With Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan out of the country, Turkey's Deputy PM was left trying to pick up the pieces (and mend fences) after a week of violent protests. Bulent Arinc actually apologized to some of the demonstrators, saying the original protests that that began late last week were "just and legitimate" and he even admitted that the force used against the people by police was "excessive" and "unfair."
However, Arinc continued to pushed the theory that "terrorist elements" hijacked the peaceful demonstrations and turned them into anti-democratic riots. At least two people have died as a result of the chaos, which has spread beyond Istanbul to many other cities. Thousands more have been beaten or tear gassed by riot cops, in what looks like a repeat of scenes from 2011's Arab Spring.
Erdogan, who ignored the massive unrest and went ahead with a previously planned trip to Morocco, has been less understanding. In a massive case of "not getting it," the Prime Minister's response to complaints that he is excessively authoritarian has been to insist that nothing is wrong and he has no plans to make changes. He ominously said before his departure, "On my return from this visit, the problems will be solved."
The protestors are also holding firm, however. Major trade unions have called for a general strike for Tuesday and Wednesday and each day more demonstrators have flocked to the Istanbul park that became the epicenter of the protests. It seems Erdogan may have more problems waiting for him than had when he left.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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