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17 April 2014, Thursday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

Police retreat from Gezi Park, thousands flock to Taksim

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34
THOUSANDS FLOCKED TO TAKSIM AFTER POLICE RETREATED FROM THE AREA ON SATURDAY. (PHOTO: TODAY'S ZAMAN)
1 June 2013, Saturday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL
Riot police pulled out from Taksim’s Gezi Park on Saturday afternoon, taking away barricades and allowing in tens of thousands of protesters in an apparent move to end tensions from two days of anti-government protests.

Some protesters hurled objects at withdrawing officers and police vehicles, prompting officers to fire several rounds of tear gas to push back the crowds and resumed pulling out of Taksim Square.

The state-run Anatolia Agency said the protesters threw fireworks at police.

Earlier, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on demonstrators to end their protest, but remained defiant. He said the government would press ahead with the redevelopment plans at Taksim that sparked the demonstrations.

Tensions were still high until afternoon as police deployed tear gas and pressurized water against groups of protesters trying to reach the central İstanbul square early on Saturday.

The protest grew out of anger at police's heavy-handed tactics to break up a peaceful sit-in to protect a park in Taksim Square on Friday. It turned into a wider protest and spread to other Turkish cities. Dozens have been injured in the scuffles.

On Saturday, police clashed with several groups of youths trying to reach Taksim. Some threw stones at police.

Some 500 people marched along the Bosporus Bridge from Asian shore of the city, toward Taksim, on the European side, but were met with pressurized water and tear gas that filled the air in a thick haze of smoke.

There were clashes between protestors and police in İzmir throughout the night. Police said 92 people were detained during the crackdown.

In Ankara, people gathered in front of the Turkish Parliament building to protest the Gezi Park demolition. They threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the police, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd. There were also protests in Eskişehir, Muğla, Konya, Yalova, Antalya and Bolu throughout the night and on Saturday.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) cancelled a pre-scheduled rally in Kadıköy and said the party will join protests in Taksim.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's chief advisor İbrahim Kalın announced on his Twitter account on Saturday morning that İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş will hold a meeting later in the day with representatives from the Taksim Gezi Park Platform and Chamber of Architects to find a solution to the park controversy.

The incidents had begun to turn violent by Thursday night, when hundreds of people joined protestors who had been camping for the past three days to stand guard against the demolition of the park's walls and the uprooting of trees in an act of solidarity.

The group was dispersed by riot police who arrived on the scene early on Friday with riot control vehicles and pepper spray.

The group resisted the police and clashed in sometimes violent incidents but had to leave the area when officers used tear gas and water cannons to break up the protest. Some reports said several protestors were injured when a wall they were climbing collapsed during a police chase, while several others were detained. Police attacked protestors once again in the afternoon with tear gas and pressurized water in Taksim Square and surrounding neighborhoods as well as the Harbiye and Gümüşsuyu quarters.

The excessive force used by police has drawn outrage and condemnation from various circles, including the European Union, which strongly condemned the police's treatment of the protestors.  

At a press conference on Friday, İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said 63 people were detained and 12 were injured in the clashes. Yet, the figures dramatically rose overnight.  

He asserted that he fully respects people's freedom of expression and that there is not a "tree massacre" at Gezi Park. Governor Mutlu claimed that there are certain groups trying to cause tension between the police and protestors to make it look as if police do not care about nature. “We certainly know these groups and their aims. We also know that they have nothing to do with love for nature,” he added.

 
 
