LOCAL > Main opposition leader lends full support to protesters occupying Taksim Gezi Park


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A group is continuing its sit-in protest at Taksim’s Gezi Park, as they stay in tents at night, resembling the Occupy Wall Street actions in the US. DAILY NEWS photo

A group is continuing its sit-in protest at Taksim’s Gezi Park, as they stay in tents at night, resembling the Occupy Wall Street actions in the US. DAILY NEWS photo

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu made a surprise support visit late May 29 to the demonstrators protesting against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park. The protest had entered into its second day after locals braved an intervention of the police armed with tear gas to start a sit-in to protect one of the last green public spaces in the center of Istanbul.

Kılıçdaroğlu promised that Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies would take turns every day to stand guard together with the protesters against any attempt to bring back the bulldozers. He also vowed that the park would remain in place. “The park will stay here, the mall will go,” he said in reference to a project led by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality with the blessing of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to rebuild an Ottoman artillery barracks building. The project involves converting the barracks into a shopping mall and possibly a residence with "social facilities."


Main opposition leader Kemal
Kılıçdaroğlu vowed his party's 
support for the Gezi Park protest.
DHA photo

Yet Kılıçdaroğlu was not alone and support poured in to the Taksim demonstrators especially from artists. Notably, the lead actor in the Turkish film “Fetih 1453: The Conquest of Constantinople” had refused to join the May 29 Istanbul "conquest anniversary celebrations" and joined the festive camp.

“[To the] Istanbul mayor and governor, who invited me as guest of honor to the anniversary celebrations of Istanbul’s conquest: I am not with you on this day, I will be in Gezi Park,” Devrim Evin, “the conqueror,” posted on his Twitter account in protest at the attempts to demolish the iconic park.

Whatever protesters do, the park will be demolished: PM

Meanwhile, Erdoğan dismissed the protests saying: “Whatever you do, we have made a decision and we will do it.”

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for Istanbul’s third bridge over the Bosphorus, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Erdoğan invited protesters to research the city’s history. “If you have respect for history, first you need to learn the history of Gezi Park.” Erdoğan added that the area had been the site of the “Topçu Kışlası” (Artillery Barracks) and the work aimed to reconstruct the barracks. 


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Notice on comments

Geir Fugleberg

5/30/2013 8:09:06 PM

It is abvious that as a typical turkish backstreet tug Mr E cannot aford to change his decision,in fact not any decision bcs that would make him look weak. Looking weak is what tugs like this fear most of all,so this will escalate.Anyway theese young people look seriously like they might indulge in some public kissing,that might be the real reason for the brutality!!!!

Basil Keilani

5/30/2013 4:45:58 PM

What is so significant about rebuilding an old Ottoman barracks and destroying a park that has become iconic? Many people from Istanbul love their park. He's acting like a sultan or something. The people were naive in voting for this leader who wants to go back in the past. There should be a limit.

mara mcglothin

5/30/2013 4:05:22 PM

Good one! MISSES ATATURK!!!!


5/30/2013 11:55:23 AM

Main opposition does nothing else than taking the other front 24/7, if Erdogan would not close this park, he would state that it should be demolished. He is an insult to the party of our great leader Ataturk....

autonomic identity

5/30/2013 9:25:23 AM

You can force us to go, But it won't be easy!

turk oz

5/30/2013 3:05:16 AM

Turkish PM is an ignorant man for sure. He is a thug as they call in USA. Who is someone has no education a street wise person but does not know the difference at all. That is what Turkish people have to deal with. Of course he has all his cronies with him with the help of EU and USA. They can not do this alone, they get their info from outside. Please GOD if their is any justice get rid of the all AKP. But at the same time AKP has no GOD also....

Blue Beyond

5/29/2013 8:11:23 PM

As a frequent visitor to Turkiye from Canada, I abhor the actions of PM Erdogan in so many areas. This is certainly one of them.

lara ulusoy

5/29/2013 7:35:39 PM

It would have been nicer to upgrade the existing park and turn it into some heaven for all... I feel we're losing Istanbul's character in a way and it is becoming a suffocating place loaded with those ugly skyscrapers and malls and all those residential complexes... pity! One day our grandchildren will be talking about Istanbul and describing it in a way this generation will not be able to relate to in any way. Aside from all the excellent transport facilities, I miss the real Istanbul.

Misses Ataturk

5/29/2013 6:10:43 PM

RTE - "Whatever you do, we have decided about that place and we will do it". Yes, and that is your whole attitude towards this country too Mr Dictator Erdogonemad.


5/29/2013 6:00:42 PM

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