آخرین مطالب
پربازدیدترین مطالب

۱۱ خرداد ۱۳۹۲

مجله تابلو

English


tableaumag English post


Police in the Turkish city of Istanbul have pulled out of a square which has become the focus of the largest anti-government protest in years.

Thousands of people are in Taksim Square after days of unrest sparked by plans to redevelop nearby Gezi Park.

In recent days police have fired tear gas and water cannon several times to break up the demonstrations.

PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police may have used excessive force but that the park development will go ahead.

An administrative court had ordered a temporary halt to the demolition work on Friday, but in a defiant speech to the exporters’ union on Saturday, Mr Erdogan said an Ottoman era military barracks on the Gezi Park site would be rebuilt on the site as planned.

Referring to protesters fears that the site was destined to be a shopping mall, he said one “might be built on the ground floor or a city museum” but that this had not yet been decided.

He called for an end to the protests, saying Taksim Square “cannot be an area where extremists are running wild”.

Continue reading the main story
Turkish media reaction

Murat Yetkin in the pro-secular, English-language daily Hurriyet says the “disproportionate” response of police to the protests “has managed to turn a pacifist and modest protest into a public protest movement”.

Ali Bayramoglu, writing in the pro-government Islamist daily Yeni Safak asks how the authorities allowed the situation to get so bad. “If there is a public reaction, why won’t it [the government] halt the project, even temporarily, and talk to the protestors?”

In Islamist daily Today’s Zaman, Ihsan Yilmaz says that if the government does not listen to the protesters the park issue “may be the last straw and may pave the way for the eventual electoral loss of the city”.

Press slams handling of protests
Police ‘mistakes’
The protesters say the park is one of the few green spaces left in Istanbul, and that the government is ignoring their appeals for it be saved.

Their protests initially began as a sit-in in the park, but erupted in clashes on Friday as police fired tear gas to try to clear them out.

Correspondents say that what was initially a local issue has spiralled into widespread anti-government unrest and anger over the perceived “Islamisation” of Turkey.

One woman told Agence France-Presse: “They want to turn this country into an Islamist state, they want to impose their vision all the while pretending to respect democracy.”

Another, Oral Goktas, said the protest had brought together people from many different backgrounds objecting to the prime minister’s leadership.

“This has become a protest against the government, against Erdogan taking decisions like a king,” she told Reuters news agency.

The perception that police have been heavy-handed by firing tear gas and water cannon – a view adopted by many of the country’s mainstream media – also fuelled the unrest. Dozens of people have been injured in the clashes.

Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper quoted police as saying 138 people were in custody.

Mr Erdogan said there had been “some mistakes, extremism in police response”, while the authorities have insisted that any allegations of abuse of power by the police will be investigated.

In an apparent bid to reduce tensions, police and riot vehicles were withdrawn from the square on Saturday afternoon, and barricades removed, allowing thousands of people to enter the square.