Germany Shocked by Crackdown on Protesters in Turkey

Sometimes attention can be a bad thing, and that’s exactly what Turkey is getting right now. With ongoing protests across the country, Turkish authorities and police have been cracking down on demonstrations.

And Germany doesn’t like what’s happening. An official on Thursday said the high number of arrested and injured in Turkey is “shocking.”

“I expect the Turkish Government to respond to the largely peaceful demonstrations in an appropriate and non-violent manner… I therefore call on the Turkish Government to refrain from the disproportionate use of force, to stop taking action against those who exercise their basic rights of freedom of opinion and assembly, and to release all imprisoned demonstrators without delay,” Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, said in a statement.

The protests, which started over local issues, have ballooned into anti-government demonstrations. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long been accused of scaling back freedoms. Now the pent up angst in response is breaking out.

Another complaint from the German official is Turkey’s approach to Twitter. “Arresting protesters who exchange messages via Twitter is also unacceptable; to do so is to restrict freedom of opinion in Turkey. These prisoners, too, must be released immediately,” said Löning.

Turkey is an important ally for Europe and the US in the Syrian conflict. The current political mess in Turkey therefore raises questions about Turkey’s ability to help there. Also, the Turks want to join the European Union. That is very much in doubt in light of the government crackdown on protesters.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 6, 2013)

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