News / Europe

Erdogan Says It Was His 'Duty' to Evict Protesters

Supporters of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan march holding a huge Turkish flag during a rally of ruling AK party in Istanbul Jun. 16, 2013.
Supporters of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan march holding a huge Turkish flag during a rally of ruling AK party in Istanbul Jun. 16, 2013.
VOA News
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told hundreds of thousands of supporters it was his "duty" to evict activists from an Istanbul park.

Speaking at a massive rally Sunday, Erdogan said two weeks of street protests were manipulated by "terrorists." He dismissed opposition allegations that he was behaving like a dictator and he criticized foreign media coverage of the protests.

As he spoke, riot police in central Istanbul fired tear gas to stop protesters from regrouping in the main Taksim Square, after police forcibly drove them out of a nearby park that has been the center of protests against Erdogan's government.

The prime minister said his patience with the demonstrators had ended. Security forces used tear gas and water cannons to clear the park on Saturday evening.

Protests against government plans to tear down the park for new construction started two weeks ago but quickly built into nationwide protests against Erdogan. The protesters accuse him of imposing his conservative Islamic views on the country.

The prime minister told protesters last week that he would put redevelopment plans for the park on hold until a court rules on them. He also said he would hold a referendum on the issue if the court rules in the government's favor.

  • Protesters are attacked by a police water cannon at the entrance to Gezi Park near Istanbul's Taksim Square, June 15, 2013.
  • Protesters try to resist the advance of riot police in Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, June 15, 2013.
  • Riot police fires a water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, June 15, 2013.
  • A protester runs through tents covered by tear gas in Gezi Park in Istanbul's Taksim Square, June 15, 2013.
  • People run as riot police fire a water cannon on Gezi Park protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 15, 2013.
  • Turkish riot police fire tear gas after chasing protestors out of Gezi Park in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013.
  • Protesters are evacuated from Gezi Park by riot police at Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 15, 2013.
  • Riot police fire tear gas and a water cannon at Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 15, 2013.
  • Riot police use a water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, June 15, 2013.
  • An injured protester is helped in the basement of a hotel where protesters took shelter next to Gezi Park near Istanbul's Taksim Square, June 15, 2013.
  • Protesters are attacked by a police water cannon next to Gezi Park near Istanbul's Taksim Square, June 15, 2013.
  • A child suffering from tear gas inhalation is carried by a protester in the basement of the Divan hotel, where protesters took shelter, next to Gezi Park near Istanbul's Taksim Square, June 15, 2013.
  • Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a rally in Sincan, June 15, 2013. Erdogan warned protesters occupying a central Istanbul park that they should leave before a ruling party rally on Sunday or face eviction by the security forces.
  • A supporter of Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan watches a rally organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, June 15, 2013.
  • A woman listens to the speech of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during his rally in Ankara, June 15, 2013.

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Comment Sorting
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 16, 2013 8:58 PM
Erdogan has the duty to evict the protesters from Taskin Square, but no responsibility to the other 50% of the people of Turkey!
In Response

by: Wolf
June 17, 2013 12:01 AM
Go occupy wall street and quit sticking your nose into other people's business

by: indio007 from: Cambridge, Ma
June 16, 2013 7:03 PM
This is what happens to an unarmed population.
In Response

by: Wolf
June 17, 2013 12:02 AM
Try to think. I know it is difficult for you but anyway try. If they were armed the GOV would use Manguatas, and Altay's on their rears.

by: Mother of 12
June 16, 2013 6:39 PM
Erdogan is right in defining democracy as a dictatorship of the majority. That's how it works in most modern democracies except the US. In a parliamentary democracy John Boehner would be prime minister and his Republicans would be running the government.

The problem for the protesters is that they have no political representation. Turkey's two opposition parties are disastrously out of date and ineffective. Hence the only option left to non-supporters of Erdogan's government is some form of non-partisan protest along the lines of the Occupy movement.

by: RobG from: Maine, USA
June 16, 2013 6:01 PM
Hardly think that these protestors were "terrorists" as Erdogan claims. He certainly sounds and seems to be acting as a dictator. Question: Was it Obama's "duty" to evict the "occupy" mobs?

by: Raymond from: London
June 16, 2013 5:54 PM
He got voted in by the majority and people should respect that. I agree with Erdogan that outside media had a part to play in this.
I hope Erdogan wins the next elections....

