News / Europe

Turkish Riot Police Overrun Taksim Square

Dorian Jones
Turkish riot police pushed through barricades at Istanbul's Taksim Square on Tuesday, firing tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of protesters.

Police moved into Taksim, the center of more than 10 days of anti-government protest, after dawn. Some demonstrators threw stones, fireworks and firebombs at police. In Turkey's largest city, police moved against protesters in a square that has been the center of nationwide unrest against the government. The move comes as the prime minister is due to meet with demonstrators Wednesday.

In the heart of Istanbul, city police fought running battles with protesters. The unrest erupted when security forces using large amounts tear gas moved against demonstrators gathered in Taksim Square.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously called the demonstrators "looters," warning them that his patience was limited. But his deputy confirmed that the prime minister had agreed to meet the protesters.

Watch Videoclip: Turkey demonstration

Turkey Protesti
June 11, 2013 11:34 AM

The square along with the adjacent Gezi Park has been the center of 11 days of nationwide unrest against the government. The initial protest was against government plans to redevelop Gezi Park but has increasingly focused on what demonstrators claim is the increasingly authoritarian rule of the prime minister.

The police, while generally refraining from direct confrontation, are resorting mainly to firing tear gas at the crowds - while backed by armored cars using water cannon.

Several demonstrators were injured Tuesday with some being rushed unconscious to a first aid center in Gezi Park. The demonstrators have repeatedly accused the police of firing gas canisters directly into the crowd. Many demonstrators voiced anger over the tactics. One of them said, "I feel I am facing fascism for the first time in my life. I have been reading about fascism. I have seen movies about fascism. But I did not live it. Now I am living it."

More than 5,000 people have been injured and three people have died since the protests began.

The latest police action in Istanbul has - for at least one protester - ended any trust in the prime minister.

  • 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.

"I was hoping there would be a solution for peace but now we see the policemen. We can trust no one and we feel really lonely," said the protester.

It remains unclear whether the police crackdown will affect the planned Wednesday meeting between the prime minister and protesters.

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Comment Sorting
by: yusuf from: Turkey
June 12, 2013 4:13 PM
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government has just dediced referendum for Taksim Square...

by: jan from: canada
June 12, 2013 2:06 PM
PM Erdogan (aka Padisah) is a frustrated man because he's in deep s***. I suspect, since Kurdish Fighters began leaving their positions in Turkey under a peace plan, Mr.PM started to read the tea leaves and got nervous. when hundreds of thousands of marching feet raised their voice at Taksim Gezi Park, he lost himself and practiced the violence exercised by the state against collective political rights and environmental rights. He tried to silence people with tear gas, water cannon, and arrests, and death. but Taxim Movement has become much bigger than itself. the protesters mobilize people in the streets, take the initiative and say the time has come to change the tune. they know very well the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

by: yusuf from: Turkey
June 12, 2013 1:57 AM
Firstly there are important points you have to know about protests at Taksim Square.1-There are illegal groups like PKK,DHKPC (which attcated to American Consulate with suicide bomber) at Taksim square.2-Many of the political parties and surroundings have quited the hope of being elected by Turkish Citizens so they are in desire of creating Military Coup conditions because it is mpossible to defeat Mr. Erdogan in elections.3-The government has decreased the Interest Rate from %92 to % 4 and many bosses of banks like GARANTI,DENIZBANK,ISBANK in Turkey are forcing their workers to support protests...

by: Hatat Ozlam from: Turkey
June 11, 2013 9:53 PM
to all western media, america, and Europe, you are not helping by this coverage of riots - Islam is not about freedom its about submission - and all Turks need to learn to submit. all rioters are traitor for Islam, and Erdogan will kill all of them soon
In Response

by: yusuf from: Turkey
June 12, 2013 2:15 AM
Islam is a submission to Allah not to Erdoğan,Obama,Putin others political or religious leaders and Erdoğan won't kill anybody soon.If he had been someone like you said,voters wouldn't have elected him for the third time and he would't have ruled Turkey for 10 years.(You either don't know what Islam mean or aren't a Muslim)

by: sevkitabii from: turkey
June 11, 2013 6:34 PM
mutiny in gezi park cannot effect the turkey as a powerful country, and foreign media is escalating the situation by exaggarate it.In syria,ın ıraq lots of people are shed with bullets, but it is not mentioned in propotion to gezi park riots. In europe, these demonstrations are very common. These are not special for turkey. we will step forward with proud

by: Echelic from: Turkey
June 11, 2013 4:32 PM
what the West doesn't understand is that this is an internal Turkish sectarian war... the rioters are educated whites while the rest are filthy Islamic Arabs accumulated in Turkey as slaves from the time of the Ottomans... we don't want to live our lives like Iranians
In Response

by: yusuf from: Turkey
June 12, 2013 4:11 PM
The Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government has decided for referendum for Taksim Square.Isn't it democratic enough?

by: Sumban from: Turkey
June 11, 2013 11:03 AM
we are not going to live under Islamic tyranny...
In Response

by: sevkitabii from: turkey
June 11, 2013 6:42 PM
Look at your country's regulation 3. proviso. Secular democratic and
and a law country
In Response

by: Hussain from: Bahrain
June 11, 2013 3:37 PM
It is your right to reject what you called islamic tyranny. So next elections you can go to the voting box and say no to erdogan. But occupaying streets is not democratic. You should see what they did in NY. Can they dare to close a the street or even take one step from the sidewalk.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 11, 2013 10:58 AM
I have followed this development with some level of interest.Erdogan may be the PM of a country striving to drop the shackles of the Ottoman barbaric dispensation, but revelations from the uprising show a deeper crevice that neither the present administration nor a centenary of others would be about to solve amicably. Feelers from the sidelines of the protests (those not participating - maybe on the side of the government) reveal that Turkey may after all not truly be a united country. Whereas some are asking for rights in one country they see as their own, some on the government and extremist side think those protesting for certain rights do not belong to the country.

And this appears to be the line the administration is more willing to toe. But one important fact remains unaddressed, and that is the fact that only about one-tenth of those desiring the change are on the streets protesting while nine-tenth watch from a safe distance because they fear that Erdogan might be quick to adopt the Iran-kind of approach to solving dissent. Only time will resolve this puzzle - whether Erdogan will truly exercise the patience required in a democracy to address the demand of this segment of the polity demanding for their rights is a democratizing European country - whether they be majority or minority.

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