Turkey PM: Protesters 'Will Pay' If Demonstrations Continue
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sunday that protesters will "pay a price" if they continue the mass demonstrations that have consumed the country over the past two weeks.
Erdogan told a crowd of thousands of his supporters in Ankara, "Those who do not respect this nation's party in power will pay a price. We remained patient, we are still patient but there's a limit to our patience."
The heavy police crackdown of the protest movement—which began as a peaceful demonstration to protect Istanbul's last public green space—has lead to over 5,000 injuries and two protester deaths throughout the course of the two week uprising.
Erdogan held six rallies on Sunday, "a measure of tensions after a week of the biggest protests of his decade in power," as Reuters reports, in which he called the demonstrators “terrorists” and “anarchists." Erdogan praised the officers he called “my police."
As Erdogan’s bus inched through the capital amid crowds cheering and waving flags, footage on CNN Turk and other channels showed police using tear gas and water cannons to drive demonstrators out of the Kizilay Square district in the city’s center. A few minutes earlier, Erdogan had urged protesters to withdraw.
Protesters, however, remained steadfast in dozens of towns across Turkey throughout the weekend, leading into Monday morning.
"We want life on the square to return to normal," said Eyup Muhcu, head of the Chamber of Architects and part of the Taksim Solidarity Platform. "We are ready for dialogue...but the prime minister's remarks indicate he is not open to dialogue."