Turkish prime minister vows to increase police force
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AP Photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the government will be increasing the intervention force exercised by the police, regarding possible incidents related to the ongoing Gezi protests.
“Within the authority the law provides, from now on, our police will not overlook any lawlessness, will continue to fulfill its duty. We will further strengthen our police. We will strengthen further in every way. So that we will increase the intervention power against these events,” Erdoğan said on June 18 in a speech at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting,
Regarding the widespread criticism of the police’s vast use of tear gas, Erdoğan responded, “It is their most inherent right, they will. You will see that in the EU acquis communautaire. When you do not obey, the police use this authority.”
Erdoğan took a step further in siding with the police. “What did they do? Did they shoot bullets? Use bullets? No,” adding that the accusations of police violence were unfounded.
He also said they would be inquiring into who was behind the Gezi protests, arguing that it was all a massive conspiracy, prepared very professionally in collaboration with social media, companies, the interest rate lobby, media and some “internal traitors and external collaborators.” He added that their true colors had now been revealed.
“It was prepared very professionally,” Erdoğan said. “Social media was prepared for this, made equipped. The strongest advertising companies of our country, certain capital groups, the interest rate lobby, organizations on the inside and outside, hubs, they were ready, equipped for this.”
Erdoğan slammed the opposition, saying they are hiding behind vandals’ backs since they fell short on opposing within Parliament. Amid particularly slamming the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Erdoğan was harsh regarding the party’s leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, arguing that he was not worthy to fill the post. Erdoğan accused Kılıçdaroğlu of acting like the head of a terrorist organization by calling on the police not to obey orders.
“From the public poll we have conducted, we have seen that those involved in Gezi Park events voted for the CHP by 76 percent and are their followers; 16 percent are from the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party]; 1.2 percent are from the AKP and 1.2 percent are from the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party]. This is the picture,” Erdoğan said, adding the CHP was involved in the protests.
Erdoğan also spoke about his power showdown at his two recent rallies. “Have those who continuously ask us whether we got the people’s message taken the message of hundreds of thousands in Sincan and over 1 million people in Kazlıçeşme?”
Erdoğan did not skip slamming the labor organizations that went on a strike on June 17 to protest against the police violence over the previous weekend in Gezi Park, arguing that the strike was “unlawful.” He once again implicitly pointed at Mehmet Ali Alabora, an actor who has openly supported the protests and been criticized repeatedly by the prime minister.
Erdoğan also said that those who promised him to evacuate the Gezi Park in negotiation talks, referring to two delegations he met in order to settle the unrest, did not keep their promise.