Turkey must not use violence against protesters, Merkel says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens at a joint press conference with the Tunisian PM in Berlin Friday. (AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday urged the Turkish government to renounce violence against protesters, after deadly unrest in the country.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “already told his people that he understands that there are certain problems in the country,” she told reporters after talks with Tunisian leader Ali Larayedh.

“I am counting on the fact that these problems will be discussed with the youth of the country and that there will be no violence against demonstrators.”

Unrest broke out in Turkey a week ago when police violently dispersed demonstrators opposed to the redevelopment of an Istanbul park. It then spread across the country, with riot cops firing tear gas and water cannon at stone-throwing protesters calling for Erdogan’s resignation.

Erdogan called Friday for an immediate end to the protests against him and his conservative reforms, saying the demonstrators had “lost their democratic credentials and turned into vandalism.”

The protests are the fiercest challenge yet to Erdogan’s decade-long rule.

Larayedh, who held talks with Erdogan in Tunisia this week, said his Turkish counterpart had assured him he rejected violence against demonstrators.

“I general terms, I trust the Turkish people,” Larayedh added.

“I think they will overcome the current problems and will return to the road of progress.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:40 - GMT 06:40