Local/State

Local Turkish citizens react to violence in homeland

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Turkish citizens in the Triangle who are watching the unrest unfolding a world away are angry and emotional over violent protests.

Many told ABC11 that they believe the current Turkish prime minister is trying to make their homeland like Iran.

Protests have popped up in an effort to save the non-Arab, Democratic nation in the Middle East.

"Because that's what my people, that's what my native country is," said Turkish native Firuzan Ekinci-Cole. "I just can't handle it."

A teary-eyed Ekinci-Cole and several other Turkish natives gathered Tuesday evening outside of the Troy Mezza Lounge in Raleigh. They are full of sorrow and anger. Images of demonstrators setting huge bonfires in Taksim Square are flooding out of their nation.

"I see the suffering on TV channels ,on the internet," said Ekinci-Cole.

The clash between the  people and police is in its twelfth night.

Esra Uzun and boyfriend Stephen Mason just returned from Istanbul where they saw the turmoil firsthand.

"Honestly I mean, I've never seen anything like that before in turkey," said Uzun.

"When we got there, the police were leaving Taksim Square and two large water cannons came flying down the streets," said Mason.

Now, they're monitoring the fallout online through social media.

The chaos sparked over developers cutting down trees in Istanbul's Gezi Park. Some it was done to benefit Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's brother-in-law.

"Because Erdogan is a dictator," said Ekinci-Cole.

The park's fate is the tipping point that this group says over the prime minister's broken promises and iron-gripped government.

"There's no freedom of speech. There's no freedom of personal right's. Nothing," said Ekinci-Cole. "He wants to create another Iran. Do you think the world needs another Iran next to the real Iran? I don't think so."

They say another problem in Turkey is that the government unofficially controls the media.

Right now, police are throwing journalist in jail for reporting what's happening. They are accusing them of inciting violence.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists out of New York, Turkey has the most journalists in prison. In fact, more than China and Iran combined.

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