Interior minister blames provocateurs for Emek clash
ISTANBUL - Anatolia news agency
AA PhotoThe question of whether or not the police used disproportionate force against demonstrators in the Emek theatre protest cannot be determined until the ministry looks into the events that took place, Turkey’s Interior Minister Muammer Güler has said.
“We have witnessed that illegal organizations and individuals that clashed with police forces many times already were mixed with the artists,” Güler sad. “Many demonstrations took place in front of the theatre, statements were read, and the police never intervened before.”
One of the latest protests, however, saw protesters enter the construction site in an attempt to occupy the building, Güler said, and some demonstrators in the last protest attempted to throw stones at the police, to break the iron bars.
Güler asked artists to avoid “these illegal factors and those who use such platforms to cause trouble and create provocations.”
Reporters asked Güler whether or not disproportionate force was used against the protesters, and the minister repeated that the protesters’ acts should be looked into first.
“I am having them look into whether or not there was disproportionate force,” Güler said. “To enter a private property by force, to break iron doors, to open banners inside the building are not things we are willing to overlook. We cannot allow that.”
Güler repeated that protesters should be careful about provocateurs amid crowds.
“We do not intervene in protests conducted within the democratic framework,” he said.
Police deployed water cannon and tear gas on April 7 to disperse a group of thousands, including Greek-French director Costa-Gavras and many actors, who had marched on Istanbul’s iconic Emek Cinema to protest the demolition of the historic building.