Govt offers Turks apology, but protests continue



The Associated Press

Published — Wednesday 5 June 2013

Last update 6 June 2013 12:55 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

ANKARA: Turkey’s deputy prime minister offered an apology for a violent crackdown on an environmental protest, in a bid to appease days of anti-government rallies across Turkey as hundreds of riot police deployed around the prime minister’s office in the capital yesterday.
Bulent Arinc, who is standing in for the prime minister while he is out of the country, said the crackdown was “wrong and unjust.”
It was unclear, however, whether Arinc was giving the government line. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, has undermined statements by his ministers in the past. He has previously called protesters “looters” and dismissing the protest as acts by fringe extremists.
Thousands have joined anti-government rallies across Turkey since Friday, when police launched a pre-dawn raid against a peaceful sit-in protesting plans to uproot trees in Istanbul’s main Taksim Square.
Since then, the demonstrations by Turks have spiraled into Turkey’s biggest anti-government disturbances in years, and have spread to many of the biggest cities.
A 22-year-old man died during an anti-government protest in a city near the border with Syria, with officials giving conflicting reports on what caused his death.
Speaking yesterday, Arinc said that, “in that first (protest) action, the excessive violence exerted on people who were acting out of environmental concerns was wrong and unjust.” He added, “I apologize to those citizens.”
Arinc said the government was “sensitive” to the demands of the largely urban, pro-secular section of society that had not voted for Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted party.
“I would like to express this in all sincerity: everyone’s lifestyle is important to us and we are sensitive to them.” The Hatay province governor’s office initially said the man who died, Abdullah Comert, was shot Monday during a demonstration in the city of Antakya. It backtracked after the province’s chief prosecutor’s office said an autopsy showed Comert had received a blow to the head and that there was no trace of a gunshot wound.
Gov. Celalettin Lekesiz did not respond to a journalist’s question as to whether the man may have died after being hit in the head by a gas canister. Arinc said the government was taking “all measures” to ensure that similar “bad incidents” were not repeated as police subdued protests.
Clashes continued late into the night Monday in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities, but Arinc said the more violent protests were subsiding.
Yesterday, hundreds of riot police backed by water cannons were stationed around Ankara’s main square near the prime minister’s office.

In Istanbul, many people slept in the shade of trees on the grass of the park that sparked the protests, while others walked around with bags cleaning up trash. Protesters have set up an area in the center where they’re collecting food donations.
On Taksim, protesters sat under makeshift awnings. Overturned cars and burned-out vans stood on the edges and further in the square, spray-painted with graffiti.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Eight million people visited the Grand Mosque in the first 10 days of Ramadan, a 49 percent increase from last year, the Haj and Umrah Directorate said recently.Salah Saqr, director of the directorate, said the transport plan was approved and...
JEDDAH: The government has installed 5,000 high-definition cameras on all floors and courtyards of the Grand Mosque to ensure security and crowd control.These cameras are monitored 24 hours a day by officers at a control center in Mina. They have to...
GENEVA: Saudi Arabia has welcomed the report of the International Fact Finding Commission on Israeli aggression in Gaza and has lauded its effort to prepare the report despite noncooperation from Israel which did not allow the committee to do its wor...
JEDDAH: Several Yemenis have praised the government for correcting their status quickly, which created no extra burden while fasting.Many who gathered in front of the Passport Department in Asir said everything was in place for them, a local newspape...
RIYADH: The $11.6 billion King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is already being admired for being a smart city but nobody can tell when it will be completed.“Being a smart city, everything is state-of-the-art. There is seamless Internet access and...
RIYADH: In a new move, the Ministry of Health will conduct drug tests on all drivers ferrying pilgrims between Makkah and Madinah during the Haj season.The decision was taken at a Haj preparatory meeting held on Sunday under the chairmanship of Imad...
JEDDAH: Motorbikes are among the most important means of transportation in Makkah during Ramadan because they are easy to use and cope easily with congestion in the central area next to the Grand Mosque. Despite the presence of public transportation,...
JEDDAH: A local man here runs a business started 150 years ago by his grandfather making sought-after Hijazi sweets for Eid and other festivals.Samer Jastaniah, 35, has three family shops making these products. “I am the grandson of the doyen of swee...
RIYADH: Saudi students have won six medals — a gold, a silver and four bronze — at the 19th Junior Balkan Mathematical Olympiad (JBMO 2015), securing the fifth place for the nation, as against 13th in its first participation in 2013.Rinad Abu-Jamal f...
Ambassador of Belgium Geert Criel:— Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? The friendliness of its people.— What is your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Ahlan wa Sahlan.— Which book is by your bedside these days? World Orde...
AL-AHSA: Saudi farmers here need more support to buy fertilizers, medicines and equipment, and market their products.This is the view of Ahmed Al-Musalmi, who recently won the country’s ‘Ideal Farmer Award.’ He said high production costs and low mark...
JEDDAH: The Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has launched 20 initiatives aimed at improving the professionalism of employees and limiting individual interpretations and actions while carrying out duties.Sheikh Abdul...
RIYADH: Medical studies and research for new methods in the treatment of chronic diseases suggests that fasting could help combat cancer and boost effectiveness of treatment.Scientists doing research on the positive aspects of fasting discovered that...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has announced that Saudi universities would accept 95 percent of high school graduates, despite a royal decree four years ago setting a ceiling of 70 percent.The royal decree had approved the “Afaq Project,” a strate...
JEDDAH: With the first stages of the municipal elections set to launch in Dhul Qadah, various organizations and institutions are responding to the intensifying “election fever” by trying to get in on the action and making a strong presence on the sce...

Stay Connected

Facebook