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Events are exaggerated, Turkish ambassador says.

Abu Dhabi: There has been a large amount of fake information and false pictures circulated over Twitter and other social media to provoke the masses in an irresponsible manner, S. Vural Altay, Turkish ambassador to UAE, told Gulf News in remarks on the recent violence in Turkey.

"International media have bought some of these false stories and reported, for instance, that a number of people have been killed, that the police have used orange gas, that some protesters have been tortured, etc. The Amnesty International which announced the death of 2 people in the demonstrations issued a correction on Sunday and apologized for reporting this claim without verifying it," Altay added.

He pointed out that the comparisons with the Arab Spring event and the so-called Turkish Spring analogy are totally out of place.

"Turkey is a parliamentary democracy and the last elections were held in 2011, which brought AK Party into power with about 50 per cent of the votes. The percentage of participation in elections in Turkey is usually above 80 per cent," said Altay.

Commenting on the events, the ambassador noted that the protests that begun in reaction to a development project in Taksim, Istanbul turned into nation-wide demonstrations against the AK Party Government on June 1 and 2.

"The decision for the Taksim Gezi Parki Project in the Taksim Square was taken at the municipal level several months ago. AK Party announced the project during the 2011 elections. The project includes the expansion of pedestrian roads and the re-building of an old military barrack called the Topcu Kislasi. The new project will not decrease but increase green areas in the Taksim area. The automobile traffic will be taken underground and the entire Taksim Square, one of the largest squares in Istanbul, will be reserved to pedestrians only," Altay said.

Contrary to some reports, said the ambassador, there is no intention to build a shopping mall in the Taksim Gezi area.

He added that two groups have emerged in the course of demonstrations: those who went to Taksim to support stopping the project and those who are turning it into an ideological uprising against the AK Party Government and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He blamed this second group for clashes with the police, adding they have attacked public buildings, police cars, media buses, private shops and other places after the police have been ordered to withdraw.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 7, 2013
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