Ruling AKP defends intervention at Gezi Park, says 'gov't should provide protection'

Ruling AKP defends intervention at Gezi Park, says 'gov't should provide protection'

Ruling AKP defends intervention at Gezi Park, says govt should provide protection

Turkey's ruling AKP Deputy Chairman and Spokesperson Hüseyin Celik addresses the media in Ankara June 12. REUTERS photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik has said the government "must provide the protection of its people," defending the police intervention at Taksim’s Gezi Park late June 15.

“If some groups have been doing this [protests] to harm the AKP, they should be aware that this would also harm their country and their children,” Çelik told private broadcaster Habertürk.

He also added that the AKP meeting will be held on June 16 as scheduled in İstanbul’s Kazlıçeşme Square. Çelik said that no demonstration could last for this long and “That is what the prime minister means by saying ‘being patient.’ If Turkey was not a democratic country, the government would not tolerate these protests,” he said.

“I don’t believe that the police have been intervening against the protesters with joy,” he said.

Criticizing the international media, Çelik asserted that some foreign media coverage had “exaggerated the facts.”

“The Spanish media has been covering the protests in Turkey in an exaggerated way by underlining that Turkey received more tourists than their country last year,” he added.

“Vandalism has caused the loss of lives this time,” Çelik said.

'PM Erdoğan feels cheated' 

Hüseyin Çelik also said that the police evacuation could not have waited until tomorrow. He also slammed the representatives of the Taksim Solidarity Platform that met with Erdoğan two nights before for not announcing the end of the protest during their morning statement. 

“A country’s prime minister will meet you for 10 hours, you will reach an agreement then say something else behind his back. Wouldn’t you feel cheated [if you were in his shoes]?” Çelik told private broadcaster Habertürk. 

Following the late night meeting on June 13, the government gave the assurance that it would comply with a court decision that suspended the redevelopment plans for Gezi Park.    

The protesters had earlier decided to stay at the park despite the assurances, but nevertheless cleared the park of barricades and political banners. The Taksim Solidarity Platform, which launched the protests two weeks ago, had also called for a mass meeting tomorrow at 4 p.m.