Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Google Glass sale a test of consumer interest

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to the future

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A "caretaker" government

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Over 70 killed in Nigeria bus station terror attack

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornagraphy without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

ENCORE!

“Booty Looting” memory and mediums

Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • Putin says Ukraine 'on brink of war' as Kiev evicts separatists

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • Deadly fire rips through Chile’s Valparaiso for third day running

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Bluefin-21 'mini-sub' redeploys for Malaysian jet

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

  • French police begin mass DNA test in hunt for school rapist

    Read more

  • Guardian, Washington Post win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

    Read more

  • France looks to lift ailing economy with business-friendly diplomacy

    Read more

Europe

Turkish PM addresses rally as police thwart opposition

© Mehdi Chebil / FRANCE24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-06-17

Hundreds of thousands of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's supporters watched him speak at a rally in Istanbul on Sunday as riot police fired tear gas to thwart anti-government demonstrators and unions called a strike.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan rallied hundreds of thousands of supporters at an Istanbul parade ground on Sunday as riot police fired teargas several kilometres away in the city centre to disperse anti-government protesters.

Erdogan told a sea of flag-waving supporters that two weeks of protests had been manipulated by “terrorists” and dismissed suggestions that he was behaving like a dictator, a constant refrain from those who have taken to the streets.

Turkish PM's supporters and opponents in competition

Riot police fired teargas into side streets around the central Taksim Square as he spoke, trying to prevent protesters from regrouping after hundreds were evicted from the adjoining Gezi Park, the centre of the protests, late on Saturday.

“They say ‘you are too tough’, they say ‘dictator’. What kind of a dictator is this who met the Gezi Park occupiers and honest environmentalists. Is there such dictator?,” Erdogan said to roars of approval from the crowd.

“The attitude across Turkey with the pretext of Taksim’s Gezi Park is not sincere. It is nothing more than the minority’s attempt to dominate the majority ... We could not have allowed this and we will not allow it,” he said.

Bulldozers removed barricades and municipal workers swept the streets around Taksim, sealed off by police on Sunday after thousands took to the streets overnight following the raid by riot police firing teargas and water cannon.

The umbrella protest group behind the Gezi Park campaign, Taksim Solidarity, called for demonstrators to gather peacefully again in the square, but Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu made clear they would not be allowed to do so.

“Any call for (people to gather in) Taksim will not contribute to peace and security,” he told reporters, as riot police fired teargas in several locations to disperse groups of demonstrators trying to reach the square.

“After the current environment becomes stable, they can continue exercising their democratic rights. Under current circumstances we will not allow any gathering.”

Erdogan, who also addressed supporters of his ruling AK Party in Ankara on Saturday, said the rallies were to kick off campaigning for local elections next year and not related to the protests, but they are widely seen as a deliberate show of strength.

Image tarnished

The blunt-talking prime minister has long been Turkey’s most popular politician, overseeing a decade of unprecedented prosperity, and his AK Party has won an increasing share of the vote in three successive election victories, but his critics complain of increasing authoritarianism.

While the protests pose no immediate threat to his government, they have tarnished Turkey’s image as a haven of stability in a turbulent Middle East.

Two union federations said on Sunday they would stage a one-day nationwide strike on Monday in protest at the forced eviction of the Gezi Park protesters.

The protesters, who oppose government plans to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks in the leafy park adjoining Taksim Square, had defied repeated calls to leave but had started to reduce their presence in the park after meetings with Erdogan and the local authorities.

A similar police crackdown on peaceful campaigners in Gezi Park two weeks ago provoked an unprecedented wave of protest against Erdogan, drawing in secularists, nationalists, professionals, trade unionists and students.

The unrest, in which police fired teargas and water cannon at stone-throwing protesters night after night in cities including Istanbul and Ankara, left four people dead and about 5,000 injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-06-16

  • TURKEY

    Turkish police clear Istanbul park after PM's warning

    Read more

  • TURKEY

    Turkey’s Erdogan open to Istanbul park referendum

    Read more

  • TURKEY

    Istanbul protesters claim victory as police stand down

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)