Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit back at western states’ criticism of his government’s handling of the ongoing protests in the country.
" Those who are trying to teach us lessons, where were they when the Wall Street events in America were unfolding? Teargas was used, 17 people died, this happened. It happened in the UK, in France, in Germany and to a greater extent in Greece. These protests happen in these countries and they ' re all EU members, " Erdogan said on Friday. Erdogan accused the western states of adopting double standards regarding anti - government protests in the country.
" In any European country, whenever there is a violent protest against a demolition project like this, believe me, those involved face a harsher response, " he said.
The comments came after European Union Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule called for a "swift and transparent" probe into police attacks against Turkish anti-government protesters. "Peaceful demonstrations constitute a legitimate way for these groups to express their views," Fule said at an Istanbul conference attended by Erdogan. "Excessive use of force by police against these demonstrations has no place in such a democracy," he said. His comments come as Turkish police have been criticized strongly for using excessive force against peaceful protests. Anti-government demonstrations have been held in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Mugla, Antalya, and many other cities and towns since May 31. Protesters call for the resignation of Erdogan. According to Turkish reports, at least four people, including a policeman, have been confirmed dead during the protests so far. The national doctors' union says 4,785 people have been injured in the countrywide protests, 48 of them severely. The Turkish government says dozens of police officers have been injured. The anti-government unrest began after police broke up a sit-in staged in Taksim Square on May 31 to protest against the demolition of Gezi Park. The protesters say the park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is the city's last green public space. Amnesty International has censured the Turkish police for the tactics they have used to control the protests.