PARIS - The European Parliament on Thursday urged the Turkish
government not to use harsh measures against peaceful protesters and appealed to
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take a conciliatory stance.
has been rocked for the past two weeks by anti-government demonstrations centred
on Istanbul's Taksim Square.
Police have frequently used tear gas and
water cannon to break up protests. Three people - one a policeman - have been
killed and about 5,000 injured.
In a resolution adopted in Strasbourg,
the European Parliament expressed its deep concern at what it called "the
disproportionate and excessive use of force by Turkish police to break up
peaceful and legitimate protests".
It urged the Turkish authorities to
respect the rights of all citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful
The resolution deplored the "harsh reactions" from the Turkish
government and Erdogan, although it praised what it called the "moderate
response" of President Abdullah Gul.
The lawmakers also said they
believed the protests reflected a growing discontent over the stifling of
opposition voices and at government efforts to impose more conservative
restrictions on lifestyles, such as tighter regulations on alcohol
Turkey, a predominantly Muslim but secular country, is aspiring to
join the European Union.