Turkey prime minister vows to rid park of protesters
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s prime minister ordered today that “troublemakers” be removed from Istanbul’s Taksim Square within 24 hours, while lashing out at the European Parliament over their planned resolution that condemns the excessive use of force by the police.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he asked for the park to be cleared of “troublemakers” within 24 hours.
“We will clean the square,” he said.
Erdogan’s comments came a day after his Justice and Development party proposed a referendum over a development plan at the square that has fanned the protests. Police have at times fired water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters; five people have died and more than 5,000 have been injured.
He also lashed out at the European Parliament over its resolution that expressed its concern over “the disproportionate and excessive use of force by the Turkish police.” The resolution also “deplores the reactions of the Turkish Government and of Prime Minister Erdogan.” It accuses Erdogan of adding to the polarization of the situation.
In comments that drew broad applause, Erdogan thundered: “I won’t recognize the decision that the European Union Parliament is going to take about us. ... Who do you think you are by taking such a decision?”