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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid