STATEMENTS OF H.E. BULENT ARINC AS THE ACTING AND DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ABOUT THE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN TURKEY
(June 4th, 2013)
My office is that of the Acting Prime Minister; I am well aware of my authorities, duties and responsibilities and I would like to convey our discussion as the views of our Government on these matters.
I wished to obtain the views of our President regarding the demonstrations which are continuing and gaining a very different dimension as well as consult with him regarding what could be done and how to defuse tensions in the society.
Our President, the Speaker of the Parliament, our Prime Minister and leaders of the opposition parties have made reassuring statements to decrease the tension and end the demonstrations on several occasions.
The common desire of all of us and our society is for tranquillity and safety, and most of all, sensibility to prevail in the streets.
I am very happy to say that demonstrations which involve violence and vandalism like those we have been seeing for the past two days are speedily losing their momentum.
I would also like to say that we are observing peaceful demonstrations held as a democratic response with respect and prudence.
Our State, our Government and all relevant units are fully in control of the developments.
Our security and intelligence units are working selflessly with diligence to curtail the violent aspects of the current demonstration while also taking great care to prevent provocations.
The extreme measure taken by our policemen early on in the demonstrations have justifiably given rise to protests.
Investigations into these have been started through administrative means.
However, for the past five days, the police, themselves as the children of our people, have been demonstrating, with solemnity and prudence, great sensitivity for the welfare of the children of our people.
Our policemen have carried out their responsibility with regard to the provocative and violent actions of illegal organisations that have been blending in with the demonstrators and will continue to fulfill this responsibility.
My Dear Friends,
I would especially like to emphasize a very important matter.
We have established this country, the Republic of Turkey, on 29 October 1923 together. Every single individual in our population of 76 million people is an owner of our great Republic.
Furthermore, this Republic has grown, risen and achieved its current stature due to the efforts and labour of every individual without exception.
There are doubtless differences in our society just as there are in every society in the world.
However, our Parliament has been established in view of these differences, our Republic has been established through the coherence of these differences and Turkey has attained its current statures by treating these differences as its wealth.
Turkey’s greatest wealth is the harmony maintained between these differences through tolerance.
This culture of tolerance and co-existence has allowed Turkey to achieve its current level.
Since their establishment, the AK Party and our Government has respected all differences and has treated every segment of society equally.
Our Prime Minister has addressed our people after each election, underlining that he would not be the Prime Minister of his voters only, but of entire Turkey.
Our Government has taken great care to find the common points and to eliminate discrimination, with every activity, decision and implementation as well as every step taken.
I sincerely emphasize that for us, lifestyles are extremely valuable and important and a matter to treat with great care.
As a political group which has suffered heavy pressure due to our lifestyles, we have shown great sensitivity to others in order not to have them experience the same. We have always tried to understand our citizens who haven’t voted for us through empathizing with them.
We have always considered it our principal duty to gather around common points and to find a common way instead of putting forward our sensitivities and lifestyles.
We have never adopted nor could adopt an understanding of resistance to the demands of the society.
Surely, everyone is not obliged to appreciate us. However, we are also open to the opinions of those who do not.
Surely, everyone is not obliged to vote in favour of us but we are also sensitive to their demands and expectations as well. We have responsibility for each one of our citizens. The most fundamental human rights of each one of our citizens, their freedoms and lifestyles are our responsibility. We are thoroughly open to all reactions and demands which are expressed lawfully and in a democratic culture. As long as no violence is involved.
As long as violence, anger and hatred don’t turn into a language of expression. We believe whole-heartedly that we will overcome every problem and put every issue behind us through mutual respect, tolerance and understanding and leave every difficulty behind.
Despite the misinformation regarding Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park, our citizens have expressed their legitimate, rightful and reasonable concerns. We are respectful of these concerns. However, the protests that have started in Gezi Park to take on a responsibility to look after the city and to increase sensitivity to the environment have unfortunately
come to a very different point. I would especially like to call on our citizens who have expressed their legitimate concerns. The well-meaning and democratic reactions of our citizens are being exploited by marginal and illegal groups and have become harmful to our people, our cities, and to Turkey’s economy and international prestige in particular.
More than 300 of our people have been so far wounded, of whom 244 are policemen and 64 are demonstrators.
Today, I am sorry to say that while trying to heal our wounds, we have been extremely grieved by the news.
As you know, Abdullah Cömert lost his life during the demonstrations held in Hatay. We are extremely grieved by this. I pray for God to have mercy on his soul and I would like to extend my condolences to his family, to the people of Hatay and to our people. This was an incident that we truly wished would not happen. We were aware that the intention of those who have brought the demonstrations to this point would actually be the loss of a life. Whereas we have been taking utmost care to prevent the loss of lives, this undesired incident has taken place.
I can sense that there are efforts to magnify the incident and to create new provocations through the social media or other means. We have here documents from the Hatay Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and from the Governorship of Hatay. As we can see from these, the results of the first autopsy on Abdullah Cömert show that there is no gunshot wound or a lesion resulting from a trajectory in the brain tissue. This means that the cause of death was not due to the use of a firearm. The cause of death may have been trauma to the head from a hard object. The Hatay Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has recently declared that the definite cause of death could only be established after the analysis and examination results are finalised, which would then be stated in a report prepared by the relevant Expert Board of the Forensic Science Institution.
The investigation into the incident is currently underway. We wish for a speedy conclusion of the investigation so that those responsible for the death of Abdullah Cömert are brought to justice and for the expressions of anger that may result from this incident to be expressed through legitimate courses.
The funeral of Abdullah Cömert will bear the grief of us all; however, I would also like to express that we cannot condone any initiatives that
may result in other grave incidents and that we are taking all measures to prevent these. I would like to once again express my condolences to his family.
God forbid that there should be the loss of a second life or any other such incidents. I would like to say that I am trying build my words on these grave incidents. To see that a demonstration, which had initially started with an environmental sensitivity seeking to maintain the Taksim Gezi Park as a green area and keeping the trees from being uprooted, has come to this point is a matter that every person with a conscience and reason needs to reflect upon. We can more or less be sure that people who have done their utmost to express their concerns in legitimate ways, as people who are patriots and sensitive to the environment, have by now seen that this event can have grave results where people are not only wounded but also can lose their lives and want these incidents to come to an end.
Up to now, 110 police vehicles have been damaged and 207 vehicles have been burnt. The Çiğli Courthouse Buildings in İzmir, especially in Karşıyaka, were attacked. Stones are thrown at ambulances, citizens are harassed and efforts are made to limit fundamental rights and freedoms. There are efforts to incite unjustified and illegitimate incidents, as well as excessive actions towards some public buildings or the private homes of some people. Certain groups exploiting sensitivity to the environment have caused serious damage to the walkways by removing the paving, destroying municipal buses and bus stations, and damaging public buildings, even ornamental pools and fountains. Our tradesmen have been badly affected by these incidents and the exteriors and interiors of some shops have been damaged. I would like to underline that the Turkish economy and tourism, which claims to enjoy its golden year and has won the recognition of everyone thanks to its positive developments, have also suffered because of these events.
The extraordinary interest and exaggerations of the international media have also made the international power and prestige of Turkey into a target. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that it is not the assets of AK Party or of our Government, but of the Turkish Republic and of our citizens which have been damaged or are likely to be damaged. It is really painful to see the intention to waste these assets, which have been created under very difficult conditions with the labour and efforts of all in the past 90 years.
While the firearms have been laid down during the reconciliation process, the violence has been eliminated, and a great potential of growth has been opened in the economy, it is quite thought provoking that the gains that we have made should be targeted.
We are the Government of everyone.
We are demonstrating as much care to accurately interpret these demonstrations as we have taken to interpret the results of the elections.
We can review ourselves and we are doing so currently.
Let there be no doubt that we are capable of self-criticism.
We request that everyone refrain from attitudes and behavior that are against Turkey, Turkey’s economy, our unity and solidarity.
We would like our opposition parties to prioritize good judgement and to adopt a conciliatory approach and are happy to see that this is being realised.
We appreciate and thank the MHP for the stance taken by this party since the beginning of the events.
We also appreciate and thank the BDP for the stance taken by this party since the beginning of the events.
We also thank Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the CHP for expressing that he does not condone the damage to public property, that he is participating in these events individually and not as a party and that he had gone to solely Taksim for this purpose.
Unfortunately, we regret to see that in many of the incidents, MP’S from the CHP and provincial and town organisations of the CHP have participated and have taken a provocative stance.
We hope that following his meeting with our President and his general approach to the events, Kılıçdaroğlu will, as a strong leader, express that he does not condone that the incidents have come to this point and that the CHP would not in any way be a part of the incidents as an figure of authority or any of its organisations and units, and that he will adopt a
positive language regarding the calming of the events. The main opposition party of Turkey will certainly do its full share of work during such difficult times.
We request in particular that our citizens, every single individual in our population of 76 million people, be more careful and attentive regarding these demonstrations.
We expect even more patience and sensibility from our citizens who have been patiently observing these demonstrations to this day.
We also expect patience and good judgement from the media.
We expect prudence, attentiveness and self-sacrifice from parents regarding persons who attempt to push children into this chaotic environment; we expect prudence, attentiveness and self-sacrifice from presidents of the universities, our youth and their parents regarding persons who try to involve our children in high schools, primary schools and universities as players in this chaotic environment; and finally, we expect wisdom, attentiveness and self-sacrifice from everyone living in Turkey so as not to allow these groups to carry Turkey to the point that they wish; in other words, to carry Turkey to a point of disorder and chaos which will harm Turkey as a whole.
We want our citizens who express their demands and wishes to keep away from violent demonstrations and the protesters. We expect more patience and good sense from our citizens who patiently watch the demonstrations with sadness and we certainly thank them for their positive attitudes.
I have requested our non-governmental organisations and our labour unions in particular to act in a way that would defuse the tension rather than increase it. I personally hope that our extremely powerful unions, such as KESK and DISK in particular, will act in a manner that will not disturb the peace and tranquillity in the society. People are, of course, free to express their views, hold demonstrations and protest within the limits set by the law. However, I particularly request that they avoid becoming involved in incidents that would play into the hands of illegal organisations and fan the flame.
Turkey has more than enough strength to undermine such scenarios.
Everything is under the control of our state in Turkey.
Peace and security will be ensured even more quickly with the contribution, patience and wisdom of our citizens.
Finally, I would like to once again thank our citizens who express their justified demands and concerns.
I thank our citizens who observe the developments with patience, resolution and prudence.
I once more thank our security forces who have been working diligently, tired and without sleep for days.
I hope that Turkey will return to peaceful times as soon as possible. I would like to thank you again for your interest.