News / Europe

Turkish PM Issues Final Warning to Protesters

Anti-government protesters play soccer at Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 13, 2013.
Anti-government protesters play soccer at Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 13, 2013.
Dorian Jones
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a "final warning" to protesters to leave Gezi Park in central Istanbul. Activists have said they will not leave the park until the government abandons plans to redevelop it. Erdogan has promised a local vote on its future.

In an address to party members Thursday, Erdogan said his patience is at an end with demonstrators occupying Gezi Park.

He said the Turkish government cannot wait any more because Gezi Park does not belong to occupying forces, but to the people. He added an appeal to mothers and fathers to "please take your children in hand and bring them out.''

Government plans to tear up Gezi Park and build a shopping center set off the protests. They quickly built up into marches against the government and Erdogan. The opposition accuses him of being authoritarian and imposing his conservative Islamic views on secular Turks.

Riot police have used tear gas, water cannons, and stun grenades to drive off the demonstrators in Istanbul and Ankara. Four people have died, about 5,000 people were hurt and thousands of others arrested.

Turkey's interior minister called Thursday for protesters to leave the park so that security forces could deal with what he said were illegal and terror groups.

The government claims the initial environmental protest has been hijacked by anti-democratic forces.

Ibrahim Keskin denied such accusations. He is from "Taksim Solidarity," one of the groups organizing the ongoing protests to protect the park. Keskin said the protesters will not leave.

He said protesters come from every walk of life in Turkey. Keskin said the people threatened with expulsion from the park are the real people of the country. He vowed that they are all staying, and he said there is nothing the authorities can do about it.

The prime minister's latest warning follows tentative efforts to reach out to the demonstrators. During a Wednesday meeting with 11 protesters selected by the government, Erodgan said he would consider a referendum on the park’s future.

But demonstrators express deep skepticism, citing lack of trust in the government. As one demonstrator explained, "A referendum requires an environment of trust, and at this point there are many issues that are not resolved. And the fact that the element of trust has been lost, that it is no longer an option not for me personally."

A senior Turkish judge has warned any referendum would not be legally binding.

Meanwhile, Erdogan again attacked growing international criticism as hypocritical. Both the European Union and Washington have expressed concern about the growing unrest in Turkey.

  • A protester makes the victory sign as he sits outside Gezi Park in front of riot police vehicles at Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 14, 2013.
  • Protesters watch a film in Gezi Park in Istanbul, June 14, 2013.
  • German pianist Davide Martello is surrounded by anti-government protesters as he performs in Istanbul's Taksim Square, June 13, 2013.
  • Protesters stand in front of a barricade at Gezi park, Istanbul, June 13, 2013.
  • Taksim Square is flooded by tear gas during clashes between protesters and riot police, Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • Police operate during clashes at Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester tries to take cover from a water cannon fired by police during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester throws a tear gas canister back at police during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester throws a gas bomb towards riot police during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester throws a petrol bomb towards a crowd control vehicle in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A crowd control vehicle fires a water cannon against protesters in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester walks in front of a burning barricade during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • Protesters carry another protester affected by tear gas during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jan from: canada
June 14, 2013 10:02 AM
Still "his eyes tightly closed, his fingers in his ears, and going “la, la, la,la! I can’t hear you! ". Salute to Taksim Solidarity.

by: Sunee from: Thailand
June 14, 2013 3:56 AM
May God bless Turkish.

by: Echavet from: Turkey
June 13, 2013 5:43 PM
we will not live our lives under filthy Islamic dictatorship... NEVER!!
we have honor and pride. We are not Iranian cowards!!!

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 13, 2013 3:26 PM
Erdogan, remember Tianamen Square, Beijing in 1989. You will be responsible not only for the dictatorship of the democracy of 50% but also accountable for 100% of deaths and injured at Taskin Square.

by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, Illinois
June 13, 2013 1:16 PM
I had a very good opinion about Mr. Erdogan, and I have praised him in various commentaries. But since then I have noticed that he has lost his luster with a stubborness that exceeds that of the proverbial mule. My opinion now is that his successive elections to the job has raised his ego to the stratosphere, and he now behaves like the unelected autocrats of the Gulf States!

Mr. Erdogan: Cut your inflated ego and listen to your people. Your attitude of: I have the 50% of the Turkish voters behind me, and the other 50% can go to hell, is not an attitude of a smart politician - nor it is a democractic way to resolve a social discord. Give the Turks who don't agree with you some respect - if you want to be respected. Nikos Retsos, retired professor

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More