Hurriyet Daily News: Turkish president expresses deep grief over loss of lives during Gezi protests

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül voiced his “deep grief” over the loss of lives during anti-government protests held during the Gezi Park unrest, as he drew attention to the peaceful use of the right to protest and expressed hope that no such loss would happen again in the country.

DHA Photo

DHA Photo

“We have felt deep grief for everybody who lost their lives during all of these incidents,” Gül replied on Aug. 8 when he was reminded of the fact that four men, including a police officer, were remanded in custody by a Turkish court on Aug. 7 over the death of an anti-government protester who was beaten during a June demonstration, while the video of the killing had been erased. Turkey was gripped throughout June by nationwide protests triggered after police cracked down on demonstrators seeking to save a park in Istanbul.

“I also share the grief of all families. I hope that similar incidents will not be repeated. Of course, in a country where the rule of law is sovereign and where democracy is valid, people express their opinions in a peaceful way. No doubt, there is the right to protest and the right to object but these [rights] will be taken into greater consideration and will have impact if they are used within the framework of laws and in a peaceful way,” Gül said, after extending condolences for “all of them,” meaning the five people, including a police officer, who died during the protests.

The president was speaking to reporters after performing morning prayers on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr at the Emirgan Mosque in Istanbul.

“I say it again: This country belongs to all of us, none of us are superior to each other. We all need to exert all kinds of efforts for both making our country stronger and making our people happy. We are exerting this [effort],” he said.

University student Ali İsmail Korkmaz, 19, died of a brain hemorrhage on July 10 after spending 38 days in a coma in the northwestern town of Eskisehir, where he was beaten during a June demonstration.

On Aug. 7, four men, including a police officer, were placed in detention, with prosecutor Orhan Çetingül saying that investigators were seeking to identify a further suspect, while three others have been released, the Doğan news agency reported.

8 August 2013