Turkey’s deputy prime minister has apologised for “excessive violence” by police in an effort to defuse days of unrest, comments which contrasted sharply with prime minister Tayyip Erdogan’s dismissal of the protesters.
With Mr Erdogan abroad and strikes and demonstrations still rumbling on after five days, deputy PM Bulent Arinc yesterday sought to assuage some of the anger at the government’s initial hardline response to what began as a sit-in against plans to build on an Istanbul park.
“The excessive violence that was used in the first instance against those who were behaving with respect for the environment is wrong and unfair,” Mr Arinc said in the capital, Ankara. “I apologise to those citizens.”
Mr Arinc said he would meet some of the organisers of the original protest, campaigning against plans to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks on Istanbul’s Gezi Park in Taksim Square.
It appeared too little to late to end what has become a national outpouring of anger at Mr Erdogan’s authoritarian style.