Monday 19 March 2018

Patience has limits, Erdogan warns protesters

Ruth Sherlock Istanbul

RECEP Tayyip Erdogan warned that the patience of his Turkish government "has a limit" as protests continued for a 10th day in the country.

After riot police clashed with anti-government protesters in several cities in the early hours, Mr Erdogan told thousands of cheering supporters in Ankara: "We remained patient, we are still patient but there's a limit to our patience.

"Nobody should be pessimistic. Nobody should worry. Turkey went through many events in the past and will overcome this too."


Mr Erdogan toured the country yesterday, urging his backers to show their strength by voting for his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"I want you to teach them a first lesson through democratic means at the ballot box," he told supporters in the southern city of Adana, referring to next year's local polls.

In the southern port of Mersin, he raged against participants of the country anti-government protests, saying: "The youth that curses its prime minister cannot be my youth.

"If you care about democracy, this prime minister is at your disposal."

The trip followed a flare-up of violent riots in several Turkish cities, including the capital.

The national doctors' union said up to 4,800 people have been injured during demonstrations that began on May 31.

Demonstrators rallied in huge numbers around Istanbul's Gezi Park and Taksim Square for an "opposition" concert. As musicians sang Pink Floyd's lyrics "We don't need no education", protesters in their thousands cheered and whistled and waved flags.

The night before, supporters of three rival football clubs – Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas – who have fought each other in the past, marched together to Taksim Square.

In a fresh effort to end the protests, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, the governor of Istanbul, who ordered the initial police crackdown, said he "saluted" the young people on Taksim.

Deputy prime minister Huseyin Celik on Saturday dismissed talk of early elections. "You don't decide on early elections because people are marching on the streets," he said.

Protesters in Taksim disagree. "We are not going home until the prime minister leaves," said one maths student. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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