaths of three protesters and one police officer, and the injury of over 5,000 people.

Erdoğan accused Taksim demonstrators of targeting the peace process in Turkey, saying they were attempting to "sabotage" a possible resolution of the Kurdish issue, during a party rally in the Central Anatolian city of Kayseri on June 21.

“We have already said that there could be sabotage attempts on the peace process. These recent events all aim at sabotaging the peace process. We will not yield,” the prime minister said as he addressed his supporters.

Erdoğan accused the protesters of being “puppets” for those who are “disturbed” by the achieved state of peace in the country.