ASIA/TURKEY - Bishop Pelatre with regards to the riots: the prospect of compromise seems to have the upper hand

Istanbul - The riots which broke out in Turkey are a "warning sign" that the Turkish government might want to consider if it is to protect the stability that in the past 10 years has favored the country's economic growth and the strengthening of its international role. This is what Bishop Louis Pelatre, Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul told Fides Agency. According to the bishop of the Latin rite, "in politics it is always wise to follow the prospect of compromise in order to harmonize the interests represented by different sectors of society."Mgr. Pelatre makes it clear that the Christian communities in Turkey are not in any way directly involved in the political conflicts that can be seen behind the demonstrations and riots which started from Istanbul - with the protest to block the construction of a shopping center that would have disemboweled a park in the district of Taksim. According to the Apostolic Vicar, the demonstrations are above all carried out by students with the support of sectors linked to Kemalists. But behind the protests "one cannot see a real political alternative to the ruling party, which remains strong and has the support of the majority of the population".According to the protesters, Erdogan's government takes advantage of the consent obtained in Turkish society - founded on the stability and economic growth that Turkey has enjoyed over the past decade - to pursue a plan of authoritarian Islamization from above. In this sense - notes bishop Pelatre - "protests could push the government to review its strategies. Erdogan has so far yielded space to Islamist groups, but in his own party there are other forces and other sensitivities. The basis of his consent is wider than the Islamist forces, and he needs the support of all to continue to govern. The same President Abdullah Gul, often expresses articulated and accommodating positions. It is to be hoped that the facts of these days nurture in all of them a spirit of moderation, and not authoritarianism. " In any case, Mgr. Pelatre does not see the danger now that Turkey is plagued by conflicts in the Middle East triggered by the so-called Arab Spring: "The comparisons being made between the Turkish riots of these days and conflicts afflicting the Middle East do not seem well founded. The contexts and the events appear to be entirely different, " says to Fides the Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul. .