Memphis leaders in Turkey during protests - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis leaders in Turkey during protests

Memphis leaders landed in Turkey a day before the protests broke out. Memphis leaders landed in Turkey a day before the protests broke out.
Memphis City councilman Myron Lowery traveled with a Tennessee delegation. Memphis City councilman Myron Lowery traveled with a Tennessee delegation.
They landed in Turkey Thursday, the day before the first protest. They landed in Turkey Thursday, the day before the first protest.
State representative Antonio Parkinson also traveled with a Tennessee delegation. State representative Antonio Parkinson also traveled with a Tennessee delegation.

(WMC-TV) - Calm returned to the capital of Turkey Tuesday as anti-government demonstrators held peaceful protests in the city. Memphis leaders visited Turkey a day before the protests broke out.

Fires, burned out cars, and crowded streets in Turkey greeted a Tennessee delegation including Memphis City councilman Myron Lowery and state representative Antonio Parkinson.

"They should have allowed the protests to continue because it was peaceful. So, they've learned from that, and they are restraining themselves right now," said Lowery.

Memphis leaders went on the trip to learn more about Turkey's economy, culture, and education. As a democracy, the country is a strong U.S. ally.

The Turkish American Chamber of Commerce sponsored the trip, according to Parkinson. Paid for only with private money that ended up giving these lawmakers a view inside how the city of Istanbul handled the initial protests.

They landed in Turkey Thursday, the day before the first protest.

"There was some destruction and some things that were set on fire a lot of bricks and a lot of paint," said Parkinson.

For the most part, the delegations tour did not get interrupted except for when they were supposed to go to the square where the protests are taking place. They met with a local mayor who gave them interesting perspective on the protests.

"He compared it to the occupy Wallstreet movement that occurred in the United States a couple of years ago," said Lowery.

In regards to the violence, the country's president said he regretted the use of pepper spray and water cannons.

Lowery recorded a video showing the protestors. Some beating drums as they just kept pouring into the square.

"What I saw was really the aftermath. I saw bricks from the sidewalk torn up and thrown to the street," he said.

The country's prime minister left the country Monday. Recep Tayyip Erdogan tours northern African countries as his citizens turn their criticisms to him – many saying he runs the country as a dictator.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV . All rights reserved.

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