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Majority of Turks disagree with gov’t over Gezi Park

20 July 2013

A poll conducted by the Konsensus Research and Consultancy Company has revealed that 61.4 percent of the Turkish public were against the government’s stance on the Gezi protests, which broke out in late May over a plan to demolish Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

The poll was conducted to determine the Turkish public’s attitudes on certain domestic issues that have topped the nation’s agenda over the last few months.

Turkey has recently experienced upheaval and public unrest by the Gezi protests, which began when a small group of environmentalists began a sit-in in Gezi Park, in the heart of İstanbul, on May 27, attempting to block the government’s plan to build an Ottoman-style barracks over the park. Following a heavy-handed police intervention on the peaceful protests, thousands took to the streets and rallies spread across Turkey. Asked whether they support the protests, 54 percent of respondents said “yes,” while the remaining 46 percent said they don’t support the protests. In response to another question — “Why did the Gezi Park protests turn violent?” — 36.7 percent cited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s tough rhetoric as the reason, while 22.1 percent cited disproportionate force used by police to intervene in protests. A further 21.3 percent said the protests turned violent because of marginal groups who provoked the demonstrators. Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s visit to Taksim and protesters’ violent acts were also cited as the main reason why the protests turned violent.

In response to a question on whether they approve of the government’s stance on the Gezi Park incidents, 61.4 percent said they don’t approve of it, while the remaining 38.6 percent said they do.

The use of tear gas during the protests has also been criticized severely by many. The Konsensus poll revealed that 71.5 percent of respondents don’t approve of the use of tear gas in demonstrations.

Another hot topic that dominated the country’s agenda recently was the government’s move to regulate alcohol sales and restrict alcohol-related advertising. Authorities defend the regulation as a necessary policy to protect youth, while critics have slammed the government for restricting freedoms.

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