Intervention in Taksim will carry on until full security is ensured: Istanbul governor
Istanbul Gov Hüseyin Avni Mutlu (C) appears at a press briefing accompanied by Istanbul Police Chief Hüseyin Çapkın (L) and Gendarmerie Chief Col Mehmet Artar. AA photoSome “marginal groups” have tried to instigate conflict in Istanbul, Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has said, calling on citizens not to go to Taksim Square until security is entirely restored by police forces.
“The state has opened Taksim Square after 15 days; from today I plead with our dear people not to be in the square until the process in which the security of the square is ensured [is completed],” Mutlu said during a press conference after police entered Taksim Square for a second time on June 11.
Mutlu appeared at the press briefing accompanied by Istanbul Police Chief Hüseyin Çapkın and Gendarmerie Province Chief Col. Mehmet Artar for the first time since the protests began two weeks ago. He also warned the groups that clashed with the police that their response would be stronger. “The unshakable power of our state and nation will fall upon the marginal groups,” he said.
Mutlu also called on the families of the youth occupying Gezi Park for the past two weeks to remove their children, saying their lives were in serious jeopardy.
“My responsibility is to look after all the youth that [are in Gezi Park]. There are serious intelligence reports that show there are security problems related to the lives of our dear children,” Mutlu said. “I’m addressing their families. I want to share with everyone that we are facing very serious attempts that marginal groups want to carry out and that the fire is threatening to encircle everyone.
Mutlu said the groups wanted to convert the Taksim area into a battlefield but that the police forces had not entered Gezi Park despite a number of provocations.
“The site was left for the citizens that wished to perform their demonstration scheduled for 7 p.m. However 30-35 people attacked the police stationed in front of the Atatürk Cultural Center with different materials,” Mutlu said, adding that those groups aimed to create a conflict between the state and the citizens.
“I implore their families that the children abandon the square. I respect their expectations and their desires at Gezi Park,” he said, reiterating his call for the children to leave the park.
Late visit to Taksim
Mutlu, together with Çapkın, went to Taksim Square at around 12:30 a.m. but said the presence of the youth was hindering their work and putting the security of police officers at risk.
The governor also dismissed claims about undercover police at the site in an earlier press conference, despite substantial speculation that plainclothes police officers were staging a mock battle with water cannon for the benefit of television cameras, especially after photos seemed to show one protester with either a walkie-talkie or gun in his pants.
“Walkie-talkies are things that are sold everywhere, and marginal groups use them for their own purposes. You can see that they use them to communicate with each other. The purpose of such acts can be seen clearly now,” Mutlu said.
He had also vowed that police forces would not enter Gezi Park, which is adjacent to the Taksim Square, although protesters said a number of volleys of gas had been lobbed into the park.