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 Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora