Turkish PM Erdoğan slams Gezi on eve of anniversary, targets Twitter, Facebook
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during an event marking the 561st anniversary of Istanbul's conquest by the Ottoman Turks, May 30. AA Photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed the Gezi Park protesters on the eve of the anniversary of last year's massive demonstrations, while criticizing Twitter and Facebook on May 30.
"Violence is where there is no thought and opinion. The Gezi people are those who have no thought. They never planted a tree. You won't become such youth. You'll speak with your pen," Erdoğan said during an award ceremony for an essay contest between schools in Istanbul.
The subject of the essay contest was "Conquest Spirit, [Sultan Mehmed] the Conqueror and Youth" to celebrate the 561st anniversary of Istanbul's conquest by the Ottoman Turks.
"Conquest doesn't mean to occupy or to annex or to usurp. To conquer means to open," Erdoğan said, referring to the Ottoman/Arabic root of the word.
After stressing that conquest should be understood as "resisting against oppressors," Erdoğan compared the Marmaray intercontinental underwater tunnel which was built during his government with Sultan Mehmed's military tactic "to walk the ships on the ground" to surprise the Byzantine defenders of Istanbul.
Erdoğan angrily reminded that the phrase "The oppression started in 1453" was written on a wall in Istanbul's Asian side neighborhood Kadıköy during the Gezi Park protests. "It was written by young people who were being used by a rootless, traitor mentality with dark ambitions. They make those young people even burn the Turkish flag. They wanted to set up a trap for Turkey through those young people," Turkish PM added.
Turkish PM criticized the calls for demonstrations on the Gezi protests anniversary on May 31. "Those straw men who are in disguise of artists make calls for rebellion for more pains, more deaths. But this youth will ignore those calls," Erdoğan said.
Calling the youth "to use modern communication tools like computer and the Internet carefully," Erdoğan targeted usual social media foes, too: "Never become a slave of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Don't surrender to the visual crazes and virtual relations that the Internet brings."
Turkey's Constitutional Court had ruled on May 29 that the government's ongoing blocking of YouTube is a right violation. Twitter was unblocked recently, thanks to a similar verdict.