In Turkey, where on Friday, 70 university students were dragged off, hands cuffed behind their backs, and arrested for taking part in a Pride March, the foreign ministry on Sunday released a statement warning Turkish citizens resident in the US against ‘mass events’.
It appears that the statement was released as a sort of reprisal for a statement by the US embassy in Ankara who warned US citizens against possible police violence at a major rally of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Saturday.
The embassy’s statement read:
“A large demonstration organized by the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is scheduled to take place in Maltepe, on the Asian side of Istanbul, Saturday evening, May 21. The Turkish National Police have used measures including water cannons, tear gas, and non-lethal projectiles, to control crowds at protests in the past. There is a strong possibility similar measures will be employed at this demonstration. Avoid demonstrations and protests as they can be unpredictable and at times become violent.”
The embassy advised US citizens ‘to avoid crowds’, ‘to keep a low profile’, ‘to avoid areas around protests and demonstrations’, ‘to be aware of their surroundings,’ and ‘to monitor local media for updates.’
The following day, the Turkish foreign ministry issued an almost identiccal statement, warning Turkish citizens in the US about the use of live rounds, tasers, and gas at such events there too, not actually specifying who was likely to use such things.
The terms ‘mass event’, ‘demonstration’ and ‘protest’ were used in the statement in such a way as to imply that protests and demonstrations could endanger participants at any large event.
The statement read:
“We suggest that it will benefit our citizens to take care at mass demonstrations and events and consider the following points.
“Although the US security units take precautions against protests and demonstrations that may occur at events of this kind, it must not be forgotten that live rounds, tasers and gas have been used in past incidents, and that violent incidents have also taken place. In this regard, we advise that such mass demonstrations and events are best avoided wherever possible, considering the possibility of being subjected to violence at such incidents when they are difficult to control.”
The ministry also advised Turkish citizens to ‘avoid crowds’, ‘to present a low profile and not draw attention’, ‘to stay away from areas of protest and demonstration’, ‘to inform contacts of whereabouts’, and ‘to monitor possible sudden developments through news outlets’.