Turkey's squares not destined to become second Tahrir: PM Erdoğan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks at Trabzon's airport in front of supporters gathered for his arrival. AA photoTurkey's squares were not destined to become a "second Tahrir," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said on Aug. 23 in reference to Cairo's iconic square, where the latest anti-government protest wave paved the way for a military takeover in early July.
"Hopefully, the squares of our country won't become a second Tahrir. They will be Rabaa al-Adawiya, where democracy is sovereign," Erdoğan told hundreds of supporters at Trabzon's airport. The enthusiastic crowd was gathered to welcome the prime minister ahead of his four-day visit to his hometown Rize.
The prime minister repeated his criticism of the recent unprecedented nationwide protests triggered in May after repeated police crackdowns on protesters at Istanbul's Gezi Park.
"I know that you are with our brothers [in Egypt] who were killed without holding a gun in their hands... All these developments are the projects of those who can't accept a strong Turkey. It will backlash in the same way as it backlashed at Gezi," Erdoğan said.
He also took the opportunity to stress the progress that he said Turkey had made under 11 years of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. "They say we want freedom. I'm asking, what was in this country 10 years ago in terms of freedom? They can insult the prime minister as they wish, and then still talk about 'freedom.' These are miserable people who think insults mean freedom," Erdoğan said, particularly singling out the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) for criticism.
"Could Gezi come to Trabzon? To Giresun, Samsun or Rize? Why? Because those who have good sense think alike. Domestic income has tripled [under the AKP]," he said.
Over 140 chilfren killed in Syria chemical attack
Erdoğan has also openly confirmed the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, saying that close to 140 children were killed in the massacre in Damascus on Aug. 21.
Lashing out at opponents once again for calling him a "dictator," Erdoğan pointed to Syria's Bashar al-Assad as an example of a "real dictator."
"They have killed those children with chemical weapons - the number right now is close to 140 - don't those deaths resound with the mothers and fathers in this country? I'm sure they do,"
Erdoğan will participate in several events over the weekend and on Monday, planned in his hometown of Rize, east of Trabzon on the Black Sea coast.