Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has faced international condemnation for hishandling of the crisis. Turkish police have also been strongly criticized for using exc-essive force against the peaceful protests.
Taken from Occupy Gezi Facebook page
Related Interviews: ‘Turkey police under fire for crackdown’ ‘Turkey’s Syria policy prompts anxiety’ Related Viewpoints: Erdogan’s political honeymoon ending? Turkey’s European Union minister has warned that Turkish police will consider protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square as members or supporters of terrorist groups. “I request our citizens who supported the protests until today kindly to return to their homes,” Egemen Bagis said in a late Saturday interview with Turkish channel A Haber.
“From now on the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there a supporter or member of a terror organization,” Bagis stated. He went on to say that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has already assured [activists] about their aim with the protests. The protests from now on will play into the hands of some separatist organizations that want to break the peace and prioritize vandalism and terrorism.”
The unrest in Turkey erupted after police broke up a sit-in staged at Taksim Square on May 31 to protest against a government plan for the redevelopment of Gezi Park. On Saturday night, Turkish police attacked anti-government protesters at Taksim, shortly after Erdogan ordered the demonstrators to evacuate the area. Police also stormed the protest camp in Gezi Park, firing tear gas and using water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters defying the prime minister’s order to leave.
Several protesters have also been detained or wounded – some of them allegedly by rubber bullets. Also on Saturday, Erdogan told the protesters that they would face the police if they did not leave Gezi Park. “I say this very clearly: either Taksim Square is cleared, or if it isn’t cleared, then the security forces of this country will know how to clear it,” the Turkish prime minister said in a speech to his supporters in the Ankara suburb of Sincan. The embattled premier said the demonstrations – which have been the largest street protests during his 10 years in power – were part of an organized plot against him.
However, the protesters have vowed to continue their campaign until their demands are met and the detained people are released. The Turkish prime minister has faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis. Turkish police have also been strongly criticized for using excessive force against the peaceful protests. Five people, including a police officer, have reportedly died in the clashes and more than 5,000 protesters and 600 police officers have been wounded.