TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 10 June 2013

• Turkish PM Erdoğan to meet Istanbul protest organizers on Wednesday
• President Gül approves alcohol law
• One Turkish soldier seriously injured at Syria border
• Unemployment in Turkey decreases 1.6 percent 


Turkish PM Erdoğan to meet Istanbul protest organizers on Wednesday

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan will on Wednesday meet leaders of the Gezi Park platform, the group whose protests against the destruction of an Istanbul park have spiraled into a wave of anti-government protests that have rocked Turkey.

The protests continued for the 13th day on June 10. Erdoğan returned from his Africa trip on June 7 to address the protests. Speaking in Tunis earlier, Mr. Erdoğan acknowledged that police had used “excessive force” against activists at the original sit-in as protests continued in Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. In one of his speeches, Erdoğan had also dismissed plans to build a shopping mall at the Gezi Park site, calling for the protests to end.

Prior to Erdoğan’s return, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç had offered an apology in an effort to appease the protests. Mr. Arınç on Wednesday received a list of demands in a meeting with Taksim Solidarity Platform (TSP), a group of lawyers, architects and doctors representing protesters angry at what they see as Mr. Erdoğan’s heavy-handed and arrogant style of governance. For the demonstrations to end, officials must formally denounce plans to raze Istanbul’s Gezi Park to build a mixed-use building; remove governors and police chiefs responsible for the violence that resulted in three deaths and about 4,000 injuries; ban the use of tear-gas; and release thousands detained at the demonstrations, representatives from Taksim Solidarity said in a televised statement after meeting Mr. Arınç, who has been working to defuse tensions since Monday.

In an interview with Hurriyet, TUSIAD President Muharrem Yılmaz described the events as the an act of democracy. He said the people wanted to raise the level of democracy in Turkey. TUSIAD had earlier condemned the excessive use of force against the demonstrators.

In response to the on-going violence, Turkish markets fell again on June 10. Turkey’s benchmark index of leading shares fell by more than 1%. It has now fallen 17% since hitting a record high on May 22. The Turkish lira was also under pressure, falling 1% against the dollar. It’s down nearly 6% since the start of May.

Criticisms from the United States and the EU continued. EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, said that Turkey must investigate the excessive use of force by police against anti-government protesters on June 7. Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed concern over the violent street protests and said “Turkey’s future belongs to the people of Turkey and no one else.”
CNN, 10 June 2013, Turkey’s premier lashes out, markets fall
Hurriyet Daily News, 7 June 2013, Turkish PM shelves mall plan on Gezi Park, wants end to protests
Hurriyet, 7 June 2013, TUSIAD’dan çarpıcı Gezi Parkı mesaji
CNN, 6 June 2013, Amid protests, Erdoğan returns to Turkey
BBC, 6 June 2013, Turkey clashes: Thousands rally as PM Erdoğan returns
The Wall Street Journal, 5 June 2013, Turkish talks fail to ease protests
BBC, 5 June 2013, Turkey protestors demand dismissal of police chiefs
The Guardian, 4 June 2013, Turkey: Deputy PM apologizes for “excessive violence” against protesters
The White House, 4 June 2013, Remarks by Joe Biden to the American Turkish Council
Hurriyet Daily News, 3 June 2013, Main opposition leader meets President Gül

President Gül approves alcohol law

Turkish President Abdullah Gül approved a new law which will restrict the consumption and advertising of alcohol. The law bans companies producing alcoholic beverages from sponsoring events and sale of alcoholic drinks in shops between 10 pm and 6:00 am. It also introduces stricter penalties on drunk driving.
Anadolu Agency, 10 June 2013, Turkish President approves alcohol consumption law


One Turkish soldier seriously injured at Syria border

One Turkish soldier was seriously injured in incidents at the border with Syria on June 10, after 150 smugglers attempted to enter Turkey without checks. He is currently in a life-threatening condition, said the Turkish General Staff, in a statement on June 10.
Hurriyet Daily News, 10 June 2013, One Turkish soldier seriously injured at Syria border


Unemployment in Turkey decreases 1.6 percent

International Labor Organization said unemployment in Turkey decreased 1.6 percent in 2007-2012 period.
Anadolu Agency, 3 June 2013, Unemployment in Turkey decreases 1.6 percent


These news items are compiled by TUSIAD Washington Representative Office (TUSIAD-US) from major news publications. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of TUSIAD. To subscribe or unsubscribe from this electronic publication, please send an e-mail to usoffice@tusiad.org. These materials may be reproduced and/or distributed, in whole or in part, provided that its source is properly indicated as “TUSIAD-US Web site: www.tusiad.us

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