Taksim platform softens demands, insistent on Gezi Park

Taksim platform softens demands, insistent on Gezi Park

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Taksim platform softens demands, insistent on Gezi Park

The Taksim Solidarity Platform has called on the government to leave the park out of any possible constructions, in a recently released press statement. DHA photo

The Taksim Solidarity Platform, which represents the core of the Gezi Park protest, has softened some of its demands on the government, dropping its request that the governor and interior minister be dismissed but refusing to budge on protecting the park.

Despite softening the demands, which previously called for the resignation of all responsible for police violence, including the Istanbul governor, the platform’s statement insisted on maintaining the park as it is, without “touching a single one of its trees,” as well as continuing to argue against the planned tunnels in Taksim that are part of the square’s pedestrianization.

The statement also called for the Kalyon construction company to be subjected to investigation over the bridges and trees which they “illegally” demolished around the site, according to the platform.
Incidents of police violence should also be investigated, the statement added.

The group has previously demanded that the Atatürk Cultural Center should also remain as it is and that tear gas should be banned by law. Earlier statements had called on government to remove all obstacles to freedom of expression.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is open to dialogue with protesters, the party’s deputy chairman, Hüseyin Çelik, told daily Radikal.

“Our doors and our hearts are open,” Çelik said. “Our Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] may meet if they form a group of three to five or 10 persons. It is not only Gezi Park, we are open to dialogue on any concern.”

The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Faruk Loğoğlu said the Gezi Park incidents were “a milestone” for Turkey.

“Previous generations, like my generation, think about you and your children’s generation. Now the younger generations are shifting. They are laying a hand on my generation, protecting it too,” Loğoğlu said, maintaining that the Gezi Park incidents had the potential to change social paradigms.

“This is a very serious paradigm change. The responsibilities of the generations are, so to say, shifting. I find this positive. If we cannot protect it, it is positive that these youngsters living in this era more harmoniously and in mutual interaction are protecting it,” he said.

Milestone for Turkey

Recalling that during the Gezi Park protests, different supporters of rival football clubs worked together and that those not praying protected those who were during Friday prayer, the veteran diplomat said the Gezi Park unrest would have global effects.

This process “will enrich society with a people’s democracy, not as ballot-box democracy.”

For its part, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) argued that Erdoğan, who conducted six separate rallies on June 9 against the Gezi Park protests, has not displayed the manner and responsibility which should have been shown by a prime minister during the protests.

“Until now, the prime minister’s approach failed as far as his duties and responsibilities go. He rather [took the rostrum] as ‘the AK Party general chairman.’ He started arranging rallies and events with feelings of revenge and he displayed an approach which would bring two segments of the society against each other. This is the wrong approach. The prime minister’s responsibility is to keep the 76 million [population of Turkey] all together,” BDP deputy İdris Baluken said.

“First the prime minister, then all AKP officials and deputies, should give up their insulting, threatening, arrogant and imperious approaches immediately. The prime minister should make an effort to understand what people on the streets are saying instead of organizing counter rallies. If the prime minister went to Gezi Park and listened to the people’s requests on-site instead of staging separatist rallies in five different spots in Ankara, today, we might perhaps have come to a point where the tension in the streets had ended,” he said.

But EU Minister Egemen Bağış said Erdoğan was a “godsend” for the Turkish people.

“Thank God for granting us a leader such as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Tayyip Erdoğan is a gift that God has sent to this nation, to this country, to mankind, and this nation will continue to hold this gift in high esteem,” Bağış said June 10 in a written statement.

Demonstrations were not “Gezi Park protests,” but they were protests aiming to eliminate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the minister said. “Don’t waste your breath; this nation will not sacrifice Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Bağış said, adding that “a dirty plan” had been put into action against the AKP.