Monday 19 February 2018

Turkey 'too harsh' on protesters, says Merkel

Damien McElroy

Angela Merkel has risked a diplomatic backlash from Turkey by condemning its response to opposition protests as a violation of human rights.

Despite the German chancellor's strong criticism, Bulent Arinc, Turkey's deputy prime minister, said "elements of the armed forces" could be deployed to quell the anti-government protests. Mrs Merkel said yesterday she was "appalled, like many others" at the tough response to the protests by Turkey, a candidate for EU membership.

"I would like to see those who have a different opinion and a different idea of society having some space in a Turkey that moves into the 21st Century," she said.

"What's happening in Turkey at the moment is not in line with our idea of the freedom to demonstrate or freedom of speech.

"There were horrible images in which one could see that the approach was much too harsh in my view."

Nearly 7,500 people have been injured and four killed in the protests against the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister.

While the protesters have been dispersed from the main scenes of the demonstrations, clashes are continuing.

A one-day stoppage called by big trade unions was the main vehicle of protests in large cities. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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