Turkish government 'overreacted' to protests, says Dem lawmaker

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The riots started out as demonstrations against the Turkish government's plan to demolish a park in Istanbul, but then escalated to wider demonstrations against Erdoğan's government. The police attempted to end the protests by using water cannons and shooting tear gas at protesters.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc apologized for the Turkish police's "excessive use of force," while Turkish President Abdullah Gul defended the protests a natural "expression of various views."

Connolly said those apologies are a positive development.

"What is heartening ... is both the president of Turkey and several key ministers have have actually pulled back," Connolly said.

Obama administration officials have expressed concern over the Turkish police's actions. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration hopes there would be an investigation into the conduct.

"The Obama administration is clearly trying to respect the domestic sovereignty of another Democratic country as it deals with its own domestic turmoil," Connolly said.