Erdogan Warns: No More Tolerance for Protests

World | June 11, 2013, Tuesday // 17:37
Bulgaria: Erdogan Warns: No More Tolerance for Protests Protestors have accused Erdogan's government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he will not show "any more tolerance" for protests, BBC reported.

The prime minister defended the police intervention on Tuesday, saying that an environmental movement had been hijacked by people who wanted to harm Turkey.

He vowed to end the demonstrations after police cleared Istanbul's Taksim Square, the focal point of unrest for nearly two weeks.

In a televised speech to members of parliament from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) that was frequently interrupted by applause, he asked: "They say the prime minister is rough. So what was going to happen? Were we going to kneel down in front of these [people]?

"If you call this roughness, I'm sorry, but this Tayyip Erdogan won't change."

"To those who... are at Taksim and elsewhere taking part in the demonstrations with sincere feelings: I call on you to leave those places and to end these incidents and I send you my love.

"But for those who want to continue with the incidents I say: 'It's over.' As of now we have no tolerance for them.

"Not only will we end the actions, we will be at the necks of the provocateurs and terrorists and no-one will get away with it," he continued.

"I am sorry but Gezi Park is for taking promenades, not for occupation."

The unrest began after a crackdown on an environmental protest over Gezi Park's redevelopment.

The protests then widened, with demonstrators accusing Erdogan's government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state.

Three people have died and more than 5,000 have been injured since the protests began.

Smaller protests have occurred in the capital, Ankara, too.

Police there have used water cannon and tear gas to break up demonstrations almost every night.

The BBC's Mark Lowen, in the square, says this was a deliberate show of force that may jeopardise plans by Mr Erdogan to meet the protest organisers on Wednesday.

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Tags: taksim square, protests, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, PM, Turkish, turkey, Gezi park

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