Greenpeace hits out at 'foreign plot' conspiracies
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The Gezi protests, which triggered clashes between demonstrators and police, are still continuing with relatively peaceful rallies in many cities across Turkey. DAILY NEWS photoDemands for democratization have for the first time overlapped with demands for environmentally sensitive policies, during the mass demonstrations that have shaken the country in the course of the last two weeks, according to the head of Greenpeace. Kumi Naidoo also hit out at the government's portrayal of the protests as part of an "international conspiracy."
What started as the protest of a small group over the demolition of Gezi Park near Istanbul’s Taksim Square turned into mass demonstrations and as such the activism of civil society in Turkey has attracted the attention of the whole world, said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director, on June 27.
Mass demonstrations that have taken place in Brazil lately are partly inspired by what happened in Turkey, added Naidoo, who will participate in a rally that will be held Saturday in Istanbul to raise awareness about global warming.
He said Turkey’s environmental statistics were very disturbing. With more than 80 projects planned for fossil fuels energy, Turkey ranks number four in terms of posing a threat to the world, coming after China, India and Russia, according to Greenpeace.
“We know that many local communities have stood up largely on their own to protest an irrigation project or the construction of a coal power plant,” Naidoo said.
He also criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s stance of seeing a foreign plot behind protests and accusing foreign groups of provoking people in Turkey.
“Most environmental struggles are led by locals, not Greenpeace. We follow them and we support them,” said Naido adding, “If Mr. Erdoğan believes that people in Turkey are told what to do by foreigners, then he really does not understand what’s going on. It seems I have more faith in Turkish people’s conscience than Mr. Erdoğan.”
Naido said he had praised the solidarity shown by Erdoğan to the Palestinians, as well as his initial stance on Syria. He said he appreciated Erdoğan’s call on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to listen to his people’s demands, adding, “I thought it was a positive voice at a time then no other leader was saying anything.”
“But there is a big irony because Bashar al-Assad had said exactly the same thing that Erdoğan is now saying; that basically everything is instigated by foreigners,” said Naido, adding, “All the credibility Erdoğan has built as a regional peace builder has been wiped out.”