COMMENTS
Turkiye, we all are one heart as demanding AKP Government's resignation. Now!
lead th way
we all stand with our brother in Turkey, dont listen to those who want to distroy your wounderful country, Alkohol is the worst thing in the world, stay one hand and we wish you live in peace, Mr. Ardougan is great man achieve so many things for your contry.
Palestenian
you Turkish citizen are living in heaven, we areally envy you, you have beautiful country, with powerful economy, dont listen to the enemy and dont distroy your country with this acts, stay one hand in the face of enemy, your prime minister Mr. Rajab Ardogan have done so many good things for you to ...
Jordanian
Lets hope that the average person on the streets doesn't misinterpret what's at play and it is not Taksim but s sinister group within deceiving the ill informed, ignorant and naïve people. Be rest assured this is political manoeuvring to the lead up to next years elections. The CHP and its deep stat...
Senol
All the enemies of Turkey are celebrating with their national alcoholic drinks raised in hand; cheers, salute... This Islamist dictator person, named Erdogan, and his entire clan must be removed before we start seeing signs, as we enter the country, saying WELCOME TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF TURKEY! ...
VictorW
The Turkish government and media (particularly television ) failed the 'democracy test' this week. We now need to find out why many TV channels decided (were instructed) not to cover the biggest story in Turkey especially on Thursday and Friday.
danger
Erdogan is one to talk about terrorists - he and his gestapo are proven AGAIN to be the biggest terrorist threat to the citizens of Turkey. I think his resignation is long over-due. God bless ALL those who stand firm against this mad man and have their collective voices heard - the world is listenin...
mica
Why is AKP so hellbent on destroying a park, that is the real issue here. they've done good things for the country in the past 10 years, but that was "easy to fix" problems. Now they face the population. They face democracy at work. How they handle this will prove their worth, and so far they've don...
Halis
Mt. Erdogan can't tolerate anarchy, the rule of law should prevail, otherwise chaos will rein and may lead to a Turkish Spring
Raffi
this is just tension and need to time that peoples keep their calm. turkey is a best country between another Islamic countries Turks people is different from peoples of Egypt or Iran. attention that Turkey before French get the right of vote to women's. I love you turkey and i hope that be successfu...
tabrizli
Erdogan is a fascist, he needs to go. Bring Democracy to Turkey, get rid of the AKP Islamists!!!
Joachim Weiskopf
@Human, what does the ruling party has to do with Islam? They are co-operating with the zionist state against the resistance group. They support terrorist groups in syria who are killing innocent muslims.
Africa
you think this is a coincidence No what's around the corner Erdogan 2014 election time they are trying to disrupt the peace and give you a bad image you will notice more things happening in turkey (Allah knows best) to overthrow you they know how influential and charismatic you are the last thing th...
ozgur
Opposition political parties in Europe are constructive? O please!!! anyway yes, the article is unbalanced. Rumor say arrested people are at least 940, injured I can't imaginate how much with such a violence and I can't think about Death people. Is this humanity? What's different with Gaza?
tuuuuuu
Erdogan was so keen to cause trouble for President Assad and now he faces trouble at home! It looks like Turks want regime change in Turkey. Perhaps Russia, China, Iran and Syria should support the rebels in Turkey now? Now who's laughing? Why do I not feel any sympathy for US/Zio puppet Erdogan????...
Percy
@Dancake @DonCarlitos I suggest then, you never visit or support Olympics held in the United States. Guantanamo, Occupy movements treated harshly, etc. But something tells me that doesn't bother you, no?
Politics Student
Sorry ErdoGONE, GONE, GONE, your people HATE you so much. The time is up. You may step down now. Assad of Syria must STAY because he was very much loved by his people. Shame, shame, shame. Goodbye ErdoGONE.
Park
Great point about the Olympics - I'd say this will really hurt their chances.
David
Erdogan transformed Hatay in Bora Bora and kandahar, now he is transforming Takim Square to Tahrir Square, He finished politically!Egyptian police was much more mercifull towards demonstrators there, so were even the Syrian Police, why Turkish Police was so violent why all this cruelty towards youth...
Araratian
Thia ia juat the propaganda from CHP and MHP because they a;ways fail to win elections. They have no clear goal how to take turkey forward and they never did anything when they were in power. no AK party of Erdogan moved turkey in a very good direction, significantly improving the economy and they a...
flo
@DonCarlitos then where will you go ? Can you share with us when you decide ? i think you should share because you have talked about your first plan and said negative things about our country. And may be we will discuss your new vacation place . And where are you from ? May be we have also someth...
aydemabu
people are on the streets for a second night in Ankara... and for a second night there is no live tv coverage and no media... just facebbok and twitter..
tehlikeli yabanci
Taksim Gezi Park demonstrators in Turkey remind those of Tahrir Square in Egypt. It is wise for the government to annul the demolishing of the park and leave it as a clean green area for the people. Environmental issues and quality of life is much more important that business men monetary gains.
M.N.H. Comsan
All these protesters are brainwashed.
Realist
After all this violence, will they give Olimpics 2020 to İstanbul?
Dancake
Well. We were planning a vacation trip to Istanbul, and now we're canceling - like many of our friends. A police force that does what we saw to its own citizens cannot be trusted to protect and serve anyone - especially tourists.
DonCarlitos
Opposition political parties in Europe are constructive. But in Turkey, the minority opposition has only one goal and that is to remove Erdogan. They don't have any constructive plan about future and do not acknowledge the achievements of this government over the corrupt CHP in the past 70 years. Pa...
Human
The article is mentioning that "Some 500 people marched along the Bosporus Bridge". Even on the picture it is clear that the numbers were much higher. Other then that the article seems pretty balanced.
Jonathan
Erdoğan is nothing bug a dictator. The Turkish people are done accepting his anti-democratic behavior.
Ataturk
The park issue ignites the anger below the surface. One of them is that Turkey has changed its “Zero Problems” policy to a "sleep with the terrorists may be we will get lucky policy".
Sir Percy
The chief of police in Istanbul should be sacked, for starters. Also, this article fails to convey the extreme violence of the police attacks. Photos circulating on social media show thick, dark clouds of gas rising above the tall buildings of Taksim, and reports tell of tear gas canisters covering ...
Kathleen
chp propaganda turkey is changing for the better long live Erdogan
ozgur
Ardogan is a new Hitler!
David
Democracy in action! Looks like the Turkish people don't like the heavy hand of the government in this case, good for them!
Christoph
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