U.N. appeals for calm in Turkey

June 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM   |   Comments

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 4 (UPI) -- The Turkish government and demonstrators are called on to ensure the rule of law is observed carefully during ongoing protests, the United Nations said.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday it was concerned by reports of excessive force used by Turkish authorities working to control the security situation. Commission spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said the office welcomed Turkish calls for an investigation into the claims, however.

"Such investigations should be prompt, thorough, independent and impartial, and perpetrators should be brought to justice" she said in a statement from Geneva.

Small demonstrations last week over plans to redevelop a historic park that's been a venue for demonstrations erupted into widespread violence in Turkey this week.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc issued an apology Tuesday for the use of force used against demonstrators, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reports. The government estimates nationwide protests cost the country more than $37 million.

Pouilly said demonstrators and Turkish authorities were called on to settle their differences peacefully.

"We call on the government of Turkey to ensure that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is fully respected and urge protesters to ensure that demonstrations remain peaceful," she said.

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