By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's main opposition leader on Tuesday praised Gezi Park protests of 2013, saying that they did not constitute "an action of coup attempt."
"We should see the Gezi protests as an enlightenment movement that came out as a result of a pressure, so we should approach such youth protests with respect and sympathy," Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Republican People's Party (CHP), told his party's parliamentary group.
"It's not correct to define such a tolerant protest as a coup attempt," Kilicdaroglu said.
The youth interpreted the world issues better than we did, he added.
His remarks came ahead of the release of Osman Kavala – a businessman who remained in custody in Gezi Park trial – by the 30th High Criminal Court in Istanbul.
In summer of 2013, relatively small demonstrations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park grew into a nationwide wave of protests against the government that left eight protesters and a police officer dead.
The government later said the protests were an attempt by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members to overthrow it, who had infiltrated the police and court system.
On July 15, 2016, a FETO coup attempt in Turkey left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO – led by U.S.-based Gulen – of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.