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Turkey’s Foreign Minister rejects EU criticism

Published: Updated:

Turkish Foreign Minister on Thursday slammed the European Union’s (EU) criticism of how the Turkish government has handled recent protests, calling it “unacceptable.”

Davutoglu’s comments come following a difficult week for Turkey’s government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The worst night of violence and nationwide unrest was recorded on Tuesday, AFP news agency reported.

Taksim Square has seen continuous clashes between protestors and police for 12 days. Thousands of demonstrators have been chanting for Erdogan to resign.

According to Reuters, the European Parliament on Thursday urged the Turkish government not to use harsh measures against peaceful protesters and asked Erdogan to take a conciliatory stance.

In a resolution adopted in Strasbourg, the European Parliament conveyed its deep concern at what it called “the disproportionate and excessive use of force by Turkish police to break up peaceful and legitimate protests,” according to Reuters.

On Wednesday, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, called on Erdogan to show Turkey’s democratic credentials and engage in dialogue with anti-government protesters as the country seeks to gain membership into the EU.

In her first public statement on Turkey’s troubles in a speech to the European Parliament, Ashton said Erdogan’s response to protesters must be “engagement, not antagonism,” AFP reported.

She denounced police usage of tear gas, plastic bullets, pepper spray and water cannons against “overwhelmingly peaceful” protestors.

According to AFP, four people have been killed and nearly 5,000 demonstrators have been injured so far during the unrest.