BERLIN (AP) — Germany's chancellor is criticizing the Turkish security forces' crackdown against street protests as "much too strong."
Angela Merkel told German broadcaster RTL Monday she was "appalled" to see footage from the past weekend when police forces moved in to clear Istanbul's Gezi park that had become a center of the protests.
She said that "what is happening at the moment in Turkey does not correspond to our idea of the freedom to protest and the freedom of speech." Rights groups say weeks of protests have so far claimed five lives and left more than 5,000 injured.
Germany is Europe's biggest economy and is a key player in EU decision-making. It also maintains close ties with Turkey since Turks are the biggest minority group in Germany.