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new f2Unrest in Turkey: Turkish democracy needs compromise and tolerance, say MEPs

The current unrest in Turkey highlights the absence of a culture of compromise and the failure to tolerate dissent in Turkish democracy, foreign affairs MEPs said in a debate. They also criticised the lateness of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's reaction to the violent crackdown on the anti-government protests as well as the lack of reaction so far by Prime Minister Erdogan.

MEPs stressed that respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of the media and the right to protest, are core European Unio values and must be upheld in Turkey. Various members welcomed the statement by President Abdullah Gul of Turkey who said "democracy is not just about elections". Some regretted the lack of any apology by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while acknowledging the apologies made by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc for the excessive use of violence by police.

A number of MEPs also criticised the failure of major Turkish media outlets to cover the protests, which have spread to more than 60 cities, and pointed to their possible self-censorship. MEPs called for legal action against the perpetrators of violence and stressed the need to promote solutions leading to stability in Turkey, in accordance with the EU's values and principles.