ANKARA - Hürriyet
Turkish PM Erdoğan reportedly left the meeting room after reacting angrily during an exchange with the DİSK union head. He was calmed down by his daughter and advisor Sümeyye Erdoğan. AA photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
reacted angrily toward a union head during a critical late night meeting with a group representing the Gezi Park protesters and had to be calmed down by his daughter, daily Hürriyet reported today.
Erdoğan, who was meeting a delegation of 16 people, including members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, artists and union representatives, lost his temper after an intervention by the General Secretary of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), Arzu Çerkezoğlu.
Çerkezoğlu told daily Hürriyet that she had pointed out toward the end of the meeting that Gezi Park had acquired a meaning that made impossible the perception of its redevelopment plans as a merely an architectural project, after Erdoğan told of his intention of going to a referendum if the appeal to the court’s decision suspending the construction at the park was upheld.
“I said ‘If we had held this meeting on May 25 [before the protests sparked], you would be right and we would only be talking about an architectural project. But in the last 17 days many things happened, hundreds of thousands have displayed a common will,’” Çerkezoğlu said.
Çerkezoğlu added that tension arose when she said, “This has become about something more than Gezi Park. There is a clear social and sociological situation. You have to say something regarding this.” Erdoğan had reacted angrily to this, saying that he knew “sociology very well” as a politician, leaving the meeting room.
His daughter and advisor Sümeyye Erdoğan reportedly joined him outside the room and calmed him down.
“We would have preferred to leave after shaking hands with the prime minister,” Çerkezoğlu said, adding that Erdoğan was angry with her union who insisted on celebrating May Day at Taksim Square despite the officials’ ban. She confirmed that Erdoğan had described her as an "extremist unionist."
Despite the tense moment, this second night’s meeting halted the escalation of the tension between officials and demonstrators.