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Turkey: Hundreds of thousands rally to Erdogan's side01:18

Turkey: Hundreds of thousands rally to Erdogan's side

Turkey, Istanbul
June 16, 2013 at 19:07 GMT +00:00 · Published

Turkey: Hundreds of thousands rally to Erdogan's side

In a speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "clearing Gezi Park is my duty". According to Erdogan the Turkish people have had to deal with decietful international media, who portray a false and biased view of Turkey. In his speech he referred to the protesters as scum and looters.

Following nearly 20 days of protests, Erdogan delivered an ultimatum to demonstrators: leave the "occupied" Taksim Square and Gezi Park before Sunday or be prepared for police forces to move in. However, on Saturday ahead of the given deadline, thousands of riot police moved into the centre of Istanbul, destroying barriers and dispersing crowds with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas.

Huseyin Avni Mutlu, the governor of Istanbul admitted on Sunday that there were chemicals in the water used in police cannons during the evacuation. Mutlu claims the chemical used is relatively innocent after protesters reported a burning feeling on their skin and posted pictures on social media of skin irritation in reaction to contact with the water.

Riots spilled onto the streets as a result of the ambush as thousands of protesters refused to vacate the centre of Turkey’s largest city. Police have attempted to close down Taksim Square and Gezi Park to prevent protesters from re-occupying the main areas of the movement. Police have also attacked buildings in the area being used as safe havens including 5 star hotels, hospitals, cemeteries and mosques.

Opponents as well as supporters of Erdogan and his AKP have demonstrated in Istanbul on Sunday. Security forces blocked protesters who were trying to reach Taksim square from all over Istanbul. In Ankara and Izmir, huge demonstrations also took place in support of fellow anti-government protesters across the country and against what is seen as the increasingly authoritarian rule of Erdogan.

Gezi Park and the adjacent Taksim Square have been the epicentres of anti-government protests for almost three weeks now. What started as a peaceful protest against the redevelopment of Gezi Park turned into nationwide demonstrations that have killed at least five people and injured more than 5,000. According to the Turkish Medical Association at least 135 people has been hospitalised as a result of Saturday night’s clashes.

Turkey: Hundreds of thousands rally to Erdogan's side01:18
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Turkey: Hundreds of thousands rally to Erdogan's side

In a speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "clearing Gezi Park is my duty". According to Erdogan the Turkish people have had to deal with decietful international media, who portray a false and biased view of Turkey. In his speech he referred to the protesters as scum and looters.

Following nearly 20 days of protests, Erdogan delivered an ultimatum to demonstrators: leave the "occupied" Taksim Square and Gezi Park before Sunday or be prepared for police forces to move in. However, on Saturday ahead of the given deadline, thousands of riot police moved into the centre of Istanbul, destroying barriers and dispersing crowds with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas.

Huseyin Avni Mutlu, the governor of Istanbul admitted on Sunday that there were chemicals in the water used in police cannons during the evacuation. Mutlu claims the chemical used is relatively innocent after protesters reported a burning feeling on their skin and posted pictures on social media of skin irritation in reaction to contact with the water.

Riots spilled onto the streets as a result of the ambush as thousands of protesters refused to vacate the centre of Turkey’s largest city. Police have attempted to close down Taksim Square and Gezi Park to prevent protesters from re-occupying the main areas of the movement. Police have also attacked buildings in the area being used as safe havens including 5 star hotels, hospitals, cemeteries and mosques.

Opponents as well as supporters of Erdogan and his AKP have demonstrated in Istanbul on Sunday. Security forces blocked protesters who were trying to reach Taksim square from all over Istanbul. In Ankara and Izmir, huge demonstrations also took place in support of fellow anti-government protesters across the country and against what is seen as the increasingly authoritarian rule of Erdogan.

Gezi Park and the adjacent Taksim Square have been the epicentres of anti-government protests for almost three weeks now. What started as a peaceful protest against the redevelopment of Gezi Park turned into nationwide demonstrations that have killed at least five people and injured more than 5,000. According to the Turkish Medical Association at least 135 people has been hospitalised as a result of Saturday night’s clashes.