June 13, 2013  |  Member's Statement

Republic of Turkey: protests

On another matter, I am deeply saddened by the images of unrest in the country that I was born in, Turkey. Over the years Turkey has been a rock of stability in a very volatile region. As somebody who is a firm believer in a secular state — that is, the separation of church and state — I can understand the anxiety that a large section of the Turkish society may be feeling at the moment given some of the reforms introduced by the current government.

Notwithstanding the colour and movement of the images of the protests beamed out of Turkey and notwithstanding the many injuries and the three deaths associated with protests over the last two weeks, I am of the view that the protests have strengthened Turkish democracy. Once upon a time the generals would have resolved such sensitive and intractable disputes by putting democracy on hold. 

These protests are the product of the citizenry’s realisation that the population itself will need to take direct action to express its displeasure at the government’s reforms.