Violence flares in Istanbul, Turkish PM Erdogan continues to hold mass rallies.

By bne IntelliNews June 24, 2013

On Saturday (June 22), thousands of people gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square to commemorate four protesters and a policeman killed in earlier protests.  Riot police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the crowd in the first clash in Istanbul for almost a week. There were also clashes between the protestors and with police in the capital Ankara over the weekend. Protests, especially in Istanbul, had eased since last Saturday after police cleared Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the epicentre of the unrest. The interior ministry said about 2.5mn people took part in demonstrations in 79 cities since the unrest began on May 31. Around 5,000 people have been detained and 4,000 protesters and 600 police injured, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP held mass rallies in the Black Sea city of Samsun on Saturday and in the eastern city of Erzurum on Sunday. The AKP has called five rallies to show its strength and popularity so far since anti-government protests began. Erdogan continued to make confrontational statements at the rallies. He told his supporters that the protests were part of an international conspiracy, the protests serve the country’s enemies, and the protestors insulted Islam. He also defended the tactics of the police. Erdogan has been holding rallies in Turkey’s pious Anatolian heartland, the AKP’s stronghold, in a move to keep his conservative supporter base intact ahead of local elections scheduled for March 2014. The anti-government protests and AKP rallies only show the deep division between Erdogan’s conservative supporters and mostly middle-class, liberal protestors. Turkish society seems to have become more polarised than ever.

Related Articles

Poland supports Turkey’s near-dead EU membership bid

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a warm welcome from his Polish peer Andrzej Duda on October 17, as Warsaw said it supported Ankara’s formally ongoing bid to become a member of the ... more

Poland claims there will be “no taboo” in talks with Erdogan

Poland will skip no touchy topics in talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visiting Warsaw on October 17, the office of President Andrzej Duda said ahead of the visit by the Turkish leader, ... more

Erdogan says he plans talks with lenders on cutting Turkish interest rates

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 13 that he plans to hold talks with both public and private lenders on how to lower interest rates. He did not say, however, when those ... more