Turkish deputy PM apologizes for 'initial' excessive use of force in Taksim

The police response to the initial protests against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park in favor of a mall were wrong, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said, apologizing to injured protesters «with environmental concerns,» during a speech on June 4.

But Arınç added in a speech that the government did not «feel like they owed anything to those who cause harm.»

The police has been ordered not to use tear gas, excluding in cases of self defense, he said.

The initial reaction against the demolition of a park in Istanbul’s central Taksim district was «legitimate and patriotic,» Arınç said.

«Our citizens showed their legitimate, logical and righteous reaction at Gezi Park,» he said, recalling that he was speaking as the deputy of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who yesterday left for an official visit to Morocco.

A group of plainclothes Istanbul police used tear gas and set tents on fire in Taksim's Gezi Park to disperse the crowd on the night of May 30, touching off nationwide protests.

However, Arınç called on citizens not to let these group’s demands be spoiled by «marginal and illegal groups.»

Turkey is willing to see a normalization in the one-week long protests, as violence is declining rapidly, he said, also praising the opposition parties' «sensitive» attitude to calm down events.

Arınç thanked the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) for their attitudes regarding the ongoing protests.

Adapted from Hurriyet