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POLITICS > PM Erdoğan calls on demonstrators to end Gezi Park protest, no step back from project

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Turkish PM Erdoğan admitted that there were 'mistakes' in the use of tear gas by the police forces, without criticising their action. AA photo

Turkish PM Erdoğan admitted that there were 'mistakes' in the use of tear gas by the police forces, without criticising their action. AA photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on demonstrators protesting the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park to end their mobilization, without back-peddling on the Artillary Barracks project that initially sparked the protests.

“I'm warning those who came there with honest feelings - they have been subject to illegal groups, they should not comply with them. I plead that they immediately end this protest,” Erdoğan said June 1 in a speech at the 20th congress of Turkey's Exporters Assembly. 

He described the demonstrations as “ideological” rather than “environmental.” “Nobody has the right to raise tensions with the excuse that trees are being cut down,” he said, claiming that the opposition was “manipulating” the protests. 

He also reiterated that the demolition underway was related to the enlargement of the pedestrian road at the Harbiye entrance of the park, and not to the controversial Artillery Barracks project. “But the issue is not the 5-10 trees that are being removed. The demonstration that started with the Gezi Park protests has become ideological,” Erdoğan said, without giving any signals that the reconstitution of the historic barracks would be halted. “The barracks have to be built in their place, while protecting the current green area. They say that some would get rent out of this. We are only aiming for our people to receive rents.”

He said the much debated Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM), also on Taksim Square, should also be demolished, proposing to build an opera house there instead.

‘Mistakes’ in tear gas use

Erdoğan admitted that there were mistakes in the use of tear gas by the police forces, saying an “investigation” had been launched. He nevertheless added that the police officers worked in very difficult conditions and praised their vigilance, especially towards shop owners. “There are some people who have very dark [pasts]. We know from intelligence reports,” Erdoğan said, describing reports of the deaths of protesters on social media “calumnies.” “We see that [those who spread these kind of] reports are the same fascists who said ‘you should hang them in gallows,’” he added.

The prime minister said it was unfair to accuse the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of being anti-environmental, and also said the protesters at Gezi Park were being “dishonest,” as there was no interlocutor expressing a common demand.

Critics who say that Istanbul needs a park similar to New York’s Central Park are “not even aware” of the area of the plot of New York's recently built land disposal facility, Erdoğan said, adding that these critics also “refused” to see Istanbul's assets, such as Yıldız Park.

New York’s Central Park is around 3.4 square kilometres of land, while Yıldız Park is around 0.29 square kilometres of land.

Erdoğan ended his speech with an ominous warning to main opposition Republican People's Party (AKP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who is set to deliver a speech in Istanbul's Beşiktaş district before moving to Taksim. “If you use provocative words, our people will never forgive you. If it comes down to making a meeting, if you gather 100,000 people, I can gather a million,” he said.

Court's suspension order 'raises question marks'

In a later speech Erdoğan questioned the court decision on suspending the Artillery Barracks project, noting that the way to appeal was open. 

"Did we announce the project? What happened for you to come and make such a statement yesterday [May 31] evening? This raises question marks," Erdoğan said defiantly. "It is not right for anybody to make a step putting caution aside. Especially the judiciary. The opposition takes refuge behind this ruling and says the court ordered a suspension. But [they should] hold on."

June/01/2013

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a shah

6/2/2013 10:17:32 PM

pan pam you are ignorant, Alcohol is part of European culture and leads to alcohol related lewd and lascivious behavior , alcoholic liver cirrhosis, blood pressure elevation, loss of self restraint and other neuropsychiatric disturbances inimical to good citizenry and responsible behavior, for many of such reason it is forbidden in Islam.

Çılgın Kanarya

6/2/2013 9:05:42 PM

DUTCH TURK, you are of course welcome to your theories of why people criticise Erdoǧan on here, as most people who comment on HDN are able to comprehend democracy, unlike yourself. But believe me, 99% of the THOUSANDS of people occupying Taksim Square & Gezi Park are TURKISH, with a tiny minority of curious foreign tourists taking photos! I don't know how long you've been away from this country Dutch Turk, but it's apparently long enough to have left you completely out of touch with reality.

Ryan James

6/2/2013 4:26:19 PM

The delusional PM, finished and not even marginally aware of it. Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, GOODBYE.

Thessalonian

6/2/2013 3:44:26 PM

@DutchTurk JANICAR. It is obvious you do not miss a chance to divert your hatred towards Greece and its people even when the subject matter at hand is totally irrelevant and or unrelated to Greece. By the way, in case you haven't noticed yet, the comments against Mr. Erdogan's dictatorial and or authoritarian islamist establishment and disposition are from Turkish people as well as from people from all over the globe, not just from Turk hating Greeks as you would like to believe. Regards

DutchTurk JANICAR

6/2/2013 3:09:40 PM

@Sev Cihan, maybe you don't see that all foreign people here comment on their own interest NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE TURKISH PEOPLE, for example the Israelis don't like Erdogans attitude towards Israel and Palestine, the Americans don't like the AKP standing up for Muslims, the Greeks don't like Erdogan since he brought prosperity and boosts the Turkish army like never before, the Armenians here don't like Erdogan because he refuses to open the border, so tell me who is brainwashed now?

cemal ahmet

6/2/2013 2:30:02 PM

oh dear,what else could you ask more or expect from a spastic guy who called ATATURK & ISMET INONU "2 drunkard and boozers"? "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning"..Winston Churchill .............Happy Days "R" Us............never give up.

Robert Moran

6/2/2013 2:18:56 PM

If Mr. Erdogan wants to become the President, in the next term, then I would suggest he listen to the Turkish people who elected him to serve them and not himself. Never should he believe he can remove anything remotely connected to Ataturk, for Erdogan will never take Ataturk's place in history. Second, not everything should revolve around money. I have been to Istanbul 4 times and it would be a shame to tear it down for a mall that is really not needed.

Sev Cihan

6/2/2013 2:14:59 PM

where a lot of brainwashed turks like DUTCHTURK! erdogan was never good for this country! where a countless examples but i am sure you wont read them and think that your sulta... prime minister is right!

young genius

6/2/2013 1:29:07 PM

@DutchTurk JANICAR This is NOT about a park anymore!!

american american

6/2/2013 1:21:43 PM

the only one with an identity crisis is dutchturk...it is fine when turkish officers kill turks in self defense. no need for apologies there.
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