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.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.
    a
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora