Gezi Park occupation cannot continue, says interior minister
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Interior Minister Muammer Güler said the ongoing situation at Gezi Park could “not continue in this way.” DHA photoInterior Minister Muammer Güler said the ongoing situation at Gezi Park could “not continue in this way,” saying that many people were living at the park 24 hours a day.
“Although Gezi Park is open to public, our friends [the protesters] have been living there for 24 hours in their tents since June 1. There is no explanation for that. Taksim has a hotel capacity of around 30,000 rooms … There cannot be police interventions against legal statements, but Gezi Park cannot continue in this way,” Güler told reporters today.
He also repeated the government’s call for protesters to differentiate themselves from “provocateurs” at the park. “We believe in our children’s sincerity. It is not possible for these children to be in the same place as these provocateurs at Gezi Park. If marginal groups are going to continue to clashes, our police has to do its job,” he said.
The interior minister also claimed that some people had attempted to burn the protesters’ tents but that this had been prevented.
Those tents were attempted to be burned, but my friends prevented this. There are some groups who want to clash with the police by using Gezi Park as an excuse. The brand value of the country is being devaluated. I hope reason will prevail,” Güler said.
He also said the investigators were working on claims of excessive police force used against protesters, but called on people to see the other side of the coin, saying that those who damaged property should be focused on as well.
Meanwhile, Güler said a referendum about the future of Gezi Park could be held either in the Beyoğlu district or in wider Istanbul. He stressed that there was no ongoing construction work on the planned Artillery Barracks, an Ottoman-era building that was previously planned to be rebuilt in Taksim Gezi Park, triggering the protests across Turkey. Güler said there was only “pavement expansion work” planned at the site.