Back on Turkish soil after his North African tour, the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be tempering his rhetoric. Speaking at conference about Turkey’s EU membership ambitions he chose his words carefully when describing protesters.
“We are against violence, terror, vandalism and actions that threaten other’s freedom in the name of their own freedom … We heartily welcome those who come with democratic requirements,” he said.
Erdogan took the opportunity to recall his green credentials when as mayor of Istanbul he fought to keep universities from building in forested areas. However, in a speech made early Friday morning he said the redevelopment of the park, which remains at the centre of demonstrations, would continue.
EU-Turkey relations appeared strained after a call from the EU to investigate Turkish police violence. Erdogan responded that Europe would have dealt with similar protests more harshly.