by: Taz Nizami from: California, USA
June 16, 2013 4:16 PM
In democracy everybody has equal rights, yes within the Rule of Law. If outsiders are involved in this unrest as indicated by the Prime Minister then he should in due course bring the evidence to public. I hope he would do that. There is however growing evidence coming to light on the role of social as well as News Media to sensationalize the events and outside Govts and their intelligence agencies having used public media to their policy aims. This is a shame as journalism is supposed to to tell balanced and stories in the greater interest of public and society. This kind of tactics have been used across the Muslim world especially to stir trouble where ever Pro- Religious Governments have come to power. Is this an attempt to Re- assert colonialism by Europe? or have geo political motives? May be the later ones. In many places where people elected a Govt that the West did not like or did not have the Western values have faced hooliganism and disturbances, cases in example Gaza, Egypt and may be now Turkey. why after all the West is so terrified by Islamic Govts that they do not want them to succeed, I don't know. In Erdogan's case what goes around comes around. What he participated with Europe to create trouble in neighboring Syria may be coming back to him. Muslims are stupid. Shame what is going on in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan and they are killing each other just for who is Sunni and Shia. I do not see in any Christian country people killing each other for being Catholic, Protestant or any of the rest of many other sundry sects of Christianity. For heaven's sake have mercy on millions of innocent children and women and single bread earners in many cases being maimed in millions leaving behind helpless children to starvation and hunger. Syria was a peaceful secular country where all religions and sects were living in peace and harmony, yes some were disadvantaged always are even in United States the most powerful and richest country in the world but by and large there was peace. Who ever have participated in the murder of 93,000 plus innocent people and number growing everyday has a blood on their hands, would eventually pay for their crime may it be Erdogan or any one that's the rule of Nature and Lord of the world.
In Response

by: Wolf
June 17, 2013 12:03 AM
Sorry pal, Turkey is not in the EU for them to accept your rules. They have their own rules
In Response

by: Nick from: B
June 16, 2013 9:34 PM
Review your history sir.
The church has split during 10 century and Vatican became the headrest of Catholicism while the old, Byzantine Orthodox capital Constantinopolis, modern day Istanbul remained. This did not go totally in peace. Even to this day there is a rift between Copts, Maronites, Orthodo-catholics
Catholics vs Lutherans middle ages ... Catholics vs Orthodox (Balkan's past 2 centuries most recent in Croatia and Serbia). US ... protestants vs lutherans ... basically take any off shoot of any main stream religion and you will find blood. Sectarian violence is not indigenous to a Islam. Yes even Judaism is very secterianized. Ashkenazi vs Esterhazy vs Orthodox Jews and others ... Indian Buddhists vs Japanese ...

Syria was a peaceful secular country where as you say all were living in peace in harmony. However, it by no means was a "free" country. If you truly believe that, my guess is you are either
a. not of Syrian origin b. or have lived and travelled to Syria from Airport to Damascus or other major airport to a major city. That my good sir was the 10% of Syria. The other less privileged 90% who lives in the countryside did not like the despotic rule of self proclaimed presidential dynasty. My father helped elect through revolution and than worked for that government and, god rest his soul, couldn't take it anymore when the old dog received 99.99% of the electoral vote. Year after year. That was not democratic, so he quit in late 70s. What you are seeing today was long coming. People couldn't take it any more.
In Response

by: Nick Parsons from: New York, USA
June 16, 2013 5:56 PM
"Is this an attempt to Re- assert colonialism by Europe?"

Um no, this is a blatant attempt by the US to assert colonialism.

Obama even publicly admitted that we are giving the rebels advanced weapons, that is social engineering and colonialism.
How you feel about what the Europeans did last century, is how other people feel about what the US is doing RIGHT NOW.

Turkey wants to voluntarily join the EU, this is the opposite of colonialism.

by: deniz
June 16, 2013 3:09 PM
Huge, how many? I have counted approximately 30 thousand from the aerial pictures (I am a PHD Statistician). There were more than 1 million demonstrating against him at the same time. Are you sure you aren't a biased journalist.
In Response

by: Wolf
June 17, 2013 12:04 AM
Hussein he is a liar and we all know that
In Response

by: hussein from: istanbul
June 16, 2013 6:52 PM
pls dont try to manupulate public.
if you cant count. wait the elections. and pls say the number of supporters how many millions support Erdoğan. ok?

by: nadeltanz
June 16, 2013 2:42 PM
Dictator in a Democracy. In vogue.

by: Max
June 16, 2013 2:36 PM
This is the playbook for how Americans will lose their freedom one day. We should all pay more attention.

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