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 British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid