Turkey’s deputy prime minister has admitted that police treatment towards the original organisers of a protest to save a park in Istanbul was wrong.
The crackdown has since triggered days of anti-government demonstrations across the country.
Bülent Arınç also said he was willing to meet with the organisers: “The use of excessive force shown against the people who initially started this protest with the motive of protecting the environment was wrong – and it was unfair. So I apologise to those citizens. But I do not think we need to apologise to those who destroy public property in the streets and who try to prevent the freedom of the people.”
Arınç‘s remarks appear to contrast with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has dismissed the protests as the work of secular enemies of the state who are arm-in-arm with terrorism.