Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Turkey respects protests: Government

05 June 2013, 10:27

Washington — A close ally of Turkey's prime minister said on Tuesday that his government respects the right to non-violent protest and free speech, but that it must also protect its citizens against violence.

At an event in Washington with US Vice President Joe Biden, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan was mostly conciliatory about the thousands of protesters in Turkey who have been expressing discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 10-year rule. But he also implied without citing evidence that some were provoking violence for political ends.

"We should be very careful when we evaluate the recent ongoing events in Turkey," he said. "There is a need for a strict distinction between the terrorist groups or illegal organisations versus citizens who are purely protesting on a non-violent basis."

Speaking before Babacan at the American-Turkish Council's annual conference, Biden said that only Turks can solve the problems behind the protests but that the US is concerned and isn't indifferent to the outcome.

"It raises concerns around the world, including in our own country," he said.

Tens of thousands of mostly secular-minded Turks have joined anti-government rallies 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 have spiralled into Turkey's biggest anti-government disturbances in years.

Biden said the US supports free assembly, a free press and nonviolence by government and demonstrators. He said Turkey should not choose between democracy and economic progress.

Babacan's comments followed an apology on Tuesday by fellow Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, who called the crackdown on protesters "wrong and unjust".

Protests have been directed at what critics say is Erdogan's aggressive and authoritarian style of governing. Many accuse him of forcing his conservative, religious outlook on citizens' lives in this mainly Muslim but secular nation. Erdogan rejects the accusations and says he respects all lifestyles.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...